Painting Technique -Faux Woodgrain

There is nothing quite like the look, the charm and the character of natural timber. And I do believe with all my heart that the natural beauty of woodgrain cannot be replicated. The depth which woodgrain can achieve when used as a surface can enhance any artwork. And the results can be rather exquisite.

But, as a Decorative Artist there are instances when I need to imitate woodgrain onto a non timber surface. And that surface is usually MDF.

MDF is one of the most popular surfaces for decorative painting as there is no grain to contend with when cutting or sawing. It’s smooth and dense, has no knots, is easily machined and can be cut into various shapes and sizes.  MDF is easily routed, allowing intricate decorative designed edging; an important attribute to Decorative Art. Its smooth and compact trait also provides the perfect surface for fine detailed painting.


Faux Woodgrain – with Warm White and Raw Sienna


Faux Woodgrain- with  Buttermilk, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Bittersweet Chocolate

Here I’m sharing my technique for faux woodgrain

What you will need

Surface of your choice

Base coating brush

DecoArt Americana Drying Time Extender

Two or three colours of Acrylic paint that work well together

Such as-

DecoArt Americana Acrylics;

  • Warm White with Raw Sienna.
  • Raw Sienna and Bittersweet Chocolate
  • Buttermilk, Burnt Sienna and Bittersweet Chocolate

Use the brush to basecoat the surface using the dominant colour.

Paint a thin coat of Extender over the background.

Place separate puddles of your colours on your palette. (Do not mix them together)

Load the brush with the dominant colour then pick up a little of the secondary colour on one corner of the brush.(If you want to add a third colour- you can pick up a little of this as well on the opposite corner).

Choose the direction you want the grain lines; horizontal or vertical.

Apply long brush strokes in your chosen direction and keep them as straight as possible allowing a streaky woodgrain finish to form.

Do not over blend the colours.

Rinse the brush and re load it in the same manner after every few strokes. This prevents the colours from over blending into each other.

Avoid over brushing the same area so you don’t lose the effect.

Allow to dry thoroughly.


This post is part of the series “Experimenting with creative materials”


Happy painting,


2 thoughts on “Painting Technique -Faux Woodgrain

    • Thank you Amy! and you have opened my eyes on some new creative ways as well. It’s what we both do, encourage others by sharing our knowledge


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