How to Paint Faux Snakeskin

Written by julie hampton
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How to Paint Faux Snakeskin
Sample of faux snakeskin (Julie Hampton)

Snakeskin is a popular faux finish found on kitchen cabinets and walls as well as home decor items. Faux snakeskin made from plaster and paint can feel and look very realistic. Because the snakeskin is not real, a variety of colours can be used not commonly found in nature.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Primer
  • Joint compound
  • Trowel
  • Netting
  • Latex paint
  • Glaze
  • Rags
  • Gloves

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  1. 1

    Apply primer to area being painted. The primer can be brushed or rolled on. Allow to dry 24 hours.

  2. 2

    Take the joint compound and lightly skim coat the area using a trowel. Make sure the joint compound is approximately 2 cm thick. All areas should be covered; do not leave any bare spaces. Work in 2-x-2-foot sections. Avoid large trowel marks or streaks, and attempt to get a smooth surface.

  3. 3

    Press netting into the joint compound after each 2-x-2-foot section has been trowelled, before the joint compound has started drying. Overlap the netting slightly where each section meets. Remove netting to show snakeskin imprint. Allow area to dry 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Lightly sand the area. Remove any ridges or bumps from the joint compound. Be careful to not sand into the snakeskin pattern. Wipe off excessive dust with a damp cloth.

  5. 5

    Apply a coat of latex paint. The sheen level must be a satin or higher gloss--a flat sheen will not work. For brown snakeskin use a tan or neutral beige. The paint can be rolled on; however, have a brush handy for hard-to-reach crevices in the snakeskin pattern. Two layers may be required. Allow to dry four to six hours.

  6. 6

    Roll on an antiquing glaze in umber. Manipulate the glaze with a rag by rubbing and stippling into the snakeskin crevices. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

Tips and warnings

  • Make samples of snakeskin on pieces of foam core. Experiment with different-colour base coats and glazes for a variety of looks.

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