Faux Finishes in Decorative Painting

The term "faux finish" comes from the French word "faux" which means "false", "resembling or imitating something else".

In decorative painting, using paints, mediums, brushes and other tools, natural materials such as marble, wood, stone, leather, tortoiseshell and malachite to name a few, can be successfully imitated. Other less common but beautiful finishes include mother-of pearl, expensive woods like mahogany, burl, ivory and even linen. The imitation of an "aged" look or effect is also very common in contemporary decorative painting. Techniques used to "age" a project include antiquing, crackling, distressing, flaking paint and verdigris.

History and Uses of Faux FinishesFaux Finishes - Intarsian PaintingBasic Faux Finish Techniques

With experimentation, a decorative painter can apply the same techniques used in creating a faux finish to create various "fantasy finishes" where the end result does not resemble any natural material or effect but produces a wonderful decorative effect.

Faux Lapis Lazuli

Fantasy or reality? Faux lapis lazuli in hues of blue.


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Books to help you

The Art of Faux: The Complete Sourcebook of Decorative Painted Finishes
Pierre Finkelstein

The Paint Effects Bible: 100 Recipes for Faux Finishes
Kerry Skinner

Classic Paints & Faux Finishes
Annie Sloan, Kate Gwynn

Fabulous Finishes for Your Home: Step by Step
Karl-Heinz Meschbach




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