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A decorative paint-effect created by dabbing a rag, moistened with wet paint or glaze, onto the surface.

Learn how to do it with this free, step-by-step, illustrated tutorial,
containing pictures of 3 variations of the ragging effect.


  Like all paint-effects, ragging 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.

  Pour a little of the thinned paint into your tray or bowl (Approximately a pint ( Litre).


  Take a piece of lint-free cotton cloth approximately 18 inches (450 mm) square and scrunch it up into a crumpled ball.   (The rougher the better).
  First, dab the rag in the paint, and then dab it on a dry part of your tray or bowl to remove the excess paint.
  Now dab it onto the surface of your cardboard to practise the effect.

  The challenge of ragging is to twist the rag in-between dabs so that each impression left by the rag is different to next.
  Only dab 6 to 8 times before reloading the rag.
  When you feel confident, try it on the walls.

  If you can, get someone to carefully clean paint from woodwork etc while you work, otherwise, re-paint woodwork etc when it is dry.

  Allow the paint to dry before protecting with a coat of clear glaze or varnish   (optional).

Click to enlarge
Single colour.
Click to enlarge
Dual colour.
Click to enlarge

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


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

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