How to Paint a Bathroom Wall with a Feather Duster

Bathrooms are the perfect choice for experimental faux paint treatments because of the smaller size of the wall space. However, it is also true that bathroom walls are more visible, so if a wall treatment isn't done well or is too aggressive, it will show more. Feather dusters are fun to use to create unique patterns in painting since the feathers fall in random ways, and unlike a brush, they will not coat the entire surface. You can also drag, pounce, and swirl with a feather duster or with tone-on-tone treatments of more than one color, you can achieve a nice depth of field that can look aged or even a bit like stone. In the accompanying photos, a strong color was used so that it could be seen against the neutral wall color.

Painting With a Feather Duster
Basic Supplies: Feather Duster, Paint and Pan

Prep your bathroom as you would for any painting. Paint your entire wall surface with the middle tone color. This will become your base color and it should be the tone you prefer. The other two paint colors will add depth and highlights. (In the photo example, a dark wine color is being painted over a neutral white so that the painting technique is visible in the photos.)

Step 2

Keep in mind that feather dusters can throw paint during your application, so cover any surface that may get splattered. Mix and pour one of your paints into a paint tray or onto a plastic plate. Keep your paper bags handy.

Wetting the tips of the feather duster

The idea is to get the tips of your feathers wet with paint but not dripping. As you work your feather duster, it will rather quickly become too wet and the marks it will make will not be as nice. Pounce off excess paint on your paper bags each time you put paint on your feather duster.

Pouncing off excess paint on a paper bag

Try for consistent inconsistency. Work one color around the room using several feather dusters as needed. Do not try to cover the base paint; you are simply adding to the color or enhancing it. You want the base color to come through. (You will notice that in the photo example, the white shows through.)

Painting the wall with first feather duster coat

When you have completed the first feather dusted color, clean up and do the second feather dusted color. You can work the walls wet or dry. You will have different effects if you allow paint to dry between coats. Again, now you are trying to allow two colors to show through, so this round of painting may require a lighter touch. You will quickly discover a certain pattern or look that will emerge that you favor. Reserve two clean feather dusters for later use.

Step 6

After your complete second round of feather duster painting, pour two more plates--one in your base color and one in your first color. Go over your walls slowly to adjust any areas that are too heavy or too light in any of the three shades. Again, if you have worked the room wet, then do this wet; if you have allowed each coat to dry, do this final pass after the second feather duster painted coat has dried. Your finished look should appear monotone or tonal, but not three obvious colors.

F.R.R. Mallory

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.