Apply the Base Coat

Apply a base coat of low-luster latex enamel. We're using a beige-toned yellow ochre. Other choices for a wood look include burnt sienna and red oxide. For a wild non-wood look, use any color.

Step 1

Apply the Gel Stain

Brush one stroke of gel stain on the base-coated project. Slide a wood-graining rocker through the wet glaze, rocking it slowly at intervals to create a wood-grain effect. Start at one end of the stroke, and keep going in one continuous motion to the other end.

Continue, stroke after stroke, wiping the picked-up glaze from the rocker as you go along. Vary the look from row to row by using the notched edge of the rocker to comb through the glaze instead of rocking through it. Using the two patterns alternately will give a natural wood-grain look.

When one surface is combed but before the glaze dries completely, use a clean paintbrush or rag to go over the surface again lightly to soften the grain.

Step 2

Finish the Piece

When the paint is completely dry, seal the surface with a coat or two of clear polyurethane sealer.