How to paint pearlescent glaze on walls

Updated July 06, 2018

Adding a pearlescent glaze to your walls creates a subtle, shimmering effect that adds drama and sophistication to the room. This faux-finishing technique adds a bit of glamour, making it an ideal finish for a bathroom or bedroom. Most paint manufacturers sell pearlescent glaze, and is generally mixed with the paint colour of your choice in the store, and applied to the walls over the same colour of paint or a complementary colour.

Prepare the walls for painting. Repair any holes or imperfections with spackle and a spatula. Wash the walls with water and a mild detergent, and allow to dry. Use painter's tape around windows and doors, electrical sockets and switches and along the ceiling and baseboards.

Cover the walls with primer. Allow to dry. Paint the walls with a base coat of colour. Choose a gloss or semigloss finish, as the pearlescent glaze does not work well with flat or matt finish paints. Allow the base coat to dry.

Apply the pearlescent glaze using a brush. Work in small sections, no bigger than 4 feet by 8 feet, and brush on the glaze in an "X" pattern. Apply the glaze in one even layer.

Press a plastic trowel into the wet glaze and move in a circular motion to create a swirl effect. Continue until you have completed the entire wall. Allow the glaze to dry completely.

Add additional coats of glaze, using the brush and swirl technique, until you have achieved the desired effect. Apply each coat in a thin layer to avoid drips and an uneven finish. Allow all of the coats of glaze to dry.

Use a roller to apply a coat of clear protective finish over your pearlescent glaze. The protective finish will enhance the pearlescent effect and protect from chips and damage.


Using a pearlescent finish is an easy way to create a subtle stripe effect. After painting the wall with your base colour, tape off vertical stripes and apply the glaze technique to every other stripe. When you are applying the glaze, do not do all the cut-in work around the ceilings, baseboards, windows and corners at once. Do the cut-in work in sections, so it blends completely with the glaze on the walls.


Always practice your technique on a practice board before painting your walls to make sure you are happy with the colours and the appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Spackle
  • Spatula
  • Sponge
  • Soap
  • Painter's tape
  • Paint rollers and brushes
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Plastic trowel
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About the Author

An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.