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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.

If after you finish this paint project you want to find additional DIY paint projects for your home, then this awesome DIY painted furniture page has some great painted furntiure ideas and projects to check out!

Love this project? You can buy your own by clicking the link below. Just so you know, Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Time: 3 Hours Cost: $20 Difficulty: Easy

Click on the links to get the materials:
-Wood Graining tool - this is the trick. It doesn't cost much at all, and it super fun to use.
-Top Coat Color Paint (not pictured above)

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.

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

This thing really looks like a stained piece of wood. It is actually a laminate covered particle board piece, so it's pretty impressive!
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  • Virginia R
    Virginia R Jamestown, NY
    on Feb 28, 2017

    I plan to redo my kitchen ceiling and want it to look like planks. I am using an engineered hardwood that is about 1/8 thick (like on the back of some furniture). It comes in 4x8 sheets which I will cut to 4" widths (undecided on the width so far). I will then do the graining process. I did not know about the glaze. Thanks for the instructions. This will definitely help me. Love what you did.

    • Kay Doyle White
      Kay Doyle White
      on Sep 3, 2017

      Virginia, I have a wood ceiling in my video room. We used tongue and groove pine boards. It is beautiful and no cutting into 4" widths. Easy and inexpensive. It was easy to install.

  • Lindabooth801
    on Mar 9, 2017

    Love thos look. Great job.

  • Naomie Moore aka baileyanddaisey
    Naomie Moore aka baileyanddaisey Castaic, CA
    on Mar 9, 2017

    How darn pretty! Great instructions. You did a wonderful job, thanks for sharing! ☺

  • Grace Smith
    Grace Smith Crystal Springs, MS
    on Mar 9, 2017

    This is really one of the best flips I have seen, and I am a long-time DIY-er. Congratulations on a job well done!!!

  • Lynn
    Lynn Bakersfield, CA
    on Mar 9, 2017

    Awesome! I have a 100 year old toy box bench seat that has had years of neglect, abuse & way too many coats of paint. (Some of the mini spindles have so much paint there is no detail to them). Thank you for demystifying the technique of the Graining Tool Set!!

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