How to paint a moving water effect on wall?
September 25, 2007 3:30 PM   Subscribe

I want to paint one of the walls in my bedroom so that it gives the impression of flowing or moving water. The idea is to give a kind of mountain stream effect by: *putting river rocks along the edge of the wall by the floor *by making a small floor indoor water fountain with the same rocks for the middle of the wall. How can I get this effect on the wall?

I've looked at some painting books for some ideas...frottaging and combing both looked like they had some possibilities, but it doesn't seem the perfect fit. I've also thought about some kind of effect on the wall and then painting white flowing lines across the wall over the effect so the effect alone doesn't have to carry the idea, but I'm not sure if I'm confident enough to freehand those by myself.

Googling this proved much harder than I thought so I thought I'd try the art and design mavens here. I love links to ideas - they're always helpful.
posted by riverjack to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Considered a mural? I'm biased though; I've never seen a faux finish I didn't find totally obnoxious.
posted by loiseau at 4:46 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's pretty hard to get a realistic water effect. I would suggest looking towards a stylized representation of water like what Hiroshige would do in his prints (google his name for more examples).
posted by extrabox at 7:43 PM on September 25, 2007

You may also try posting this question in the Decorative murals/faux forum on WetCanvas. There are some amazingly creative people there.

I would probably use paint thinned down with lots of glaze for a watery effect. I noticed that they also have sparkly additives for paint now in the faux finish section - you just try to sprinkle it on white the paint is still wet.
posted by Ostara at 7:46 PM on September 25, 2007

Since it sounds like you'll be installing a water fixture near the wall anyway (I'm not sure I fully understand your description), you might consider a different option: reflecting a light off of the surface of the water onto a flat-colored wall. Done right, the reflections of the moving ripples won't look like water, but they'll unmistakeably suggest it.
posted by tss at 9:46 PM on September 25, 2007

IANAA, but the key thing with water seems to be the dynamic nature of the light reflection. Maybe this could be represented with a scaled down version of the reflective tags on the back of an water delivery truck (I forget which brand does this). You could put very thin pins in the wall and suspend reflective sequins. Alternatively, maybe you could rig up something with several sheets of transparent film with wavy lines moving back and forth.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:37 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the help - it's got me thinking. The WetCanvas forum is a great lead, Ostara.

I like the idea of reflecting light onto the wall as if it was coming off of water...there are some neat possibilities with that. I'll see what I can do about finding some ways to get reflections. I don't think my fountain will be big enough to really do it well, but maybe there are some other options.
posted by riverjack at 8:45 PM on September 28, 2007

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