How Do You Rag Paint a Wall?

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated October 23, 2017)


Faux painting is becoming more and more popular as the years go by, and one of the more popular methods is rag painting. While you can always hire someone to do the work for you, there is nothing that says you can't do the work yourself/ But how do you rag paint a wall, you might be asking. The answer is that it is really rather simple. All you need to do is gather together a few supplies, and then follow these instructions.

Items Needed:

  • At least three colors of paint
  • Lots of clean rags
  • Latex (or other disposable) gloves
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint tray
  • Drop cloth
  • Small painting brush
  • Painting tape


  1. Choose the colors. The first step in rag painting your walls is to choose the colors that you will be using. Typically, to do an effective job of you will at least two different colors, but three aer often used to create a really dramatic look. In order to make the project look as fantastic as possible, choose colors that are shades of each other. Make sure that you get enough of whatever color you have as the base to be painted on as normal.
  2. Choose your location. Chances are you have already chosen the location that you want painted prior to choosing the paint, but if not you need to choose one now. It can be either a single wall or an entire room. It all really depends on the look you are going for.
  3. Prep the area. Begin prepping the area you will be working on. This means that you need to either tape off electrical outlets, or remove the covers and tape off the plugs, tape any trim or edges that you don't want painted, and tape off window sills and around the window glass. This is all to protect anything that you don't want painted. Don't forget to lay out the drop cloth as well.
  4. Paint the base coat. Paint the wall with your initial coat of paint. Use a color that you don't mind being a strong one, since even with the rag rolling, you will see a lot of this color throughout the wall or room. Start at one side of the wall, on one side of the room, and paint as you normally would with a paint roller. To get close to the edges of doorways, corners, and around windows use one of the smaller brushes to cut in. Allow your paint to completely dry before you proceed to the second coat.
  5. Paint the second coat. Put on some disposable rubber or latex gloves to help protect your hands from the paint that they will be handling. Grab a clean dry rag, and then dip it into the color of paint you want to go on as a second coat. Wring out the rag so that it is still moist, but not dripping wet, and then bunch it up loosely in your hand. Beginning in one corner of the room or wall, dab the paint along the wall. This will create some rather interesting patterns. Continue along the wall (and around the room if you are doing that) until you have covered everything.
  6. Repeat as needed. Let the paint completely dry before you continue on. Repeat the process as many times as necessary until you have used all the colors that you wish. Typically, the most dominant color should be saved until last to help bring everything together.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer vent cleaning is sadly something that many people overlook until it is too late. Without periodic dryer vent ...

Discover More

Cooking With Garlic

Garlic is one of those tricky ingredients that you need to be careful with when cooking. If you don't use enough, you ...

Discover More

Removing Powder from Grout

Tile is perhaps one of the most commonly used surfaces in both the bathroom and kitchen today. Since it is so common, it ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Choosing an Easy Exterior Wood Stain

One of the finishing touches that need to be applied to any wood project is, well, the finish. Wood stain is a natural ...

Discover More

Painting in Tight Corners

If you are painting walls that meet in a corner two different colors, it's best to use painter's tape. But if your walls ...

Discover More

Painting Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a popular choice among many home owners due to the durability, and ease of maintenance that it shows. ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 8?

2012-06-18 16:09:53


I have seen a variation of this where a single color of thick paint (it is a special paint) is applied to the wall, over the dry base coat. Then it is covered with a sort of wrinkly saran wrap like plastic. This puts all kinds of random patterns onto the paint. The plastic is allowed on for something like 1/2 hour, then peeled off, as the paint has started to set but is not yet dry. Then the paint is allowed to dry and you can get some very nice "sculpted" patterns.


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)