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How to make painted ceiling beams look like wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Take advantage of the ceiling beams in your room by making them a focal point. Make your painted beams look like wood using a faux finishing technique. Wood beams can add warmth to a room and accent the architectural features of the room. A wood grain tool allows you to paint a wood grain on your beams to simulate the look of the wood. Select a lighter colour for the base colour of the beams and apply a darker colour for the wood grain to create the natural appearance of wood on your beams.

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  1. Sand the painted beams lightly with a fine-grit sanding pad to remove the sheen. This enables the paint to adhere to the surface. Wipe off any dust left from sanding with a tack cloth.

  2. Apply an even coat of the light colour of interior paint to the beams using a paintbrush. Allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

  3. Brush on a coat of the dark colour paint over each of the beams with a paintbrush. Wipe the surface of the beams from one end to the other with a cheesecloth to streak the paint.

  4. Rock a wood grain tool across the surface of each beam from one end to the other to make the wood grain onto the beams. Do this slowly and with purpose.

  5. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

  6. Tip

    You can simulate the look of any wood. Experiment with different colours on a scrap board until you have found the best combination to complement your room.


    Wear eye and face protection when sanding wood. Apply paint in a well-ventilated room.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sanding pad, fine-grit
  • Tack cloth
  • Interior paint, light colour for base
  • Paintbrush
  • Interior paint, dark colour for grain
  • Cheesecloth
  • Wood grain tool

About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.

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