Release Your Inner Artist: Sponge Paint A Ceiling

Posted on: 23 February 2017

If you want to update your ceiling without replacing it during a remodel, consider sponge painting. Sponge paint adds depth and interest to any room, covers flaws, and it makes a good alternative for wallpaper. It gives you a chance to release your inner artist. 

It involves two colors: one for the base coat and one for the sponge coat. A novice can sponge paint, but it requires patience. Here are tips to sponge paint ceilings.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • face mask
  • step-ladder
  • drop cloths or plastic carpet film
  • mild dish soap
  • paper towels
  • painter's tape
  • craft sticks (optional)
  • poster board or scrap plywood
  • several natural sea sponges
  • paint roller
  • paint tray
  • glaze (optional)
  • two colors of water-based paint

Open a window to ventilate. Wash the ceiling with a sponge and mild dish soap, then let it dry.

Lay drop cloths over areas you don't want to be touched by paint. For carpets, plastic carpet film is effective, since it sticks to the surface better. Lay painter's tape along the line between the wall and ceiling.


Choose two contradicting paint colors that compliment one another. Light base coats and darker top coats work best. To create a dramatic look, go from dark to light.

Practice the technique on poster board or scrap plywood. Prepare the paint; according to directions, stirring in glaze with a craft stick, if desired. Glaze will make the top coat look transparent.

Test different ratios on your practice medium. Make a tapping movement on the plywood or poster board with the sponge, and vary speed. Try rotating your hand while tapping.

Do not wipe, as it will not give the same look. Rinse the sponges often to keep the paint from drying on them.

Examine the color in sunlight, and in the moonlight to catch shadows. Make adjustments.

Paint the Ceiling

Dip the roller into the base coat.To stay off the ladder more, use the extension arm. Roll the base coat on the ceiling.

Keep cardboard pressed on adjacent walls in tight areas. Let the base coat dry. Practice sponging some more while the base coat dries. Apply a second layer of base coat, and let it dry.

Start sponging from the middle of the ceiling outward. Work in small sections, overlapping each new section slightly. Tear a sponge in half to work in corners. Occasionally check for the base coat showing through  and sponge over it.

Nothing says you have to deal with plain, white ceilings. You can  have fun, while improving the look of the room. If you don't trust your skill, or you need a major overhaul, contact a remodeling service company like Alleva Construction, Inc.