Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Use a Wood Graining Tool

I love using this tool.  It just makes painting more fun.  There are a few different types out there, but this is the one I use.  It actually looks like this with a handle, but I found the handle … well … hard to handle. So I use mine without.
wood grainer
What you’ll need:

Wood Graining Tool

Base color
    Glaze mixed with color
      Brush for painting on glaze
        Dry brush
          Damp cloth and a dry cloth

            For demonstration purposes I’m going to use a melamine-coated particle board piece.
            2037-11-23 Wood Graining tool 2 002a
            First put your base color on.  (This is of course after you have prepped your piece, primed it and prepared it for its base coat.)  I used black,  because it seems to be the only color I have at the moment.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 004a
            I used some white glaze mixed from clear glazing liquid and white paint at a ratio of 4:1.  (This glaze actually has water added to it from a previous project which is why it appears thinner).
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 008a
            You can either wipe down your glaze with a cloth or run through it with a dry brush.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 009a
            On both edges of the wood graining tool there are teeth.  One edge has fine teeth and the other irregular larger teeth.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 035a
            Drag the teeth down all of the glazed surfaces. Usually I use the side with the finer teeth, but a mixture of both works really well.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 013a
            Here is why I like the tool without the handle… I can get my fingers in the holes and I’m able to have much more control of the tool.
            Start at the edge with the tool in this position.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 014a
            Start dragging the tool while rocking it at the same time. The more you rock the tool the more knots you will make, so make sure not to overdo it.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 015a
            Be careful not to slide sideways! (It’s hard taking pics with one hand and doing this with the other). If you make a mistake re-glaze and drag again.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 016a
            I’ve added a LOT of grain to this board just for this tutorial.  But I have to stress NOT to add too much to your piece.  Of course the wonderful thing about using glaze is how long it takes to dry.  If you think you’ve done too much, paint over some of it with your brush and drag your tool again.
            When you think you have it just right, let your glaze begin to dry slightly then drag a dry brush very lightly over some of the grain to soften the look.  You’re just going to want to pull the glaze a bit. When dry finish with the protective finish of your choice. 
            Again, this board has LOTS of grain for demonstration purposes. When actually using this tool, less is best.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 024a
            So your piece might start off something like this..
            2037-11-23 Wood Graining tool 2 002b
            ..and end up something like this.
            2037-11-24 Wood Graining Tool 1 015b
            The wood graining tool was used in these two Recaptured Charm projects.
            viridian green desk grained 049a
            Give it a try !
            Thanks for reading
            wood grainer

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            1. Great tutorial Lisa. You've really mastered the technique. Love your work.

            2. Thanks for the tutorial. When I've seen online tutorials they've never been this detailed and I end up wondering "does this really work?" I have some old barn boards that look exactly like the demo board in your blog!Good work!

            3. Lisa - you make that look so easy (one handed and all). I bet I would make a mess of it. I will have to give it a try though. Thanks - I will definitely have this post open as I try it.

            4. WOW! I am obsessed with wood grain and I never knew such a tool existed. Your finished projects look great!

            5. Thank you for the tutorial Lisa. Love the look and will have to try soon!

            6. Great tutorial. I've always wanted to try this technique....thanks for the tips.

              I'm going to pin this to Pinterest : )

            7. Great tutorial I want one of those! come link up tomorrow at scrappy saturdays!

            8. I absolutely love this painting technique! Thanks for sharing :) I need one of these tools for sure!! New follower here from
              I'm excited to see more from your blog!

            9. I have been keeping a tool like that for more than 15 years now and never knew what it is used for! Now i know, finally!! :D
              Thanks for posting this great tutorial!

            10. This is amazing. I love the green table and unbelievably natural. Thanks for the tutorial.

            11. I think i want to try this with my counter tops!! Thank you!! This will definatly help

            12. andrius NaraskeviciusJuly 15, 2013 at 8:34 AM

              I need that graining tool. Could you send it to Lithuania?

            13. I'm in love with the wood grain it looks so real! Thanx for sharing. Please follow my new blog, Anne's Attic - design it hard starting out. It seems like it takes forever to get a following, maybe some day I can have a blog that is as amazing as yours. Thanx Jo

            14. Wood graining is the faux painting technique in which a surface is made to look like real wood. Surfaces that are commonly wood grained are steel or fiberglass doors, kitchen cabinets, painted doors and trim and sometimes tabletops. Thanks for sharing your wonderful post.

            15. Question for the green desk did you use a green glaze or did you paint that color before or after. (sorry so many questions) I have wood tables and then cheap laminate furniture that I want to make match some how without spending toooooo much money. My email is

            16. Lisa - you make that look so easy (one handed and all). I bet I would make a mess of it. I will have to give it a try though. Thanks - I will definitely have this post open as I try it.

            17. I think i want to try this with my counter tops!! Thank you!! This will definatly help

            18. That is an interesting tools for painting. It is simple and very easy to use. But I think it only use for painting simple things, and the requirement of quality is not very high.

            19. Your finished projects look great! Thanks for the tutorial.

            20. wow , it is Great ideal. so smart!
              Thank you

            21. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

            22. Really detailed and informative post - thanks for sharing! I love what you did there and the finished product looked professionally made, too.

            23. Could you give some more details about where you got that wood grain tool and what type of glaze you used?

              1. I honestly can't remember where I got it, but I would suspect either Home Depot or Lowes. The glaze is a mixture of clear glazing liquid available at Home Depot and paint. Mix your own at a ratio of 4:1 - glazing liquid to whatever color paint you like.

            24. To be honest, i'm amazed that this tool seems to work that well. Being a passionate woodworker myself, i kind of loathe the trend to make wood grains dissapear completly. Nice to know there are people who appreciate the grain !

            25. You need to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites
              on the internet. I will recommend this web site!

            26. This my first time that i see this tool, i look easy to use, and perfect result.

            27. I every time spent my half an hour to read this weblog's posts
              everyday along with a mug of coffee.


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