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A decorative paint-effect created by disrupting the evenness of wet paint or glaze to give a cloudy effect.

Learn how to do it with this free, step-by-step, illustrated tutorial,
containing pictures of the 2 easy steps required to create the clouding effect.


  Like all paint-effects, clouding can be a little messy, so wear old clothing or overalls.
  Also: remove or cover all carpets, furniture and other valuables from the room.

  Prepare the surface that is to be painted, apply at least 2 coats of mid-sheen paint in your chosen colour and allow to dry thoroughly.

  Water-based paint dries quickly so start on your smallest walls first; your speed will improve with experience.

  Have a bucket or bowl of clean water and some rags close at hand for cleaning purposes.


  In this technique the topcoat, or glaze, is patterned by disrupting the evenness of the glaze over the surface to give a cloudy effect.
  Where the brush or rag makes contact, the glaze is lifted revealing the base coat.

  It is advisable to get someone else to paint the wall with the mixed glaze ahead of you, so that you can concentrate on creating the effect
  If you must work alone, paint small sections, 6ft (2 metre) at a time, & stop the clouding process 6 inches (150mm) short of the leading edge.
  Apply the mixed glaze evenly with a brush or roller.

  Applying gentle pressure; use circular strokes to remove some of the glaze creating an irregular cloudy pattern.
  Some people use a semi-circular motion for this effect, switching from one angle to another.
  There is no correct method, so try both or create your own.
  Everyone's technique is individual, so only one person should create the effect.
  Experiment before you try a whole wall, and wipe of what you don't like before the glaze dries.
  Occasionally wipe the brush or replace the rag to prevent a build-up of glaze.
  Repeat the process over the area to be decorated, lapping-in on wet edges.

  Allow the first wall to dry before starting another to prevent spoiling the finished effect.
  You may wish to repeat the clouding process with a second colour once the first is dry.
  In this instance, it is advisable to switch from using a brush to a rag or vice versa.
  Allow the paint to dry before protecting with a coat of clear glaze or varnish     (optional).

Click to enlarge
Apply glaze.
Click to enlarge
Swirl with a rag.

  !!! With oil-based method, used rags must be laid flat and allowed to dry before discarding to prevent spontanious combustion. !!!


Other tutorials in this series include:
Bagging   Colourwash   Dragging   Frottage   Mottling
Rag-rolling   Sponging   Stippling   Verdigris   Wiping Back

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