Stippling is a artistic technique in which the appearance of depth and texture is created with a series of tiny dots applied with a brush dipped in paint or ink, or applied with a pencil. There are a number of applications for stippling, ranging from texturing botanical drawings to bring out notable features to stippling a wall to create a textured look. This technique does require some practice and skill, as stippling can look elegant and subtle or garish and simplistic, depending on how well it is done.
Around the house, one of the most common uses of stippling is in the texturing of walls and ceilings. A wall may be stippled to create an antiqued effect which fits in better with the overall look and feel of the room, or stippling may be used to highlight a textured material such as plaster. Usually, the stippling is subtle, as one does not want to overwhelm people who are looking at the stippled area with textural and visual information.
When stippling in the home, people usually apply a neutral base coat and then stipple a different color over it. The colors used can vary, depending on personal taste. Special faux paint effect brushes can be used to get the desired dotted effect, or people can carefully control a regular paint brush. A glazing paint may be used for a slightly glazed effect which will highlight the stippled appearance of the finished project.
Stippling is also used to create a flyspecked or antiqued effect for furnishings, or to create a more realistic faux wood finish. In this case, hand-stippled paint effects can be used to make a piece seem more unique and original, and can also be used to cleverly hide some flaws which might be apparent if the piece was painted in a single base color. Flooring products can also be finished with this effect, in which case they need to be sealed so that the spotted areas are not worn away with use.
Many hardware and home supply stores sell the tools needed for stippling, including special brushes and glazes. Staff may also have recommendations about colors to use for people who are experimenting. For those who have not stippled before, it is a good idea to practice on a piece of scrap wood before applying the brush to something permanent such as a wall or ceiling. Practice allows people to see how the effect looks and how it can be controlled.