Woodgraining is a faux finish technique which can add texture to walls, floors, tables, or any other surface. When this technique is performed well, it can be difficult to distinguish from an actual wood surface. Even when it is obvious that the surface is not an exact replica of a particular wood pattern, it can still lend a distinct aura to a room or environment.
Many wooden surfaces, especially pressed wood, are not as attractive as wood which was purposely left bare to show off the natural grain. Woodgraining on top of the wood surface can allow you to control the wood grain pattern and emulate the appearance of an expensive wood surface. It is common for woodgraining to be carried out on baseboards, doors, and wood paneling.
Either oil-based or water-based paint, or even a mixture of the two types of paint, can be used for graining techniques. Before performing this type of faux finish, decide whether you want to end up with the appearance of a specific type of wood or create a general wood effect. The technique can differ slightly depending upon the desired effect.
Although there are many special woodgraining paintbrushes, only a few are necessities for this technique. One type of graining paintbrush is a “flogger.” This brush is used to actually beat the surface and create the texture of woodgrain. A “mottler” is used for mottling effects and a “writer” or “pencil liner” to paint the ripples of the woodgrain. Finally, a “badger softener” is used to soften the lines that have been painted.
Oil-based woodgraining is the most versatile of all graining techniques, especially for large surfaces. This technique is performed with an eggshell base, and an oil-based glaze that is mixed with artists' oil paints. The colors should be chosen based upon what type of wood you want to emulate.
Once the eggshell base has been applied, a glaze can be made with various shades of brown such as raw umber or raw sienna. These colors should be diluted and added to the glaze. Start by painting in the wood knots, making sure they are basically oval shaped, and soften the knots using the badger softener. Next, draw in the grain, following the pattern of the knots like ripples in water.
After the surface is completely dry, apply a light glaze mixed with just a little bit of lampblack oil paint, diluted with paint thinner. Apply the glaze unevenly, leaving a grainy texture. To make the texture more uneven, use the badger softener in places, and an eraser in others. After this has dried completely, use a clear varnish to seal the surface.
Written by Bronwyn Harris
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