How to Achieve a Beautiful Subtle Finish with French Wash

How to Achieve a Beautiful Subtle Finish with French Wash

French Wash Antiquity and Seed  French wash Antiquity and Seed

What is French Wash and How Does it Work?

French Wash creates the look of delicate broken color – a subtle marble-like finish discovered centuries ago by European masters. It involves applying a thin layer of French Wash over a base coat of Low Sheen Acrylic paint to create a subtle and elegant effect. This decorative painting technique has been used for centuries to add depth and texture to walls, furniture, and other surfaces. This elegant, timeless ragged effect can be created by both the professional painter and the DIY home decorator.

French Wash Great Dane and Brindle French Wash Great Dane and Brindle

Why Choose French Wash?

If you're looking to add a touch of sophistication to your home or project, French Wash is the perfect choice. Unlike traditional faux finishes, which can be expensive and difficult to install, French Wash offers a cost-effective and easy-to-achieve alternative. With the right technique and materials, you can create a beautiful marble-like finish that will impress your guests and elevate the aesthetic of any space.

 French Wash Cuban Turquoise and Old Havana  French Wash Cuban Turquoise and Old Havana

Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving a Subtle Marble Finish

Provided the surface is clean and sound, Sydney Harbour’s Low Sheen Acrylic is self-priming and can be applied directly over most previously painted surfaces.
All varnishes, polyurethanes or surfaces previously painted with oil-based enamel paint should be thoroughly sanded to remove gloss and to create a “keyed” surface. Loose, peeling or flaking paint must be made sound by scraping off loose paint. Fill nail holes and cracks with suitable filler, sand and dust off. Spot prime all joints and repaired areas with Universal Primer or Base Coat Primer, then apply one coat of same to entire area. Allow 2 hours dry time before recoating or overcoating with top coat.

Stir paint thoroughly prior to use. Apply two coats by brush, spray, or a medium nap roller.
Touch dry in 1 hour. Allow minimum 2 hours dry time between coats. Allow 18-24 hours dry

(For non-professional painters, the application of French Wash™ is a two-person operation).

Starting at the top left-hand corner of the wall the first person should apply French Wash™ using a wide brush (3 or 4 inch) in a random pattern. It is important that good coverage is achieved and there are no areas where the product is not completely applied. Following closely behind, the second person creates the desired pattern by ragging muslin cloth over the freshly painted French Wash™ surface, turning the cloth in your hand to avoid a “stamped” pattern and to use dry areas of cloth. The method we recommend is not to hold the muslin on the surface and roll, but to use a large amount (at least 5m) of scrunched muslin and “pounce” or press this quickly and repeatedly to the wall, absorbing the French Wash and leaving a broken, subtle pattern of color. Care should always be taken to leave a wet edge (at least 5in wide). Do not go back over completed work. Do not stop in the middle of a wall. All work should be arranged to allow completion at a natural division such as a corner. Corners can be ragged by flicking the muslin into the corner.
Touch dry in 2 hours. Allow 6 hours dry time.

Please Note: Do not change roles during application as each person has an individual style or technique, and an inconsistent result will be obvious on the wall.
If a second coat of French Wash™ is required (either in the same or a different color), allow first coat 24 hours dry time.

For more details check out our "How To" Video


What Colors are available in French Wash and Low Sheen Acrylic?

Sydney Harbour Paint Company has many beautifully matched French Wash and Low Sheen color combinations below.

French Wash Valkrie and Low Sheen Victoriana French Wash Snowdoania and Low Sheen Acrylic Drizzle French Wash in Old Havana and Low Sheen Acrylic in Blue Steel French Wash Elysian and Low Sheen Mist French Wash Caspian Low Sheen HailStorm French Wash Bergamot Low Sheen St Helena French Wash Antiquity Low Sheen Seed
French Wash Soap Stone and Low Sheen Acrylic Bone French Wash Old Havana and Low Sheen Acrylic Cuban Turquiose French Wash Los Cabos Low Sheen Breakwaster French Wash Clementine Low Sheen Cadanera French Wash Brindle Low Sheen Great Dane French Was Balsamic Low Sheen Cinder  French Wash Ancient Grains and Tapenade


Are Custom Colors Available?

Custom Color Matches can be created by our in-house colorists.  Please note there is an extra charge for custom colors and extra time will be needed to create the color matches. If you are local, please come by and see our French Wash Custom color binder, we have display in our Los Angeles Showroom. 

Click here to get your French Wash and Low Sheen now!

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