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How to make textured paint in the comfort of your home

Textured paint creates a beautiful, rich effect on walls. Here’s how you can make it yourself

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By Edwain Steenkamp | May 4, 2023 | Diy

Not only are textured surfaces visually interesting, but because they add depth, dimension, and character, they are a great way of personalising your space. Textured paint is, of course, the answer when looking to up up the ante on surfaces. Rather than buying pre-mixed textured paint (which can often be quite limited, and expensive), why not simply make your own? You can control the grain, the colour, and the finish. Here’s everything you need.

The basics

You’ll need only a few basic supplies to get going. Most of these items you’re likely to find in your garage. If not, after a quick trip to the hardware store, and you’ll be ready to get going.

1. Paint of your choice. Left-over paint from previous projects is ideal, as they say: waste not, want not! You might want to consider the finish you’re looking to achieve at the end.

2. A texture, like fine sand (depending on the base colour of your paint, cement can also create quite a fine grain).

3. To keep the mixture together, and to allow it to dry evening, you will need a joint compound ( which is basically just a gypsum-based powder often used in construction to fill holes in walls).

3. A paint tray, or mixing bucket.

4. Mixing tools (and old wooden spoon will do just fine).

5. A paint brush, palette, or roller. Which you choose depends entirely on the effect you’re trying to achieve. Consider that each will create a specific look: a brush will create a uniform textured look, a palette will make dramatic lines, while a roller will create gentle swirls.

Textured paint can make a neutral space appear warmer, and a lot more interesting. Image: by Alesia Kazantceva

Mixing it all up

Start by mixing all the supplies together in a tray or bucket. The amounts you’ll add will really depend on how textured you want the final product to be (so you might want to play around and experiment first. As a starting point, you’ll want to mix equal parts texture (sand or cement) and compound joint to the paint. The more you add, the more textured the paint will be, but be cautious, the drier the mixture, the more it might flake or crumble off of the surface you’re painting. Be sure to mix thoroughly to avoid clumps. After all, even though it's textured, you will still want some consistency.

Before you paint

Be sure that your surfaces are completely clean and dry. If you’re worried about making a mess, lay down some newspaper and use painter’s tape to protect things like wall sockets or skirting boards.

You’re ready to paint

If it’s your first time using textured paint, you might want to experiment with different brush strokes. For a more subtle texture, use a light hand and apply the paint in thin coats. Apply the paint more heavily and use a more aggressive strokes for a dramatic texture.

Top tips

1. If you’re unhappy with the final product, you can always go in with another coat. If you feel you’ve overdone it, you can go over it with sandpaper to smooth it down.

2. You can add paint tints and different shades of leftover paint to create a layered and aged look. If you go this route, you can be as creative and playful as you like.

3. Naturally, textured surfaces go through a lot more wear and tear a lot quicker than smooth surfaces. As such, you might want to consider applying a clear top coat to protect the surface.

In this photo, you can see how just a few drops of tint or different paint can change the entire look and feel of the final product. Image: by Gabriella Clare Marino