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How To Create a Faux Mahogany Finish

Faux-finish an inexpensive chest of drawers to replicate the look of mahogany.

More in Decorating

faux finish replicates look of mahogany
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Sand and Prime the Furniture

Sand the piece if necessary. A preliminary sanding is unnecessary if the piece is unfinished or if it's finished and in good condition. A piece with bubbles in the varnish should be stripped before it's painted. Apply a coat of red oxide paint to all surfaces of the furniture and let dry. For a realistic look, remove the drawers from the dresser, and finish them individually.

Step 2: Add the Glaze

Use the glaze-application brush to apply a generous amount of the first earth-tone glaze, Indian brown, in random patches on the first drawer. Wiping the brush between colors, apply random patches of the second and third earth-tone glazes. To create an impression of depth, apply a small amount of black in a random dot pattern.

Step 3: Blend the Glaze

With the soft blending brush, very lightly "dust" the painted surface, wiping excess glaze from the brush as necessary. Go over the entire surface, softening all the colors. Allow to dry overnight.

go over surface with soft blending brush

Step 4: Create the Grain Lines

Dip the tip of the fan brush into black glaze, wipe some of the excess on paper towels, and blot the brush on a dampened sponge to spread the bristles. Lightly drag it along the surface to create delicate grain lines.

A slight increase in pressure on the brush will intensify the color. Create straight lines at a slight angle to the sides of the piece, as mahogany is generally cut on an angle, or create U-shaped areas to mimic hard grain.

Immediately after brushing on each length of graining, soften the graining by dragging a soft blending brush over the lines created by the fan brush. Allow to dry.

For added protection on surfaces that may undergo constant wear, add a water-based acrylic sealant.

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