How to Create Faux Bamboo

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Create realistic-looking faux bamboo with PVC pipe.
Create realistic-looking faux bamboo with PVC pipe. (Image: bamboo image by fotografiche.eu from Fotolia.com)

Use faux bamboo in a multitude of applications. PVC pipes make excellent bamboo stems when properly prepared and sealed. These faux finishes are durable and remain attractive for years to come. Use large PVC pipe to create bedposts, doorframes and pillars. Smaller pipes work well when strung together to make blinds, desk organizers, open shelving and decorative wall hangings. Another good thing is that the color of the bamboo is entirely up to you.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC Pipe
  • Acetone
  • Craft paint
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Polyurethane
  • Rubber bands (optional)
  • Craft paintbrushes

Cut the PVC pipe to the appropriate length. Rough up the pipe by lightly sanding the surface and ends.

Clean the surface with a cloth saturated in acetone to remove debris and oil. This prepares the surface and prevents the paint from peeling.

Apply a thin layer of craft paint. Allow the paint to dry, then lightly sand. Add a second coat of paint and lightly sand again before the third coat.

Sand the surface, being careful to avoid baring the pipe. Only rough the paint up slightly--do not remove it.

Use a pencil or marker to draw evenly spaced rings around the pipe. Use a dark shade of paint to trace the rings. Alternatively, you can place rubber bands around the pipe. Paint the bands a darker shade than the pipe.

Dilute a small amount of dark paint in water. Apply thin layers of this mixture to the entire length of the pipe. Your goal is to tone down the crisp colors and add shading. Use a real piece of bamboo as a guide if you wish.

Seal the pipe with good-quality matte polyurethane. Allow the finish to dry completely before using your new faux bamboo.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a matte polyurethane for a natural bamboo appearance.
  • Glue on wired silk leaves for a live bamboo appearance.
  • Wear goggles and gloves when cutting PVC pipe.
  • Avoid breathing in fumes.

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