Paint Effects - How To Create Wood, Marble, Stone Effects And More!

June 25th, 2024

Paint effects can create stunning results and with some practice and patience, a white space can be completely transformed. Here are just some paint effects that are commonly used within the industry including; wood paint effects, marble paint effects, stone paint effects and traditional paint effects.

Here's Barry to show you more>>

Firstly, apply a mid-high sheen finish to your substrate to create the perfect base to work off. This could be and Eggshell or Satin finish. Once this has dried, mix your colourants to your preferred colour and add to a Scumble Glaze. A Scumble Glaze typically has a 1 hour working time, perfect for creating your desired paint effect. Leave for 24 hours and then you can apply a coat of varnish. Varnish is available in various finishes and can completely change the look of the paint effect, so make sure you are confident with your finish. Apply 2-3 coats of varnish for the ultimate protection.

Top Tips!

  1. All techniques that involve dabbing can be varied by turning the wrist as you work to create a random pattern.
  2. If brush marks in the glaze interfere with your pattern, break them up by dabbing lightly with a sponge or stipple them out with a stippling brush.
  3. Prevent a build-up of glaze on tools by rinsing or squeezing out regularly.
  4. Wash tools and equipment in soap and water; acrylics are difficult to remove when dry.
  5. High temperature, low humidity and thin applications result in shorter open and drying times.  Low temperature, high humidity and heavy applications result in longer open and drying times.
  6. Base coat temperature will affect open and drying times: beware of condensation - this will dramatically extend drying time.
  7. Applying glazes to porous surfaces reduces open times considerably.

Types of Paint Effects

Wood Paint Effect

A wood grain effect can be easily achieved with a wood graining tool. Simply rock the tool from front to back as you drag it across your substrate. You can then go in with finer details such as creating a knot with a brush.

Marble Paint Effect

To create a marble effect, building up layers of subtle colours is key. You can use delicate brush marks and a process called stippling to achieve the look. Gently dab the tips of a flat-headed brush into the wet glaze with the brush held at right angles to the surface. This technique is a useful way to disguise brush marks and leaves a soft, even finish on walls and furniture. Stippling is also a decorative effect in its own right. Large areas require a stippling brush.

You can then work in finer details with delicate natural bristle could even use a feather!

Stone Paint Effect

To create a stone paint effect, you will need to use the stippling technique once again. Have a look at some real stone for reference to help you with colour. 

You can even use unconventional tools such as a toothbrush or a sponge for added texture and create lines within the effect to create a tile look.

Traditional Paint Effects


Use a graining comb to form lines on the brushed glaze, crossing the line to form a weave, sweeping the hand to form curves or wavy lines.

Sponging off

Dab a damp natural sponge over the surface removing the wet glaze to reveal the base coat. Turn the wrist as you work to produce a random pattern.

Sponging on

Dab a dampened natural sponge into the glaze, taking care to remove any surplus on the edge of the container.  Then dab the sponge lightly onto the base coat, transferring small spots of glaze to create the desired effect.


Bunch a damp cloth or rag into a ball to form a crumpled pad and dab into the wet glaze. The texture of the cloth and the way it is gathered will determine the character of the pattern. Ragging is similar to the sponging off process.

Rag rolling

The most well known of all broken colourwork techniques. Take a flat lint-free cloth and roll it into a sausage shape.  Hold it between the fingertips and starting in one corner, roll the sausage diagonally across the face of the wet glaze.  

Keep repeating the process, varying the angle to create a random pattern.  If any blobs of glaze are left, dab flat with the corner of the cloth. Different cloths produce different patterns. You can also roll with polythene of different thicknesses. Cloths can produce a subtle texture: polythene creates a much sharper pattern.


The technique produces lines in the glaze surface. Holding the brush handle just above the surface, press the bristle length into the wet glaze and drag straight down to reveal a set of parallel lines. Wipe the brush clean after each stroke.


Crumple a sheet of newspaper, open it out and lay it on the surface of the wet glaze. Smooth the paper to leave an imprint but not hard enough to flatten out the creases. Slowly peel back the paper to reveal the pattern.

Different materials create different effects, for example cling film produces veins similar to those in marble.