Plate decorated with Annie Sloan Paint using a Sgraffito technique

Using Sgraffito Techniques For Original Art Pieces

Sgraffito is an age-old technique used to decorate furniture, walls, ceramics etc. and to make original art pieces. The word is Italian for 'scratch' and this is exactly what the technique entails. The idea is to scratch away top layers while the paint (or stucco, or slip) is still wet to reveal other colours underneath. With Annie Sloan Chalk Paints you too can try this technique to create a range of beautiful and original art pieces in your home.

Plate decorated with Annie Sloan Paint using a Sgraffito technique

It is possible to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paints to try out the sgraffito technique on a range of different materials, which gives you the freedom to use your imagination and create some art pieces that are just as unique as you are. You could create a beautiful table top design, a chair back, customise a chest of drawers or create an original art piece for your wall. Why not try out the technique on a piece of reclaimed timber, some drift wood, a slate or even a piece of old metal scrap? There is nothing limit to the wonderful images you could create with sgraffito techniques except your imagination.

Getting started could not be simpler. First, paint your surface with an under-colour of chalk paint. There are plenty of colours to choose from. Next, paint another colour over the first using thin strokes. Now, while it is still wet, use the tip of your paint brush to scratch a design, pressing down and drawing firmly through the wet paint to reveal the layer below. Once you get a little more advanced in this technique you could use other items to scratch away the top layer and achieve different effects.

Once you get used to the technique you could use multiple colours below the top layer, so that different colours are revealed when you scratch in different places. This could give a lot more depth and flexibility to your designs and allow you to make certain elements in your design really stand out. You could also then smudge paint into certain sections while it is still wet to blend the layers and create even more interesting images.

Tumbler glass painted using a Sgraffito technique and Annie Sloan Paint

When scratching into the layers to create the sgraffito effect you can draw freehand with the implement you are using or you could draw round items to get a more geometric effect. You can create anything from complex art pieces resembling a Mediaeval artwork to modern, minimalist effects – or something entirely new. The choice is yours. Experimentation could yield something truly unique as you play around with sgraffito techniques.

One modern artist using sgraffito techniques is Grayson Perry. He scratches into the clay on his pots to create pieces that are often a commentary and satire on modern life. Like Grayson Perry, and like so many others right back to cave-dwellers daubing on cave walls, you too could use sgraffito techniques to document your life and the things that are important to you.

Why not create scenes from your life or simple depictions of things that mean something to you? You could even document the growth of a child by scratching out an outline of their hand as they grow to personalise their room. The key thing is to create something you can really treasure. Doing so using Annie Sloan chalk paints and the sgraffito technique is easier than you might think.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.