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How to Paint Wood Effects

Updated July 20, 2017

Natural wood grain has vibrant colours and designs that stand out in any home. However, natural wood floors, panelling and decorative pieces can be expensive. Faux wood grain patterns are an excellent alternative. It can be created on any flat surface with inexpensive tools that can be bought at any craft store or home improvement store. For the faux wood grain to appear natural, use a lighter base coat and a darker glaze.

Apply an even base layer of raw sienna low-lustre latex enamel paint to the flat surface that is in need of faux wood effects. Use a paint roller for larger areas and a paintbrush or sponge brush for smaller areas. Apply the paint strokes in the direction the wood grain will be applied. Let the base layer dry.

Mix 2 parts burnt umber latex enamel paint to 1 part acrylic paint thickener to create a glaze. Apply an even layer of glaze over the base layer with a paintbrush or sponge brush. Apply the paint strokes in the direction the wood grain will be applied.

Apply the wood grain effects with a special rocker tool while the glaze layer is still wet. Place the wood-graining rocker on the edge of the flat, painted surface furthest away from you with the handle facing upward. Ensure that it is in line with the paint's brushstrokes. Slowly drag the wood-graining rocker toward you in a straight line while rotating the handle down toward the painted surface and then up to the ceiling. Lift the wood-graining rocker off of the surface. Wipe the excess glaze off of the rocker with a rag. Repeat the process until the entire surface is covered in wood grain effects. Work quickly so the glaze does not dry.

Softly trace the wood grain effects with a blending paintbrush. Let the glaze layer dry.

Apply an even layer of clear acrylic sealer to the surface. Let the final layer dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge brush
  • Paint roller
  • Flat surface
  • Wood-graining rocker
  • Blending paintbrush
  • Raw sienna low lustre latex enamel paint
  • Burnt umber latex enamel paint
  • Acrylic paint thickener
  • Rag
  • Clear acrylic sealer
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About the Author

South Florida resident Angela Faustina Kramer has been a freelance writer and photographer since 2007. Her writing and artwork has appeared in local magazines like “Edible Sarasota Magazine.” Kramer is a recent graduate of New College of Florida where she earned her Bachelor of Arts with honors in fine art/history.