How to Gain a Wood Grain Look From Canvas

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Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper

  • Paper or cardboard

  • Light brown acrylic paint

  • Paper plate

  • Dark brown acrylic paint

  • Raw umber acrylic paint

  • 1-inch paintbrush

  • 1- inch hard-bristled brush

  • Paper towel

Paint a faux wood grain on canvas using the dry brush method.

When painting on canvas you can use a wide range of techniques to change the appearance of the surface to create such things as wood grain. Achieving the wood grain look involves using the dry brush method. To do this, dip the very ends of the paintbrush bristles in the desired color of paint and pull the tips of the paintbrush across the canvas, leaving behind thin, broken lines of paint. Experiment on a piece of paper or cardboard before beginning the final project.


Step 1

Cover a flat work surface with newspaper. Place a piece of paper or cardboard on the newspaper.

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Step 2

Paint the surface of the paper or cardboard with light brown paint. Allow the paint to dry 15 to 30 minutes.


Step 3

Squeeze a quarter-size drop of dark brown paint on a paper plate.

Step 4

Hold the 1-inch hard-bristled brush perpendicular to the paper plate. Dab approximately 1/8 inch of the end bristles in the brown paint.


Step 5

Position the paintbrush over one edge of the paper. Place the bristles on the paper and pull the paintbrush across the paper. Lines, breaks in the paints and small blobs will appear. Dip the paintbrush again and repeat the process.

Step 6

Wipe the bristles with a paper towel. Put the paper towel over the end of the bristles. Squeeze and pull. Do not dip the paintbrush in water.

Step 7

Squeeze a half-dollar size drop of burnt umber on the paper plate. Repeat steps 4 through 6 to create a second layer of wood grain.


To attain a smooth surface on the canvas, apply a layer of gesso prior to beginning the procedure. Let the gesso dry completely before beginning the wood grain painting or the paint will become muddy. Move the brush in a small arch while pulling it down the paper to create a knot opening. Sit the paintbrush straight down next to the arch and move in a small circle to create the knot.


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