Faux Finish Techniques

Faux is a French word which literally means fake; a faux finish within the context of cabinets refers to the effect created by employing a certain painting technique, wherein the finished product may resemble not only the color but the texture as well of a material different from what has been used to build it. Faux finish is not new, but its current popularity is unprecedented. Modern technology plays a big part in the success of faux finishes; designs previously impossible or too cumbersome to achieve are now within reach by both professionals and creative laymen alike; tools and paint formulas have been improved, they are easier to use, they last longer, and are environmentally more sound.

Glazing

A new and popular technique employed to achieve the desired faux finish of cabinets is glazing; glazing cabinets is popular for three significant reasons: it is practical, it is beautiful, and its design possibilities are infinite. Applied to an entire surface, then hand wiped to the desired look, glazing is a popular technique for enhancing the grain pattern of most wood species. Glazing will slightly alter the color of the base stain, adding a much softer and warmer look to the appearance of the door.

Glazing

Dry-Brushing

A dry brush is dragged across the surface of a still wet glaze; the brush may be dragged vertically, horizontally or any direction, depending on the desired pattern although typically the brush is dragged down vertically. A variation of this technique is to let the glaze dry after it has been dry-brushed; apply a new coat of glaze over the area and dry-brush in the opposite direction to create a weave or checkered effect. 

Dry-Brushing

Sponging

The sponging technique makes use of a sponge; the sponge is used to either add or subtract color. To add color, the damp sponge is used as the main applicator of the glaze or as an applicator of a second or third colored glaze. To subtract color, the damp sponge is pressed against the still wet glaze. 

Sponging

Distressing

This warm, traditional look adds depth to the cabinetry for a finish that’s commonly found on fine furniture. Adding cracks, dents and nicks give the appearance of aged wood. To begin, the unfinished door and drawer fronts are distressed with random impression marks and over-sanded. Next, a darkening stain is artistically applied to the corners and raised areas of the doors and drawer fronts to create a distressed look. A base stain is then applied and carefully hand-wiped to reveal the natural beauty inherent in the wood.

Distressing

Splatter

Darker paint tops light or lighter tops dark to give the door a spattered look.

Splatter

Highlightening

This technique is an excellent way to enhance the look of many different door styles. Due to the more controlled method of application, Highlightening creates a more defined look then glazing. First a base stain is applied to the wood to bring out its beauty and natural characteristics. Then a highlight glaze is carefully hand-applied to the recesses in the doors and drawer fronts creating a rich accent of color without altering the appearance of the base stain.

Highlightening