How to choose the right wood graining tool for you 

How to choose the right wood graining tool for you

This innovative tool produces the realistic grains and patterns found in real wood. The Wood Graining Tool is a simple device that allows the user to rearrange the stain into patterns that resemble wood grain. This tool allows an average do-it-yourselfer to create professional results every time.

Wood Graining Tool
Image Source: Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan & DIY Paint Products – Interiors to Inspire

Where to Use

The Wood Graining Tool can be used on nearly any smooth, flat surface in which paint can adhere. Various surfaces including metal, plastic, painted objects, or Masonite can be wood grained. You can make almost any object look like wood, including metal file cabinets, kitchen cabinets, tables, bookcases, chests, vanities, wood or steel doors, paneling, dressers, desks, and more.

graining tool
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Wood Graining Set :

A Supplies list for wood graining :

Graining Base Paint

Wiping Stain

Oil-Based Polyurethane (Satin)

1 Wood Graining Tool

1 Foam Brush

1 Tack Rag

Wood Graining Made Easy booklet

Wood Graining Set
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Additional Items Needed:

1 ½” to 2” natural bristle paint brush

Medium grit sandpaper (120-150 grit)

Fine grit sandpaper (220-280 grit).

Masking tape (1”)

Paint thinner (or mineral spirits)

Wood Graining Techniques :


Prepare the Door

Apply a coat of primer and let it dry. Apply base coat and let that dry. Sand the door’s surface lightly and remove the dust with a damp rag between layers.

Prepare the Door


Mix Paint and Glaze

In separate containers, mix one part of each wood-toned color with one part water and one part glaze.


Tape the Natural Direction of the Woodgrain

It’s important to paint in the direction of the wood grain so tape-off the horizontal (including mitered) edges of the trim. Make sure to push the tape down really well so paint doesn’t bleed underneath.

wood graining
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Apply Lighter Paint

Wood graining is actually the strie technique with a new step added. Apply a small amount of the lighter brown mixture as you would for strie with long, straight horizontal strokes. Some areas will be a little darker and some lighter, which is fine and enhances the natural feel of wood. Let dry.


Apply Darker Paint

For the second coat, apply a light, streaky coat of the darker brown mixture, and while it’s still wet, drag and rock the wood-graining tool through it to create the knots and grain naturally found in wood. Use the edges of the tool to create different looks. If an area looks a little too dark, lightly sweep a dry brush over the paint. For areas the wood-graining tool won’t fit into, use the dry brush to create a strie effect. If you want more of a challenge, use the artist brushes to create additional wood effects.

Apply Lighter Paint

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Remove Tape and Let Dry

Once you’re done wood graining in one direction, pull off the tape and let the door dry.


Repeat Process Then Apply Wax or Varnish

Repeat the process for the unpainted vertical sections of the door and let dry. Apply a coat of wax or varnish — work quickly, again going with the grain of the wood. Don’t reapply the varnish in a wet area as that can gum up the surface. This layer will protect the finish and bring out the detail of the technique.

How to print faux wood :

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.

How to print faux wood


– 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

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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 grain

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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.

Image Source: Woodgrain Painting, Faux Finishes, Classes, Books, Images and Community


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.

This is undoubtedly an easy wood grain painting technique for the do-it-yourselfers who budget for laminate furniture but dream of wood grain look. 

Wood graining
Image Source: DIY Network

The first step in choosing which faux wood graining tools is right for you is determining what type of wood grain you want to replicate. Oak will require check combs, for example. Birch won’t.

You may choose to use one tool, such as the triangular comb; or you may decide to pair the wood grain rocker with the smoothness offered by the softening brush. Either way, the key to wood graining success is practicing with a few different tools on a piece of scrap wood. Faux wood graining makes for knock-out results, but it demands that you take your time.

Wood graining doors

Image Source: Old Masters

Depending on the wood you wish to copy, you may need all of these tools or just one or two. The amount of detail that goes into making your surface as realistic as possible is completely up to you. Being creative and choosing the colors and methods you think will look best is key to creating a wood graining faux finish you are proud of.

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