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Let the Flecks Fly

Spattering really is something your kid could do, but that shouldn't trivialize its impact. "Spattering is an easy way to revive a blah piece of furniture and give it a custom touch," says decorative painter Ingrid Leess.

This child's desk set started out as plain plywood, so Leess first primed and painted with latex in a satin finish. If you're working with a painted piece, you can go directly to spatter.

Just mix equal parts satin latex—choose a color that contrasts with the base coat—and clear acrylic glaze, which gives the specks shine and dimension. Then lightly load a spatter brush, and tap it against a stick about 6 inches above the surface to create a hail of paint flecks. Do one surface at a time, letting it dry before turning the piece and spattering again.

In just a few hours, watch that ho-hum piece take on a whimsical and original new look.

Paint: Behr's Red Hot (base coat) and Snow Fall (glaze coat)

Step 1

Paint the Base Coat

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

When the primed surfaces are dry, brush on the base coat, working along the length of the piece of furniture. Let dry.

Apply a second coat if needed.

Use plastic drop cloths and tape to cover any surfaces that won't be spattered, such as the base and sides of our chair.

Tip: Use spent sanding sponges to prop up and steady any furniture you paint so that it won't stick to your work surface.

Step 2

Mix the Paint and Glaze

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

In a wide-mouth mixing container, combine equal parts clear acrylic glaze and top-coat color. Stir the mixture, which should be creamy and luminous.

Step 3

Dip the Brush

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Load the spatter brush by dipping just the bristle tips in the mixture.

Step 4

Start Spattering

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Test your technique on cardboard before moving on to your furniture pieces. Tap the brush lightly against a firmly held stick. Try to maintain the same pressure and cadence as you spatter one entire surface. Find a rhythm, and stick to it.

If you don't like the emerging pattern, simply wipe off the glaze with a wet rag and try again when the surface dries.

Once you spatter one side to your satisfaction, let it dry before turning the piece and spattering another surface.

Tip: Move closer to the surface for bigger spatters and farther away for smaller ones.