Painting Faux Clouds

Faux Clouds are a fun and unique faux finish.

This is namely because they are incredibly simple and understated. Clouds make a room feel airy and open, like a vast meadow.

Painting Faux Clouds

This technique is most often found in children’s bedrooms or play areas, but can also be used as a fun addition to a living space, laundry room, or bathroom.

Painting faux clouds consists of only a couple very simple steps, and can be accomplished in two days – one day for the base coat, and a second for creating the “faux clouds” with a sponge.

The purpose is to create very realistic, delicate looking clouds with a “transparency” to them very much like real clouds.

The lighter the blue background color, the more subtle the clouds will appear against it. Clouds against a very pale blue background will appear wispy and very delicate.

As with all faux finishes, I urge you to perfect your technique and color choices on a practice board or a piece of spare drywall before beginning the faux finish on your walls or ceiling.

Stop! Very Important! Before beginning, be sure your walls are properly prepared. Not sure? Take a look at our paint preparation instructions (opens in a new window).

Necessary Paint Products

  • Satin Finish Latex Paint (in a light blue tone)

  • Satin Finish Latex Paint (white)

Necessary Paint Supplies and Applicators

  • Sea Sponge

  • 3/8” Nap Roller and Roller Frame

  • 2” Angled Nylon/Poly Brush

  • 2” Painter’s Tape

  • Cheesecloth

  • Small Mixing Container


Painting the Base Coats

Begin by taping around the ceiling, windows, doors, floor trim, and any other woodwork or trim that is present. Use a high-quality nylon-polyester brush to “cut in” around the ceiling and trim work.

Tip: Only cut in a small section, then roll the section out while the cut-in areas are still wet. Do not cut in the entire room (or wall) before beginning to roll the wall. This allows the cut-in areas to dry and these sections will be visible even after the room has been rolled.

Using a moderately-loaded 3/8” nap roller, roll on the satin base coat. When rolling, finish each section with a smooth ceiling-to-floor stroke to help eliminate roller marks.

Per paint manufacturer’s instructions, wait at least four, and preferably six, hours before applying the necessary second coat. Wait at least 24 hours for the second coat to dry before beginning the faux technique.


Painting Faux Clouds

You will need to begin by mixing your white paint with water in a small mixing container. The ratio should be about 70% paint to 30% water (use measuring cups to get the proper ratio).

This will give the paint a very translucent, almost foggy (hence, cloudy) appearance.

Select the areas in which you would like to place the faux clouds. Often, it is helpful to have some pictures of real clouds available, to give you a basis for shapes and sizes when you begin the technique.

Dampen your sea sponge with clean water and wring it out thoroughly. Now dip the sea sponge into the paint/water mixture, wring out the access.

Begin pouncing the sponge against the wall in your selected areas, creating fairly random (but realistic) cloud shapes. Each cloud should be a slightly different size and shape.

While sponging your faux clouds, some of the blue base color should show through the white, to give the clouds the translucent, hazy effect of real clouds.

Slightly more blue should show through along the outer edges of the faux clouds, for an even more realistic and translucent appearance.


Softening the Look

Using a piece of damp cheesecloth, dab the still-damp paint of each cloud, especially along the edges.

This will soften the appearance of the sponge-texture and give the faux clouds more of the necessary “hazy appearance”.


Removing The Tape

Remove the tape from the trimwork, ceiling, and any adjoining sections while the paint is still wet.

For paint that has dried or begun to dry, run a utility knife along the edge of the paint/tape edge, otherwise you may pull off some small pieces of paint when you remove the tape.

Enjoy the wonderfully open and sunny feel of your new faux cloud paint finish.

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