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Faux Wood Grain Paint Technique

Ok you guys... if you haven't heard of this wood graining tool yet, prepare for your mind to be blown! Sometimes we paint over wood, but sometimes we want our plastic/laminate furniture to have a wood grain look to it, right? This is the trick to getting it! You can make great looking wood grain and natural looking knots with some paint and a wood graining tool. It is super easy to use and adds a nice touch of character to any dull piece.

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Time: 3 Hours Cost: $20 Difficulty: Easy
  • faux wood grain paint technique

-2" Dry Brush
-1.5" Dry Brush
-Base Coat Color Paint
-Wood Graining tool - this is the trick. It doesn't cost much at all, and it super fun to use.
-Clear Glaze
-Top Coat Color Paint (not pictured above)
-Old Rag

  • faux wood grain paint technique

STEP 1: Sand down your piece of furniture
Grab whatever piece of furniture you want to paint and start sanding it down. Do this on every piece of furniture you want to paint, even if it's laminate; it preps the surface for painting.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

STEP 2: Clean off the area
Wipe down any dust caused by sanding the item.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

STEP 3: Paint a base coat (the grain color)
Here is where you can begin customizing your piece. First you will be laying down a base coat in the color of your choice. This will be the underlying color of the grain. You can use any color you want! Be sure to use a paint that has primer in it so that it adheres to the surface well.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

STEP 4: Paint the top coat with glaze
Once the base coat has dried it is time to mix the top paint layer. You can also use whatever color you choose for the top coat. I decided to give a slightly white washed feel so I used white paint. First pour a bit of white paint into a cup or bowl.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

Then mix in a clear glaze. You need a glaze top for the technique to work. Glaze takes longer to dry and gives you time to create the grain texture. Mix the paint and glaze at a ration of 1:4. (One part paint to 4 parts glaze).

  • faux wood grain paint technique

I decided the white was too stark in contrast to the dark gray so I decided to add a bit of the original color to make a lighter gray as the top coat color.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

STEP 5: Paint the furniture with the top coat
Brush a layer of your paint and glaze mix on top of the base coat. Do this with a dry bristle brush making sure it isn't super thick or saturated.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

STEP 6: Use the wood graining tool
Grab your handy-dandy and awesome wood graining tool (I got mine on Amazon, and it worked perfectly) and drag one side through the glaze/paint mix. This will really just create some lines through the paint.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

Now is the fun part! Using your wood grain tool drag the curved edge through the glaze/paint mixture wobbling it back and forth as you go to create the grains. Don't wobble it too much or it will look unnatural. Once your done, and happy with how it looks, let it dry.

This wood graining tool also comes with a small piece that helps get in the smaller nooks and crannies of the drawer.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

Here is a before and after of the piece I painted. The drawers on the right were not touched because I'm not going to use them.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

Look at all that grain! I think I may have gone a bit overboard, but it is so fun to watch the grain come to life!

The wood graining tool I bought came with a small piece as well that helped to get in the smaller nooks and crannies of the drawer. I would highly suggest getting one that has the same.

  • faux wood grain paint technique

This thing really looks like a stained piece of wood. It is actually a laminate covered particle board piece, so it's pretty impressive!

Materials I used for this project:

  • Base Coat Paint Color   (Lowe's)
  • Valspar Clear Satin Latex Clear Glaze (Actual Net Contents: 16-fl oz)   (Lowe's)
  • Allway GT3 Graining Tool Set   (Amazon)
See all materials

Got a question about this project?

  • Joyce
    Joyce Middletown, OH


  • Nantarasi

    I used this technique a few years ago when I was remodeling a guest bathroom in my beach house. Loved the result. Even close up it looks like weathered wood.

  • Daneen J
    Daneen J Lawton, OK

    This is fantastic. So impressed!!

  • Duboissj

    Love the results.

  • Becky Hissong Jefferson
    Becky Hissong Jefferson Lehigh Acres, FL

    I have seen this technique used with a clear glaze on a pastel color to make it look like moiré silk. It was beautiful

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!