This topic has 8 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 8 months ago by Brian Goodman.

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    As usual my paint shop has been asked to do a massive amount of quality wood grain in a very short amount of time and I wanted to hear about some of the fastest ways to create upscale wood grains. We are hoping to keep it to 4 or fewer steps and of course are working on materials ranging from maso to plywood to pine 2x4s. I have attached the research images for the specific wood given to us by the scenic designer. Any tips and tricks are greatly appreciated. Thanks!


    Using a paint extender to keep the paint open, you can cover a lot of ground with a terry cloth towel. Work out the general light dark design with a brush then use the towel, made into a pad, avoiding the selvedge edges, very lightly brushing/dragging over the surface to create the grained look.

    I hope that makes sense.

     Rachael Claxton
      • Experience: 5-10 years
      • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

      I second the terrycloth rag suggestion! That’s my favorite go to way for creating quick interior wood grain. I’ll stumble the base coat, then use the rag for the grain step. You can either roll or brush your grain color on (making sure that it’s got a decent amount of sealer in it so it will come off nicely), then drag the folded up rag through it. Then just throw a tinted sealer on top to tie it all together and you’re done! I love love love terrycloth rag graining. 😀


      Thanks for the suggestions! This is definitely something I will remember for future wood grain. There ended up being large areas of wood and needed to be able to really control the grain detail so it looks like we are using the cut chip brush grain method. A wet blend for a base then two grain colors laid in with a cut chip brush then a glaze to finish.

      The rag grain method seems great for trim. Has anyone used it on wainscoting or paneled doors? Can you use it alongside other grain tools like rockers?

       Rachael Claxton
        • Experience: 5-10 years
        • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

        I’ve used it in conjunction with cut brushes and grainers – it works great! You have to be pretty precise about how you work the two methods together, but it can look really cool. It’s real nice on trim and wainscoting as well.

         Lili Lennox
          • Experience: 15-20 years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Freelance

          Partner Member

          Does anyone else like adding a good “spatter and drag” on their woodgrain?

          (FINE spattering with a slightly darker version of your grain color, then pulling through it directionally with a dry brush)

          I think it adds some nice irregularities… only wish I had a picture on my phone to share!

          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


            Love that method! Perfect for wood that needs to look a bit rougher.


            In addition to the terrycloth towel mentioned above, what are your favorite wood graining tools (rockers etc)? Do you have ones that you like to buy? Do you custom-build them yourself? Our shop inventory is pretty darn thin in the paint department and I’m looking to expand our tool set. Thanks in advance!


            I use old hotel towels we get at Goodwill. Big and still enough texture to work with. One of my favorite floor grainers is a rubber window squeegee which I cut big teeth in, and rubber band strips if towel around. Put a handle in it. Roll on grain color over a base and pull or push the squeegee along removing the grain color and manipulating the lines by twisting and halting your movement. With a bit of practice you can even end and start boards with out masking. If you are working on plywood/masonite panels, just snap a pair of lines for reference and use the roller, cut to your floor board width and squish on the grain color. Pick up the squegee and wipe off what needs to be removed. Seal with a toning glaze.

            For smaller grain work I like the smaller squeegees cut with teeth, just like the graining combs available, but with bigger grips for old arthritic hands. I also cut up the lids from cottage cheese and yogurt to make special combs.

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