How to Create a Gradient Wash Effect

The truly amazing effect of gradient color wash is achieved by using small amounts of various colors that culminate in the use of a color very similar to the base coat. To create a gradient wash paint effect requires patience as you will make many continuous horizontal passes, with a dragging technique using a 4” high-quality brush.

Color Selection:

Gradient color washes provide a graduated reduction in hue the further up the wall you go. Try to select 1 base color and 4-5 gradually lighter hues with the first being the darkest.

Preparation for the Gradient Wash:

Coat the entire wall with your base color. The base color will eventually represent the higher portions of the wall.

Application of the First Layer of Glaze:
Use your 6”-8” roller to apply the first layer of glaze. Begin at the very left or right of the wall and at the bottom, finishing at the end of the wall on the opposite side. Make two passes with your roller directly on top of the row you just painted.

After the First Row Application:

Drag your paintbrush in a horizontal motion in long smooth strokes. Be sure to keep a steady motion as the gradient effect relies upon this horizontal subtraction of the glaze. Wipe your brush after each stroke, removing all glaze from the brush.

Begin Your Second Row Application:

Using your next lightest color, apply the next layer of glaze, slightly overlapping your previous pass. As with the first row, continue up with two passes.

Blend the Two Hues Together:

Immediately after completing your second rolled pass, blend the two-color regions together with your paintbrush. Using the same horizontal dragging motion, overlap the seam between the two colors. You should see a smoothed transition effect between two colors.

Repeat Process Until All Colors are Used

Continue up the wall using lighter colors until you have finished all of your hues. Continue blending until you have achieved a smooth gradient effect.

Step Back:

The Gradient Color Wash effect is best viewed by taking a step back.