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Decorative Paint Technique: Woodgraining Instructions

If the beauty of real wood isn't in the budget, paint and a fun tool can make a great alternative.

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Step 1: Read the Tips

  • Always practice on a primed/base-coated sample board.
  • Strie is also called dragging.
  • Wood-graining tools are available online or at your local paint store.

Step 2: Prep the Door

Apply a coat of primer and let it dry. Apply base coat and let that dry. Sand the door's surface lightly and remove the dust with a damp rag between layers.

Step 3: Mix Paint and Glaze

In separate containers, mix one part of each wood-toned color with one part water and one part glaze.

Step 4: Tape the Natural Direction of the Woodgrain

It's important to paint in the direction of the wood grain so tape-off the horizontal (including mitered) edges of the trim. Make sure to push the tape down really well so paint doesn't bleed underneath.

Step 5: Apply Lighter Paint

Wood graining is actually the strie technique with a new step added. Apply a small amount of the lighter brown mixture as you would for strie with long, straight horizontal strokes. Some areas will be a little darker and some lighter, which is fine and enhances the natural feel of wood. Let dry.

Step 6: Apply Darker Paint

For the second coat, apply a light, streaky coat of the darker brown mixture, and while it's still wet, drag and rock the wood-graining tool through it to create the knots and grain naturally found in wood. Use the edges of the tool to create different looks. If an area looks a little too dark, lightly sweep a dry brush over the paint. For areas the wood-graining tool won't fit into, use the dry brush to create a strie effect. If you want more of a challenge, use the artist brushes to create additional wood effects.

Step 7: Remove Tape and Let Dry

Once you're done wood graining in one direction, pull off the tape and let the door dry.

Step 8: Repeat Process Then Apply Wax or Varnish

Repeat the process for the unpainted vertical sections of the door and let dry. Apply a coat of wax or varnish — work quickly, again going with the grain of the wood. Don't reapply the varnish in a wet area as that can gum up the surface. This layer will protect the finish and bring out the detail of the technique.

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Resources

  • latex glaze (Studio Finishes 405) from Benjamin Moore
    latex paint, eggshell sheen (base coat: Bryant Gold HC-7, wood-toned colors: Clinton Brown HC-67 and Hasbrouck Brown HC-71) from Benjamin Moore
    water-based wax from Fauxlikeapro.com

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