Wood Grain Paint Brush

How to get a wood grain effect over chalk paint. Using Minwax Pro Series Wiping Wax in Dark Roast and a wood grain tool.This technique can be used on furnitu. 4 steps to stripping paint from wood. Obviously every product is slightly different. But as a general rule your first step is to apply a thick layer of stripper with an old paint brush you can throw away afterwards. Make sure you force the product into any carved, intricate areas. Apply the thinned paint by brushing it into the wood every which way with a large Chalk Paint® brush to make certain it goes into the grain of the oak. Before the paint has a chance to dry, wipe off the excess several times with a lint-free cloth until you have achieved the colour and intensity you are after. Marshalltown 9-in Natural Stippling Faux Finish Paint Brush. The Marshalltown single crows foot brushes create a quality drywall textured finish. The durable white Tampico fibers are created to endure and are set in a clear lacquered hardwood block. This brush is made complete with a standard threaded hole in the center of the block for use.

Find out why this 500-year-old finish is trending again, and how to recreate it at home like the artisans of old.

Photo: wayfair.com

While some prefer to disguise the patina of their wood furniture with paint or contact paper, a growing number of homeowners and renters are choosing to play it up through the age-old finish of cerused wood. Read on to learn what this finish is, whether it’s right for you, and which tips to enlist for a pro-quality application.

What is cerused wood?

Ceruse—a white lead-based pigment—first made history in the 16th century as a cosmetic for European high society before it ever wound up on furniture. So when it was repurposed by craftsmen into a decorative finish for wood, the technique was dubbed cerused wood. The resulting weathered white finish muted the original color of the wood and emphasized the texture of its wood grain.

RELATED: Antiquing vs. Distressing: 8 Tips on Creating the Look and Patina of a Genuine Antique

Wood grain paint brushWood Grain Paint Brush

The 500-year-old finish persists in the furniture market today, everywhere from headboards (available at Wayfair; $199.95) to trunks (available at Lowe’s; $155), even cabinetry and light fixtures—especially in coastal-, farmhouse-, or French country-style interiors that complement its rustic-chic aesthetic. The good news? It now comes minus the health risks associated with the old lead-based finish. Today, do-it-yourselfers can recreate the look on their own hardwood pieces by filling in the grain with a liming wax, a blend of clear wax and white liming paste usually made with paint or an oil and plant blend.

Photo: lowes.com

Which woods can you ceruse?

Cerused wood is also known as cerused oak or limed oak because it’s often found on this species of wood. Oak’s highly visible grain makes it one of the surfaces for the finish. But you can ceruse any open-grained hardwood (i.e., those with large pores) such as mahogany. After you brush one to two coats of liming wax onto the wood and buff away the excess with a cloth, the deep ridges of the woodgrain will hold onto some of the white coloring.

You can use the same technique to ceruse bare, stained, or painted wood, but the deep pores in the grain of bare or stained wood get the most dramatic effect. The texture on bare or stained wood is the most receptive to absorbing the liming wax, creating a whitewash that allows grain to peek through. Pores of painted wood have already been filled with viscous paint, meaning that they can’t hold as much liming wax; here, this technique produces a less pronounced finish.

How does it compare to similar DIY wood finishes?

Cerused wood can be used as an alternative to whitewashing or bleaching, two wood finishes that similarly lighten and brighten wood while accentuating its grain. The simple brush-and-buff technique used to ceruse wood is the simplest, least messy option. Meanwhile, whitewashing requires diluting paint in water before application, and bleaching entails neutralizing the applied finish with vinegar and water.

However, you’ll usually pay a higher price for liming wax (anywhere from $15 to $20 per 8 ounces at craft or home stores) compared to supplies for the other finishes ($2 per 8 ounces for basic white paint or $0.40 to $1.00 per 8 ounces of bleach).

Paint Wood Grain Effect

Photo: istockphoto.com

What’s the best way to get the look of cerused wood?

Use these tips to ensure a successful DIY cerused wood finish.

Settle on a wax. Liming wax, sold in brands such as Briwax (available on Amazon; $19.49), consists of liming paste and a wax made of petroleum, beeswax, carnauba, or shellac. Waxes made with the latter three ingredients are more natural options with lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared to petroleum-based waxes. Liming wax is most commonly sold in the color white—which you should choose to mimic the classic white cerused look—but it can also be found in neutrals such as black or gray, which can be used to create a more modern or dramatic look.

Pick your wood wisely. For the most striking cerused wood finish, opt for wood surfaces that already have a highly visible or distinct grain that can be accentuated.


Strip and/or stain light-colored wood. The classic white cerused wood finish isn’t noticeable when applied to bare, light-colored hardwoods like poplar or woods painted white or cream. If you want to ceruse light-colored bare hardwood, your best bet is to stain the wood first with a dark-colored wood stain. If you want to ceruse painted wood that’s currently a shade of white, use a wood stripper to strip the wood, then either ceruse the bare wood or stain the wood and then ceruse it.

Lose the hardware. To ensure a uniform finish, detach removable knobs, pulls, and other hardware on the wood surface you plan to ceruse.

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Start with a spotless surface. Clean the wood surface with a sponge dampened with a solution of one teaspoon dish soap and four cups of warm water to remove dust, dirt, and grime from the grain and surrounding wood surface. Make a second pass over the wood with a dry rag, then let the wood dry fully.

Perfect the pores. Working a soft wire brush over the wood in the direction of the wood grain will help open up the pores of the grain so that the liming wax is absorbed to the fullest extent.

Smooth it out with sandpaper. Whether cerusing bare, stained, or painted wood, gently sand the entire surface with 150-grit sandpaper to smooth uneven spots and remove splinters left by the wire brush.

Photo: istockphoto.com


Brush, then buff. Dip—don’t douse—a natural-bristle chip brush in the liming wax. Offload any excess wax onto a scrap piece of cardboard, then apply what’s left on your brush to the wood in no more than three-by-three-foot sections at a time. Crosshatching (intersecting) brush strokes will maximize the wax absorption by the wood grain. Let the coat become tacky (slightly sticky but starting to set, which can take at least 10 minutes depending on the wax), then gently buff the waxed section with large, sweeping motions of a dry cloth or rag; this will remove the excess wax while some white pigment remains in the grain. Once the wax has cured according to the wax instructions, which can take at least 30 minutes, repeat section by section until the entire surface has been waxed and buffed.

Go for seconds. If desired, deepen the color contrast between the grain and the surrounding wood by brushing on the second coat of wax as you applied the first, then buff it with a cloth. Let the second coat cure.

Pass on poly. Limed wax can act as a top coat, or you can coat it with a clear wax such as Briwax Original (available on Amazon; $19.49) to lend a more durable finish to wood surfaces in high-traffic areas. But don’t top liming wax with polyurethane or polyacrylic sealants, as the wax doesn’t bond well to these products.

The right brush and tool will help you create that special finish.

Photo: hirshfields.com

Graining and marbling—though widely practiced in the nineteenth century—have long been out of favor. But in recent years, these faux finishes have been rediscovered.

The chief advantage of these decorative techniques is that, for the price of mere paint sup­plies, you can have the appear­ance of expensive materials such as marble or handsomely grained mahogany, maple, or other woods. Furniture, trim, even floors, doors, and other surfaces can be given a new visual richness.

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The basic techniques are re­markably simple. A base coat of paint is applied to the sur­face to be finished and allowed to dry. Then a second color is applied, which is then tooled to create the effect of the grains or veins one sees in woods or marbles; in some cases, a third or even more col­ors may also be used. In the case of verde marble, the base coat is black, the second color green, with white veining added. For a mahogany grain, a base color of a crimson red is largely obscured beneath a glaze of brown. Typically, the base coat is an oil- or latex-based paint, the second coat a tinted glaze. For some effects, charcoal, acrylics, or artist’s tube paints may be used.

Wood Grain Paint Brushes

Graining and marbling are akin to the practices of distress­ing, in which a second coat of paint (of a different shade or tone) is sponged, stippled, or otherwise “distressed” to give the painted surface a vari­egated quality. The key differ­ence is that in graining and marbling the intent is to repli­cate with some degree of accu­racy the appearance of the actual wood or stone. To ac­complish that, a variety of tools are needed. A standard paint­brush is generally used for ap­plying the base coat, but a number of specialty brushes and applicators are handy for later steps. Among them are:

Graining Combs. These rubber or metal tools are used to cre­ate the illusion of wood grain. While a glaze or top coat of paint is still wet, the tool is drawn through the paint.

Dragging Brush. Also called an overgrainer, this one has horse bristles and can add a striated effect as it is drawn or “dragged” through the paint.

Wood Grain Paint Brush

Artist’s Paintbrushes. These delicate sable brushes are used for veining and other line in-painting.

Badger Blender. As the name suggests, this brush is made of badger fur. It’s a very soft brush, used for blending color­ing with a delicate touch.

Flogger Brush. In contrast to the blender, this brush has quite stiff, long bristles. It’s for distressing a painted surface.

Wood Grain Paint Roller Brush

Feathers, Rags, Paper Towels, and Applicators. Just about anything you can think of can be- used to apply paint – and probably is. Aluminum foil, wood scraps, and sponges are other options. Feel free to experiment.