Spruce up forgettable furnishings or bare walls with the “faux bois” technique, which results in paint that looks just like wood.
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- Run the bristles back and forth across a scrap piece of wood or cardboard to get more off, then rub the bristles on a rag. Step 2 Pour the appropriate solvent - mineral spirits or turpentine for oil-based stain and warm, soapy water for water-based stain - into a bowl. Immerse the brush and shake it.
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The ageless patina of wood grain makes it a popular material for home furnishings. Unfortunately, solid wood pieces—side tables, bedroom dressers, and chair—cost a pretty penny.
Thankfully, an innovative painting technique called “faux bois” (French for “false wood”) can offer the perfect compromise for do-it-yourselfers who budget for laminate furniture but dream of wood grain look. Using this technique, homeowners can mimic a natural-looking wood grain on non-wood surfaces, ranging from medium-density fiberboard to drywall. What’s more, the painter has full control over the color and variation of the faux wood grain, so they can dictate how to add texture to otherwise flat surfaces.
With two shades of latex paint and a simple acrylic glaze, you can apply paint that looks like wood to all of your favorite home accents.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Painter’s tape
– Sanding block
– Finegrit sandpaper
– Microfiber cloth
– Oilbased primer
– Natural bristle paintbrush
– Paint roller
– Paint roller covers
– Latex paint (2 shades)
– Synthetic bristle brush
– Paint mixing jar
– Clear acrylic glaze
– Paint pans
– Wood grain rocker
– Paper towels
To prepare the workspace for painting, cover all surrounding areas with painter’s tape. You’ll also want to remove hinges, knobs, and other hardware or décor, in order to protect them from stray splatters. Lay down old newspaper beneath the workspace to keep sanding debris and paint drops off of floors and furnishings.
Wood Paint Brushes
If painting engineered wood such as MDF, particle board, or plywood, use a sanding block to lightly sand the project surface. Sanding will slough off any upright fibers in the board and level out any bumps. Choose sandpaper in the grit range of 120 to 220 for already smooth surfaces like MDF, and start with a medium-grit sandpaper in the grit range of 60 to 100 for coarser engineered woods. Use a dry cloth to wipe away the sanding dust when finished. Run bootcamp in virtualbox.
If working with engineered wood, apply white primer to the entire project surface with a natural bristle brush or a paint roller. Some wood products like MDF tend to absorb water and swell, and they’re also prone to expanding or contracting with changes in temperature. For these types of wood, opt for an oil-based primer and coat both the top and underside of the project surface to help minimize warping. Dry the primer completely per the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you’re starting with bare or painted drywall, use a paint roller to apply a latex primer to the wall. Dry the primer completely per the manufacturer’s instructions.
With the project surface primed, you’re ready to apply a base coat of paint that looks like wood. Choose a low-luster latex paint that matches the undertones of the type of wood you want your project to mimic. For example, if you want the surface to bear resemblance to mahogany, opt for coral or dark red. For lighter woods like walnut or maple, select a shade of gold or orange.
Use a synthetic bristle brush or paint roller to cover the entire project surface in paint. When the paint dries, apply a second coat and then allow the coat to dry completely.
Now you’ll want to mix the glaze for your faux bois painting technique. In a paint mixing jar (view example on Amazon), combine equal parts clear acrylic glaze and a second latex paint pick. Opt for latex paint that is a similar to, but a few shades darker than, the base coat. Replace the cap on the jar and shake the contents to create a translucent tinted glaze. Later on, when you apply the glaze, you’ll want the base coat to still be visible through it.
Pour the glaze into a paint pan, and load a synthetic bristle brush (or a roller with a quarter-inch nap roller cover) with the glaze. Working in sections 6 inches in width at a time, apply a thin layer of the glaze that extends the entire height of the project surface.
Create the faux wood grain in the fresh glaze. Position a wood grain rocker—a hand tool that creates a wood grain texture on painted surfaces (view example on Amazon)—at a top edge of the project’s surface. Then slowly drag the rocker down vertically, rocking the curved head of the tool from the top to bottom through the wet glaze until you reach the opposite end of the project surface.
To change the direction of the faux wood grain, simply flip the rocker and drag it in the opposite direction. To create variety with larger arches and a fine straight grain, position a graining comb—a triangular tool with teeth that mimics a grain texture—along the edge of the section you completed and pull the comb either straight down through the glaze or at a slight angle. This technique should create a more random (and therefore more natural) appearance.
Tip: Practice your wood grain rocker technique in advance by applying a thin layer of glaze to scrap cardboard or drywall board and pulling the hand tool through it. When you’re satisfied with your faux wood grain, move on to the main project surface.
Use a paper towel to wipe the glaze from the rocker and comb. Then move to the next 6-inch swath of the project surface, and repeat Steps 6 and 7. If you make a mistake, simply re-glaze the offending area and re-apply the faux wood grain.
Continue this process until the faux wood grain covers the entire project surface.
Allow the glaze to dry completely. Lastly, replace any hardware on the project surface, and step back to admire your faux bois finish!
WHAT FINISH TO CHOOSE FOR WOOD?
WATER BASED OR OIL BASED ?
We will try to answer these questions from the professional point. We have worked in this industry for the last 20 years, so we have seen the paint quality changing and we have adapted by trying different paints in different situations. We have watched how the paints have lasted over the years a tried new paints as they developed. Now we want to share this to make your lives easier.
OIL BASED VS WATER BASED
Oil based paints used to be the most popular choice in the past, but have lost their popularity as back in 2010 paint manufactures had to lower the amount of solvent in the paint, which caused it to yellow and people took it seriously. Yellowing problems have been solved by 2012, but as water based paints have developed better and better quality, oil based paints have never returned to where they were used to be. Although oil based paints look better, as they smooth out more comparing to water based, also coverage is better but the difference now, is not that big. Advantages of water based paints are the ability to not discolour, there is hardly any smell when working, dries quicker. Most of them now being eco-friendly, probably makes sense to choose water based over oil based, unless the visual finish is more important than the smell and drying times. Although there are some glosses that are equally as good whether they are oil based or water based, so now it boils down to personal choice and of course your budget.
Gloss is 100% sheen and was created to last if used correctly. It’s more durable than other finishes and can be used indoors or outdoors if oil based finish is chosen. It is also suitable for wood and metal. It’s commonly used to paint high traffic areas, like doors, frames, skirting boards, windows and more. It’s popular at schools, communal hallways, GP surgeries, shops, etc. It used to be the most popular choice of paint back in a day as it would have outlasted other paint finishes and was easy to clean.
Things to know when using gloss.
Gloss finish can highlight imperfections in wood, so the surface you are trying to paint needs to be prepared thoroughly. You need to use primer and undercoat, or gloss will simply soak into bare wood. Drying times are a little longer comparing to eggshell especially when using oil based paint.
Satinwood is 50% sheen and is the most popular choice of paint finish for majority of interior woodwork. It is self-undercoating, so it means less different cans to buy, although we would still advise to use primer when painting the bare wood. It’s durable, so you can paint all interior wood, including doors, frames, skirting boards, window sills and even interior of wooden windows. Make sure to apply enough coats in order to achieve a good finish that would last. Water based satinwood intends to leave more visible brush lines compared to oil based satinwood, so needs extra effort when painting.
Wood Paint Brush Holder
20% sheen finish. Very popular choice between designers and architects as it is visually pleasant as well as great to touch. It gives smooth, almost matt finish and helps to minimize imperfections. When drying and while it is fresh, it might look like satinwood, but shininess goes away after about 2 or 3 weeks. It can be used in all styles of properties, but in high traffic areas might not last as well as gloss or satinwood. It gets dirty quicker, than other finishes, but can be cleaned easy enough. Eggshell is also self-undercoating, but again, we would advise to use the primer when applying to new wood. Some brands produce exterior eggshell as well as interior as long as it’s used with correct undercoat. Exterior eggshell durability won’t be equal to gloss though, there for we would advise to use more for interior projects. Water based eggshell will leave more visible brush marks comparing to oil based, although some brands can produce equally as good water based eggshell. Yet again, it boils down to personal choice when choosing between oil based or water based finish, but the higher the price the higher the paint quality will be.
Professional Paint Brushes
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