This page is a work in progress and I’ll add more items as I have time and come across them. Please bookmark this page for future reference.
If you have suggestions or requests for resources, please send me a message via my contact form and I’ll try to help.
Caution! Latex glaze (McClosky, Valspar, Benjamin Moore, Martha Stewart, Ralph Lauren, Behr or ANY latex glaze) found in hardware and home stores is not formulated for graining.
To create faux wood grain, we need pure acrylic glaze with long “open time” (time before it starts to set up). It’s necessary to use a high-quality, acrylic (NOT latex) glaze.
The product I use and recommend is Golden Pro Finishes Sheer Glazing Medium (formerly known as Proceed Low Viscosity Painting & Glazing Medium).
My students agree that it’s the best glaze for graining and other detailed faux finishing work.
Unfortunately, The Golden paints company isn’t very internet savvy, and refuses to make the product available on Amazon, so you’ll have to order it from a paint shop.
Here are some shops that stock their Sheer Glazing Medium
And here’s the link to the Golden Proceed site showing other retailers.
Faux Effects AQUAGLAZE is another product that can work. They also have an extender that can help with open time.
Universal Tint Colorants or UTC’s
Many wood grain methods have you buying over-priced, pre-tinted glazes or wood stains.
In the Perfect Wood Grain Courses you’ll learn to have total control over color and intensity of your glazes using UTC colorants to tint glazes.
Not only is this cost effective, it gives you total freedom and flexibility in creating the necessary colors for painting faux wood and many other faux finishes.
I talked in a blog post about the specific colors needed for graining.
IMPORTANT: I no longer recommend Golden Proceed Pigment Dispersions as they’ve changed their formula to include acrylic which shortens drying time of glazes, the last thing we need…
Amazon has Cal-Tint UTC’s. I’ve used these and recommend them.
Avoid Polyvine and Tints-All colorants as they tend to be poor color quality and of the wrong consistency.
Blending and softening brushes: Perhaps the most crucial brush for wood graining and many faux finishes.
If you’re doing large areas of wood graining, get the four inch brush. For smaller areas the two inch will do.
I have both sizes in my studio. I like the Royal and Langnickel Badger Blending brushes because they’re durable and inexpensive.
Flogging Brush: Crucial for creating fine, secondary grain in Walnut, Maple and other woods. Again, if you plan on doing large projects like doors, trim, flooring… get the bigger brush. I have one of each size.
Spalters: You’ll use these for spreading glaze on very smooth and painting some grain types.
The link below is for the da Vinci 5040 series Motlers (aka spalters), my favorite brand for their fine, durable bristles. I use the 30mm in the support videos for my courses.
I also have the 40mm and 50mm sizes of this brush and use them regularly.
If you get a different brand, I suggest a very fine synthetic over natural bristle for smooth applications of glazes.
Chip Brushes: These inexpensive brushes are a must have for general purpose painting and can even be used for applying some grain types. I suggest that you have a range from one inch to 3 inch.
Natural Bristle Artist Brushes: I rely on inexpensive natural bristle brushes for mixing glazes and experimenting with various textures and graining ideas. As you can see via the link below, there are many bargain options for large sets of brushes.
Artist Liners: Get #0, #1 and #2 sizes for creating fine grain lines, knots and other details.
Larger, higher quality bristle brushes: It’s important to have good quality brushes (better than chip brushes) for priming, base coating, finish coating and other volume work.
Two brush brands I like are Purdy and Wooster, but any good quality house painting brush will do. I keep 3 inch and 4 inch house painting brushes in my studio.
Rubber Graining Tool: In the Perfect Wood Grain courses, you’ll learn how to cut rubber for graining.
The best material for this tool is medium hard rubber. I buy the Kemper Rubber Finishing Tool, used for pottery, and cut it to my specifications. This works really well because it has a tapered edge that makes for very clean glaze removal.
I’ve also used rubber spatulas, but be careful to not get a silicone spatula because it will be too soft.
Another option is the rubber used in shoe repair that’s typically red in color and gets sandwiched between layers of the sole. Any cobbler should be willing to sell you a small piece.
Brush Comb: Your graining fan or chip brush can be shapped to make more distinct grain lineswith a brush comb. It’s also helpful for cleaning brushes.
Small piece of medium or course burlap: Fabric stores typically carry several weights of burlap. You want medium or heavy. Your grocer (potato sack) or coffee shop (coffee bean sack) may have some for free.
2″ X 2″ 1/8th” pieces of cork or rubber: Hardware store. Also a wine cork can be cut down for this purpose.
Foam rollers: Unless you’re going to spray on your base coats. The foam rollers can get the base coats very smooth when applied in multiple, thin coats. I use the Shur-Line 03715C 4-Inch foam covers.
Small synthetic sponges
will be used to both create and adjust grain.
Old tooth brush for spattering fine pores.
Small paint cups for mixing glazes.
Paint pallets. Glossy paper plates also work.
Lint-free rags: Well washed cotton t-shirts work well.
Pencils: Hard (H-4, H-5, H-6) and soft (B)
Graining Combs: It’s nice to have fine through wide, but medium steel combs are all you reallyneed. Rubber graining combs can come in handy but consider them an extra, not a replacement for steel as the steel combs produce a much finer effect.
Spray bottle for misting wet glaze to extend open time.
5 in 1 painters tool for opening and closing paint cans, cleaning rollers, scraping and other things. One of my favorite and most used tools, I own three of them.
Cutters: Exacto, Scissors, Utility knife.
Paint cup/palette humidifier: Use a wide, flat plastic storage box 12” X 12” or so with a hinged lid. Fold some paper towels to fit in the bottom and keep them damp. You’ll be amazed how long this will keep paints fresh. Alternatives: Large ziplock or paint cups with lids.
I use basic masking tape and blue tape to mask projects and practice/sample panels. Auto body painters tape is great for detail masking on all projects
- Swedish Putty from Fine Paints of Europe. I haven’t used this personally, but some pro painter friends of mine swear by it for the highest quality filling.
- Water based wood filler
- Epoxy type filler
Base Coat Paint
I use the Benjamin Moore color code system as a guide for faux wood paint base coats in my graining courses.
For doors, cabinets and other interior or art projects, I like Kilz acrylic latex primer.
For woodgraining cars, use a self-etching or two-stage primer.
Web hosting for artists and craftspeople
If you’re a pro, you need a website. I’ve been building websites for my businesses since 1998 and I’ve never found a better hosting company than Siteground.
Over the years I’ve tried about 8 different hosting companies and none of them have had support on par with Siteground.
These guys continue to blow me away with their willingness to answer every manner of question from total noob silliness to advanced alpha geek stuff.
October, 2018: This Wood Grain Faux Finishes Resources page is a work in progress and I’ll be fleshing it out over time. Below are some upcoming categories I’ll be adding info and products to soon.
If you have suggestions or requests for resources, please send me an email to contact at perfect wood grain dot com and I’ll try to post them here. Also, let me know if you need some clarification about any items on this list.