Suede Paint Technique
Suede Paint has become one of the most popular faux finishes in recent years. It is timeless and beautiful. It works in almost any living space, from bedrooms to living rooms and offices.
Note: Suede Paint is somewhat delicate and scratches easily. It is wise not to use this paint technique in high traffic areas.
The good news is that many of the major paint manufacturers have introduced quality, easy-to-apply suede paints in a wide variety of colors. This takes much of the hard work out of achieving the look of brushed suede.
Nearly any home improvement or paint store will have brochures and flyers available (at no charge), giving the color combinations available for this technique.
As with all faux finishes, I recommend perfecting your technique 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
- Suede Texture Paint (different manufacturers give the product different names). Choose a high quality paint such as Sherwin Williams or Ralph Lauren.
Necessary Paint Supplies and Applicators
- 3/8” Nap Roller Cover
- Roller Frame
- 2” Angled Nylon/Poly Brush
- 3” Nylon/Poly Trim Brush (not angled)
- 2” Painter’s Tape
- Lint-Free Rags
Note: Each manufacturer’s instructions differ slightly. Some call for a specialty roller for applying the initial coat. I have found this to be generally unnecessary. The final (brushed-on) coat of this technique will cover up nearly all imperfections in the initial coat. However, proceed according to manufacturer’s recommendations if you feel more comfortable.
Painting the Base Coat
Begin by taping around the ceiling, windows, doors, floor trim, and any other woodwork or trim that is present.
Now, starting at the top corner of a wall, use a high-quality 2” nylon-polyester brush to “cut in” around the ceiling and trim work. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Work in approximately 3’ wide sections. Cut in 3’ of wall space, then roll the entire section out with a moderately-loaded 3/8” nap roller.
Once you have rolled out the entire 3’ section, finish with a light floor-to-ceiling sweep without reloading the roller. This will help eliminate “roller marks” or lines.
Repeat these steps across the entire wall. Allow the first coat at least four to six hours to dry, per manufacturer’s instructions.
This first coat will look slightly patchy and uneven. Don’t worry. As I mentioned before, the second coat will cover nearly all imperfections.
Brushing on the Second Coat
Using a 3” Nylon/Poly Trim Brush, apply the second coat in a crossing pattern of overlapping X’s. Be sure to cover the entire surface, careful to work all the way into the corners and edges.
Your X’s should be approximately 6” in length and should blend seamlessly together, so that individual X’s cannot be seen. This brushing technique will dry to varied shades of the same color, giving your walls the light and dark appearance of brushed suede.
Removing the Tape
Remove the tape from the trimwork, ceiling, and any adjoining sections while the paint is still wet. This paint will harden considerably as it dries and make tape removal difficult.
That’s it. Nothing to it, right? Enjoy your new faux suede paint treatment.
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