Silk Faux Finish

The silk faux finish.

What fabric is more luxurious than silk? And what could be better than to be surrounded by the rich, sumptuous feel of silk?

The great news is, this is a fairly simple look to achieve, with a wide range of color options. After all, just as real silk can be dyed any color, any color paint can look like silk.

The silk faux finish works best with similar base/glaze colors, so that the contrasts are subtle.

For example, two similar shades of red, a lighter base coat and a slightly darker glaze coat, will help give this finish the depth and subtlety of real silk.

The silk faux finish mixes tinted metallic glaze with untinted glaze to achieve the natural sheen and shimmer of silk.

Like many of the other faux finishes, such as the denim faux finish and the leather faux finish, the silk faux finish is a three day technique. Allow one day for the base coats and two more days to complete the faux finish.

That is not to say it will take the entire three days, only that the base coats and glaze coats will require time to dry. So you can plan on a few hours of work each day.

As with all faux finishes, I recommend perfecting your technique and color choices on a practice board before beginning on the walls.

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).

Here is what you’ll need:

Necessary Paint Products

  • Latex Semi-Gloss Paint (in desired base color)

  • Metallic Glaze Finish (tinted to desired top color)

  • Untinted Faux Technique Glaze

You will be mixing the tinted metallic glaze and the untinted glaze together in a 1-to-1 mixture, so purchase appropriately. For example, if you need 2 gallons of glaze to cover the necessary space, purchase one gallon of untinted glaze and one gallon of tinted metallic glaze.

Necessary Paint Supplies and Applicators

  • 12” Wallpaper Smoothing Brush

  • 3/8” Nap Roller Cover

  • Roller Frame

  • 2” Angled Nylon/Poly Trim Brush

  • 2” Painter’s Tape

  • Lint-Free Rags


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.

Using a moderately-loaded 3/8” roller, roll on the semi-gloss 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.


Preparing for the Silk Faux Finish

Mix one part untinted faux technique glaze with one part tinted metallic glaze and stir them well, until the entire mixture has taken on a uniform color.

Now, if you intend to do all four walls in a room, the glaze will be applied on two separate days, to alternating sections. In other words, adjoining walls will be done on separate days. This is to avoid marring the wet glaze.


Applying the Silk Faux Finish

Now that your metallic glaze/untinted glaze is well mixed, choose which two facing (non-adjoining) walls you are going to start with.

Starting in a top corner, cut in with your 2” angled nylon/poly brush along the vertical corner and cut in approximately 2 feet on the top and bottom.

Now, working fairly quickly so that the cut-in areas don’t have time to dry, roll on an approximately 2 foot wide column of the glaze mixture, from ceiling to floor.

Immediately after applying each 2’ wide column of glaze, drag the 12” wallpaper brush from top to bottom through the glaze in one smooth, continuous motion.

Press hard enough on the brush so that the bristles flex very slightly. Try to maintain a fairly straight line through the glaze on your way down.

When you reach the bottom, wipe the excess glaze from the bristles with a lint-free cloth and begin the process again, being careful to leave no gap between swipes.

Leave a few inches along the edge of your column unlined, so that the wet glaze along the edge can blend with your next column.

Work your way across the wall in this pattern, cutting in, rolling, brushing, blending.

Finish the entire wall before you stop, otherwise the glaze along the edge will dry and this stopping point will be visible when the wall is complete.

Complete opposing walls on your first day of glazing, and the remaining walls on the second day. On the second day of glazing, simply follow step 3 to repeat the previous day’s process.

The silk faux finish can add a luxurious, far-eastern flair to your décor. The gentle sheen of the silk faux finish reflects light and creates a softness that is ideal for bedrooms and semi-formal living spaces.

Enjoy your new silk faux finish!

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