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Fresco Painting Technique

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To give any wall in your house a mottled, parchment look, you can fresco in a fun and easy way with Benjamin Moore latex paints and glazing liquids. Because they are easy to clean and leave little odor, it has never been simpler to go fresco.

Tools and Supplies



  • 3/8-inch nap Benjamin Moore roller cover
  • 1½ or 2-inch Benjamin Moore angular sash paint brush
  • Cheesecloth
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • Paint tray
  • Roller cage
  • Two stir sticks

Note: The amount of paint and the tools required depend on the square footage of your project. For guidance in calculating the size of your project, consult your local Benjamin Moore retailer.

Step 1 - Apply the Basecoat
Paint your wall(s) with a base coat of Cloud White (OC-130). Allow at least 24 hours for it to dry.

Step 2 - Tape the Ceiling
Before applying the glaze mixture to your wall, apply tape to the ceiling and baseboard.

Step 3 - Pour Glaze into the Tray
Pour six parts of Studio Finishes Latex Glaze 405 into a paint tray.

Step 4 - Pour Paint into the Tray

Pour two parts of Roxbury Caramel (HC-42) into the glaze in the right corner of the tray. Next, pour two parts of Barely Beige (1066) into the glaze in the left corner of the tray.

Step 5 - Mix the Paint with the Glaze
Use a stir stick to carefully mix the paint with the glaze in each corner of the tray, taking care not to mix the two colors together.

Step 6 - Load the Roller
Load your 3/8-inch nap roller in the paint tray, as you would for normal painting. However, for fresco painting, take care to keep the light end of the roller in the light paint mix, and the dark end of the roller in the dark paint mix.

Step 7 - Roll the Paint
Roll the paint randomly on your wall - left, right, up, and down - until you achieve the desired effect you're looking for in your fresco wall painting. Blend away any harsh lines with a cheesecloth rag.

Step 8 - Brush into Corners
Use 1½-inch or 2-inch angular sash paint brush to apply paint in the corners and along your molding and baseboards.

Helpful Hints for Painting a Fresco:

  • When the paint tray is empty, remix the paint following steps one through five.
  • Allow approximately 12 hours for your wall(s) to dry completely before reassembling the room.
  • The fresco technique is great for hiding wall surface imperfections.
  • If you are unhappy with any sections of your wall, simply roll over them.
  • Avoid putting too much paint on the roller. The more paint you roll onto the surface, the more the colors will blend together.
  • Do not substitute old sweatshirts or other fabrics for the cheesecloth - it is the cheesecloth that creates the texture you are after.
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