You can enhance the look of steel doors, metal tables, and just about any painted surface by refinishing them with the look of wood grain. To get the realistic look of faux wood grain, you might need a little bit of practice, but if you have the right tools you'll have much greater chance of success.
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Base Paints and Over Stains
Base paints should be low-lustre latex enamels, either a flat or matt finish. You'll want to imitate wood colours when choosing paints, so consider warm tones such as ochres, rusts, or deep tans. A gel stain will be brushed over the base coat, so use a dark contrasting tone, such as dark oak or walnut.
Wood Grain Rockers and Rollers
A wood grain rocker is a wedge-shaped piece of wood or a plastic cylinder embossed with wood grain designs that you can slowly "rock" through the topcoat gel stain to create grain pattern. Rockers usually have an attached handle, while "rollers," or cylinders, may have a removable handle so you can change patterns. Choosing a wood grain rocker design is determined by what type of wood you're planning to imitate.
Wood Grain Combs
The serrated teeth of a wood grain comb will give you thick to fine lines, imitating the grain in wood. Wood grain combs come in varying sizes, such as fine, medium and coarse, and may be single combs several inches long, or might be three-sided combs. Multi-sided combs offer the convenience of three tooth sizes in one tool. Similar to a wood grain rocker, wood grain combs are dragged through the topcoat gel stain to produce fine grain lines.
Once the wood grain lines have been laid down, a softening brush can be used to smooth down the grain lines and give a more realistic appearance. The bristles of a softening brush are usually set farther apart than a paint brush, and may be made of hog bristle or badger hair. Stippling brushes, also made with soft, widely spaced bristles, are square in shape and are used to soften or blur starting and ending points in your grain work.
Experienced faux wood grain painters often use an overgraining brush. Slim individual brushes are set in a line, usually three to five across. The individual brushes, often made of sable or hogs hair, allow a grain painter to drag the topcoat gel stain in delicate lines to create wood grain designs. Although they can create terrific effects, they can also be fairly expensive as a starting tool.
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