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Washes and texture

From habitat plus - special paint effects

Learn to use Resene FX Paint Effects medium

Colourwashing, limewash or French washtexture on texturewatercolour wallwhite and grey washombre paint techniques

Limewashing - A modern take on rag-rolling

Colourwashing - textured pink and grey walls

Limewashing: (blue room) A modern take on rag-rolling. A wall in Resene Duck Egg Blue is topcoated with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with Resene Rolling Stone, the coat rack is Resene Dark Slate, sideboard in Resene Inside Back, chair in Resene Gull Grey and floor in Resene Half Villa WhiteColourwashing: (grey/pink room) Add subtle texture with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with Resene Half Gull Grey applied over blue/grey Resene Loblolly and Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with Resene Quarter Blanc over dusky Resene Sakura. The floor is Resene Mercury and the make-up table is Resene Snow Drift.

You can create a limewash effect using exactly the same technique, but by choosing a plastered or textured surface, and softer more natural colours.

You can use these techniques to also create a rust effect finish and a weathered or concrete effects style finish. All you need to do is vary the colours used. For a concrete effect finish use colours such as Resene Quarter Stack over Resene Concrete. For more on how to use Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, a special product for creating the look of rusted steel see faux finishes.

Limewash or French wash was historically a very dilute form of quicklime applied to walls as a protective or decorative coating. You can get the same effect using a paint effects finish over painted basecoats.

Here’s how

  1. Apply two basecoats, using Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in a light colour – this room uses Resene Double Alabaster.

  2. Using a darker colour (this is Resene Silver Chalice), dilute the paint using Resene FX Paint Effects Medium, and add Resene Hot Weather Additive to slow drying. Use a ratio of 40% paint colour, 50% medium and 10% additive.

  3. Working quickly, brush the darker colour over the base colour in a criss-cross pattern.

  4. Immediately wipe off with a dish cloth or piece of muslin, using a soft downwards motion, to reveal some of the basecoat and create a streaky look.

Painting technique - French wash

Painted French wash panels

The French wash technique: Wall in Resene Double Alabaster, with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with Resene Silver Chalice.  These French wash panels have a basecoat of Resene Double Alabaster with Resene Silver Chalice on top. The wall above is Resene Triple Sea Fog, the console is Resene Blast Grey 1 metallic and the floor is Resene Double Alabaster.

How to use Resene FX Paint Effects Medium

Choose a colour from the wide number of Resene testpots available and mix one 60ml Resene testpot to one litre of Resene FX Paint Effects Medium. You can create your own personalised paint effects colours simply by experimenting with testpots of your choice or adding more or less to the effects medium. It is often surprising the colour that results when a testpot is added to Resene Paint Effects Medium, so always make sure you test your colour before starting the project. By subtly adjusting either the basecoat or your chosen paint effects topcoat you can create a whole new look. The key to paint effects is to develop your own colour combinations and application technique to add your distinctive mark to the completed job.

Deck with painted textured wall
Texture on texture

If you are hiring someone to create the painted effect for you, ask them to prepare a sample panel and agree on that as your standard before the job starts. This way, all parties will know what the finish will look like. If worse comes to worse and the final finish is not what you had in mind, you can always create a new paint effect by reapplying the basecoats and paint effects medium topcoat/s. 

Texture on texture

Add extra depth to an outdoor wall with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with Resene Moon Mist over a Resene Aspiring basecoat. This bench seat is Resene Aspiring and the deck is stained in Resene Woodsman Uluru.

A colourful watercolour wall

A green watercolour wall

Pastel wall: This watercolour wall is painted in Resene Castaway (try Resene Doeskin), Resene Gunsmoke, Resene Martini, Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Double Alabaster and is created by dipping a large thick brush in water to blend each layer of colour into the next. Floor and skirting in Resene Double Alabaster. Plank wall: This paint effect is created by applying a basecoat of Resene Inside Back to planks, and then roughly over-brushing with Resene Gulf Stream, Resene Stromboli and Resene Half Opal. The floor is painted in Resene Inside Back.

Top tip: With any paint effect you’re planning for a large area, like a wall, practice on some card first.

A whitewashed wall with earthy accessories

A table with a sunbleached Scandi look

Room with cabinet: The Resene Colorwood Whitewash on this wall gives this room a soft finish, complementing the earth-toned accessories and cabinet in Resene Colins WicketTable with plants: Resene Colorwood Light Greywash gives this table a sunbleached Scandi look.

Top tip: The final look of your stain, whitewash or greywash will depend on the timber colour – always test your colour first on a representative sample of timber.


Ply walls stained in Resene Colorwood

A casual living area with a ply bench seat

Ply panels: Ply can be easily stained with Resene Colorwood for a dramatic effect. Ply stained in Resene Limed Ash, Resene Colorwood Light Greywash, Resene Smokey Ash, Resene Tiri and Resene Bleached Riverstone. The floorboards are in Resene Colorwood Light Greywash.  Ply bench seat: This casual living area features a top wall painted in Resene Sea Fog with a feature ply bench seat and wall finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. The bench cupboard doors are in Resene Colorwood Light Greywash and Resene Raindance (try Resene Bali Hai) and the flooring is stained in Resene Colorwood Natural.

Resene Raindance

Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Colorwood Light Greywash

Outdoor wall painted with the ombre painting technique

Painted plant pots

Top tip: If bold colour isn't quite, well, bold enough, check out Resene FX Fluoro. It gives you the highlighter look and is fabulous in the dark when blacklit.

A painted outdoor slatted screen

An ombre wall

Outdoor area: Slatted screen in (top to bottom) Resene Ebb, Resene Soothe, Resene Paper Doll, Resene Coral Tree and Resene Merlot. Wall in Resene Triple Merino and deck in Resene Woodsman Tiri.  Antlers: Ombre wall in Resene Sambuca, Resene Papier Mache and Resene Martini over Resene Sandtex.

Resene Martini

updated August 2021
Habitat plus - paint effects

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.