How to paint Exotic Faux-Rattan Walls

This was my most fun and challenging faux project ever

Our hallway bathroom, just off the kitchen, is a builder’s standard full bath, so my design objective was to make it look more like a powder room. IOW, distract from the white tub and commode with faux rattan walls and a funky monkey-patterned shower curtain complete with cornice and tassel fringe.

I adapted this faux treatment from a grasscloth finish in BH&G's "Decorative Paint Techniques," (my favorite faux book) available here from Amazon. I worked with the Sherwin Williams "Blonde" that was already on my walls.

It’s fun to see people touch the walls and insist it’s wallcovering.

Here’s how to recreate this unique finish.

Faux painted rattanYou'll need...

  • Base coat paint (Sherwin Williams Blonde, flat)
  • Clear faux glaze (I use Behr)
  • Floetrol, to extend glaze drying time (optional)
  • A tube of Burnt Umber acrylic colorant
  • Painter's rags
  • 10” Plastic squeegee
  • Exacto knife or paring knife
  • Pencil, ruler
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Level
  • ScotchBlue Painter's Tape for Delicate Surfaces*
  • Roller Lite roller, medium nap covers (3/8” nap)
  • Angled 1 ½” paint brush
  • Foamcore board for practice, optional

Paint & glaze

  • Tape off the ceiling, doors, windows, base moldings.
  • Base coat the walls with the roller, cutting in corners and edges with the brush
  • When dry (24 hours), tape off 27" vertical sections. 27” is similar to wallcovering width and is not too wide for the squeegee step.
  • Remove the handle and notch the squeege blade with v-shaped notches about 1/8" wide and deep. Space notches 1/2" apart. See photo below
  • Tint the clear glaze with burnt umber acrylic colorant. I add an ounce or two of Floetrol. I experimented with what worked for me and then wrote the formula down. You don't need a lot of tinted glaze. My proportion was about 1/2 tsp colorant to a cup of glaze. I prepared up small amounts at a time. Make a sample board to test your results.
    Roller Lite
  • Roll on a 12-15 inch horizontal band of glaze across the 27" section. Drag the squeegee through the glaze, working across the section.
  • Repeat from ceiling to floor until you finish the entire section. Wipe the squeege after each pass
  • Your first squeege pass across will be easy if you use the ceiling or crown as your guide. After that, you’ll need a fairly steady hand, but you can overlap the squeegee as a guide, as I did (don't drink a pot of coffee before you do this)
  • If you make a mistake, quickly wipe off the glaze!
  • Glaze every other section. Remove the painters tape not more than 45 minutes after glazing. Unless you’re an experienced faux-er, toss it. Retape tomorrow with fresh tape.
  • When the glaze is completely dry (24 hours), retape the alternate sections
  • Repeat the above glazing steps on the unfinished sections.

  • Squeegee for rattan faux finishMy Tips

    With a scissors, I cut my squeege into two sections, 6 ½ and 3 1/2 inches wide. The shortie comes in handy for tight spaces and touch ups.

    Imperfections are fine, even uneven lines. See the detail photo above. Don't be too critical of yourself. Stand back to assess your work. Remember that faux finishes are not meant to be viewed with a magnifying glass. The overall effect will be organic as in nature, and that’s what you want. My walls have light orange peel finish (bumpy), so they're blotchier than if you have smooth walls, which would be easier to do.
    *Important: Use ScotchBlue Painter's Tape for Delicate Surfaces. Accept no substitutes. Scotch will never peel your paint off if you remove it within 45 minutes after painting.

    If you like this look, you may also like my Faux Wicker wall finish in my pool bath. Check out these faux finishing essentials before you start this project. Good luck!