How to Colorwash Walls

Watercolor Walls - The Perfect Background!

If you are here to learn how to colorwash walls, you are in the right place!

Colorwashing and wall murals are perfect companions. Just think of the possibilities! Create a watercolor blue background for a sunny garden mural or give your walls a timeworn look before painting a Tuscan mural - and I am just getting started.

Did I mention this decorative painting technique is also easy? Keep reading to learn how to colorwash walls...

What You Will Need

Other than your normal painting supplies, you will need to pick up a few items that you can find at most hardware stores:

  • base coat paint (satin or semi-gloss finish)
  • top coat paint (satin or semi-gloss finish)
  • glaze
  • clean bucket and a paint stir stick
  • colorwashing applicator - i.e. sea sponge, rag, or paintbrush (If using a paintbrush, please note that the brush strokes may be noticeable.)
  • paint roller and other normal painting supplies (brushes, paint tray and liner, etc.)

That's it - now it is time to paint!

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Paint!

As I recommend when learning any new decorative painting technique, make sure you take time to practice on a piece of plywood or drywall when learning how to colorwash walls. Now for the instructions...


Apply the base coat paint to the walls and allow to completely dry.


Determine how dark you want the paint, and mix the top coat paint and glaze together. The more glaze you use, the softer the paint color will appear. For example, for a shade close to the original top coat color, mix 1 part glaze with 1 part paint. For a much lighter look, mix 4 parts glaze to 1 part paint.


Apply the paint and glaze mixture to the wall. If using a sea sponge or rag, rub the mixture on using a circular motion. If using a paintbrush, apply the glaze mixture using a cross-hatched brush stroke (basically making a series of “x’s” with your paintbrush). Work in small sections, approximately 4 foot squares.


Continue this process, blending and smoothing the sections together while the glaze mixture is still wet.

That's it! That is how to colorwash walls. Happy painting!

Show & Tell

Upload photos of your murals or check out the submissions from other visitors to our site in the Show & Tell section of this website.

The pictures above are just a small sample of the inspiration that awaits in our visitor submission gallery!