Introduction

Faux Wood Grain, Fast and Easy
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Traditional faux graining demands painstaking craftsmanship. But if you don't care to master the 18th-century art of hand-painting delicate veins and knots, there's another way. All you need are two colors of latex paint, some acrylic glaze, and a wood-graining rocker, which can cut shapely heart grain into wet glaze. Add a paint comb, which lets you vary the pattern by creating some knot-free "planks," and a mini roller and paint tray.

Three hours later you'll have a striking pattern with visible texture, thanks to ridges left behind in the glaze. "It's great for painted pieces that could be made out of wood, like doors and hutches, but also on a wall," says interior designer Ingrid Leess, who transformed the built-in shown. To give the bookcase some not-so-serious character, she reversed the grain, making a pattern of glossy white atop satin brown. It's a quick process to master, and glaze dries slowly, so you can rework any wobbly planks. Still not sure you can drag a rocker in a straight line? Practice on a piece of posterboard first. Read on for the how-to.

Pictured: For tight areas, like the back of this bookcase, grain a piece of MDF cut to size.
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    Tools List

    • small plastic bucket
      Wide-mouth container and two disposable cups
    • paint pan
      Paint tray
    • paintroller
      9-inch roller frame with ½-inch nap roller cover
    • paint combs
      Paint comb
    • graining rocker
      Wood-graining rocker

    Shopping List

    1. -inch piece of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cut to size

    2. Latex primer to seal the MDF

    3. Latex paint in two colors—one for the base and one to tint the glaze4. Clear acrylic glaze to create a semitranslucent, luminous top coat with an extended working time