This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 6 months ago by Jeffrey Cook.

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     Andrew McMillan
      • Experience: 0-5 years
      • Scenic Status: Volunteer

      Hi All. I’m based in Australia and have just joined. I’m looking forward to exploring the site and networking with other passionate scenics world wide.

      I’m hoping to get some advice as I’d like to get better at woodgraining floors, doors, architraves and other wood finishes working with water based products. Unfortunately there is a real lack of professional learning opportunities here so most of what I know is from trial and error, YTube, FB and a couple of books I’ve managed to find. In my 20s I completed a four year painting degree, but there was no focus on scenic.

      I usually use acrylic house paint for base layers then water based scenic paint to layer and woodgrain. I think in the US you refer to acrylic paint as ‘latex’ paint? We just call it acrylic.

      Im curious to know the when/what/how for preparing and sealing your woodgraining surfaces. Some questions..
      – If working with thin plywood sheets, eg 3mm, do you seal it before laying down a base coat colour to woodgrain e.g a beige colour

      – Should I be sealing my base colour coat layer before applying scenic paint? Or just seal each woodgrain layer with some sort of water based sealer?

      – Is it standard practice in the USA to add a glaze medium to your paint? If so, how do you calculate how much to add? Or do you use the glaze as your sealer? Ive tended not to use a glaze as I’m not confident to know how much to add.

      Im also looking for paint recipes for standard woods like old pine, English Oak, Mahogany etc. If anyone has any good recipes please do share.










       Jeffrey Cook
        • Experience: 20+ years
        • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

        Member Member

        Hi Andrew~ A good range of questions here. I do miles of wood graining in my theatre paint shops around Washington and can send you some photos at some point. I just finished a very basic, average wood grained door and frame I can send you photos of.

        I think it is important to have a good base coat on anything you are faux graining. Try to grain in the direction of the actual wood, not across actual grain, it just never works as well. I prime and then have one or two base coats in some kind of off-tan hue acrylic type house paint. If the wood still seems porous I would seal with a clear acrylic. I am a huge believer of clear acrylic and stockpile plastic varnish, but there are other types out there. You can’t really goof it up, just practice and do samples. It would be better for scenic paint to be too transparent with clear acrylic medium that too thick, as the goal is to build up layers and allow the tones below to show through. Try one part color to three parts glaze and add a little water, then do a sample and let it dry to see how opaque it is. Watery paint just runs, glazes will hold their definition so when you comb through the glaze you get a grain pattern that does not drift and muddy. After my base coat I’ll do about three shades of graining from light to dark, with more action on the top layer, and then sometimes do additional overall toning to bring out the shape of the paneling or trim, etc, and that also helps clean up any corners that were hard to comb out. Sometimes I use a graining comb and sometimes I just use a natural fiber stiff brush depending on how much detail grain I want on the item. A top sealer helps give the final finish a consistent look.

        Creating different woods is a matter of studying the color and the grain pattern but the technique is mostly the same. Wood types takes research and some samples but there are books to give tricks for fine oak or birdseye maple, for instance.

        People often do refer to paint in US as latex but that is generally a misnomer. Most house and scenic paints now are a kind of acrylic.

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