A Tuscan or Old World faux finish imparts a warm, sunny look to just about any room. There are several faux painting techniques to achieve a stucco effect without going to the mess and expense of actually putting stucco on your walls. The popularity of faux finishes has made it easier for the do-it-yourself homeowner, as specialized tools and products are now widely available.
Using Sand-Textured Paint
Most stucco is made of Portland cement, several binders, water and sand. The grainy look of the sand in the surface imparts the classic, rustic stucco appearance. Achieve this look by painting the wall with sand-textured paint. This can be applied by hand or with a specialty roller. Once the paint has dried overnight, apply joint compound in an irregular fashion using a 4 to 6 inch drywall knife. Leave plenty of the underlying sand-painted wall visible. (Practice on a piece of cardboard first to get a feel for the texture.) Once dried, apply one coat of drywall primer and one or two coats of your finish color. Choose a sunny or pink-toned shade for authenticity.
Mix a small amount of a darker shade of your wall color into clear acrylic glaze. Use an old brush and brush this onto the wall using criss-crossing and swirling motions. This can be rubbed or wiped with a soft rag for a more aged look.
Use Colored Joint Compound
Mixing powdered joint compound and paint together and applying it in two or three coats in different shades is another way to get a faux stucco look. This can be done over any existing paint if you don't mind the color showing through, or you may paint a base coat.
Choose two or three shades of neutral, stucco-colored flat paint. Finding a shade you like, and picking three from the same paint swatch from lighter to darker is a good strategy. In a large bucket, mix the lightest shade of paint with the powdered joint compound until it's a workable consistency. Apply it to the wall in a patchy, irregular fashion. Once it's dry, repeat this with the next color until you are happy with the results. You can leave it as is, or roll a coat of low-lustre acrylic varnish over the entire wall for a polished effect.
Use Paint and Glaze Alone
Get a Tuscan stucco effect without using joint compound. This works well if you already have textured walls, but is effective on smooth walls, too. Choose your color and paint a base coat using satin-sheen paint. Mix a small amount of a darker version of your base color with acrylic glaze. As with all faux techniques, practice on a piece of cardboard to get a feel for it. The glaze will darken as it dries.
Use an old brush, and apply the glaze in a criss-cross or swirly, irregular manner. Try to keep the brush as dry as possible, and work the glaze out into a thin coat. You can experiment with using a rag as well if the wall is textured to give it a more rubbed or aged look (this will not be effective on smooth walls.)
Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.