How to Make a Faux Wood Grain Finish

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Use paint and vinegar to make plain wood look exotic.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat Paintbrushes
  • Clean Rags
  • Turpentine
  • White Vinegar
  • Dishes
  • Toothpicks
  • Awl
  • Sandpaper
  • Make sure the wood has been sanded smooth and all of the dust wiped off.

  • Put down a base coat of mustard or ocher yellow acrylic paint and let it dry.

  • Mix 1 part white vinegar with 6 parts burnt umber or raw sienna from an artist's tube of watercolor paint. The mixture, called glaze, should be smooth and thick.

  • Paint a coat of glaze on the wood surface with a wide, flat brush.

  • Use any of the following techniques to achieve a fancy grain look while the glaze is wet.

  • Use an awl to poke holes in the flat end of a cork. Stamp the cork on the glaze, dabbing it on a clean rag every fourth stamp to keep the glaze from building up on it.

  • Stutter an index finger in diagonal patterns across the glaze.

  • Wet a small piece of natural sponge and dab lightly at the glaze. Pat the sponge on a clean cloth occasionally to keep the glaze from building up on it.

  • Use the same paintbrush you used to apply the glaze and twist it in circles to form swirls.

  • Let the glaze coat dry and apply a coat of oil-based varnish. Let it dry and finish the piece with a second coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Change colors for different effects.

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