Faux bois painted wood grain:
The above image is taken from the book by Michel Nadai – Art and Techniques de la peinture decorative, which offers beautiful examples to follow AND the recipes are in both english and french, invaluable vocab for hiphutdeco here in Provence.
Faux bois painted wood grain
Very difficult to stop when you start a conversation (well monologue really) about a faux bois painted wood grain, there are so many techniques, dating from the 1700’s art of faux bois, where the French used gouche fixed with gomme lacquer all in one process, to traditional oil glazes using flogging brush, metal combs and badger brushes to soften in 3 stages. Or more recently the rubber rockers and combs using modern acrylic scumble glazes and varnish again in 3 stages.
It would be wise to start small and if you find you enjoy it and have a knack for the fluid forms, then build up to using oil glazes, expensive badger blender brushes and metal combs. The rubber rockers and combs are easy to come by in larger paint stores, they won’t break the bank and you can buy small quantities of strong colours in matchpot size rather than 2.5L tins for your basecoat.
Choose small surface areas to build up confidence and experiment with different woods and techniques, Boxes and side tables are good sized projects. Research the different grains such as oak, cherry, maple etc. and older faux bois examples found in books.
The yellow/tobacco colour (behind product information), indicates the basecoat colour used for alot of traditional woodgrains.
Products to start with.
Products will vary depending on where you live. Or order directly from the manufacturerer on-line.
Tools – Rockers and combs
Combs are used in the same way – dragging down the wet scumble glaze. Sometimes its good to use of combination of the two. Especially in difficult areas where the rocker can not fit in a decent run, ie: moulding is too thin or also across larger panels where too much use with the rocker will result in an unconvincing repetition.
Examples of faux bois painted wood grain
Faux Fireplace in Walnut Wood Grain makeover.
This is actually faux melamine! Imitating walnut. To achieve the glossy veneer a couple of coats of gloss varnish or marine varnish at the end will help.
Found this set of 50s/60s retro tall chest of drawers in a “Puce” (below) – that’s french for junk shop and loved the melamine walnut finish. Reminiscent of the restaurant bars and tables in Paris, where this material flourishes in many different finishes such as faux wood and marble. This era of furniture, fabrics, objects etc is increasingly popular.
These before and after makeover photos were for a column in a national home decoration magazine. The furniture looks great and a quick skirt around the internet proves that it was a small investment. OK, its mass produced, its not Chippendale, but the fantasy wood grain has a theatrical allure.
Once in situ it became obvious that the distinctive fireplace needed a facelift to match the chest of drawers and give the room a stronger identity.
Using the traditional painting technique of Faux Bois to blend with this modern material seemed appropriate in this setting.
Faux bois made over
Choose the paint colours you are going to use to copy the wood grain by holding a paint colour chart up against it. Tester pots of emulsion are ideal for this, as you don’t need much. Select a light brown to match the lightest colour on your item for the basecoat.
Choose 2 browns to mix with one third full plastic cups of the scumble glaze. Add stainers by the drop and mix thoroughly. Test the strength of the wood grain stainer colors in scumble on a board or the object (wipe off after and repaint white if neccessary). If one is quiet dark make the other lighter and add some white and black to alter the tones. We made one of ours slightly red here and the other slightly more green. Its up to you how precise you want to be. It has been known to spend days with a hairdryer tweeking colour tints, but this part of the process should be a pleasure not a chore for you.
Fill and sand the item for smooth surface, paint with white emulsion to begin with for an authentic colour match. Mask off any areas you don’t want to paint and the edges around the floor if need be.
To create the basecoat, mix together quantites of your basecoat colour and water until the mixture is fairly translucent – 50%, with a damp cloth wipe the base colour over the surface, building up the colour in layers. Using the 3 ways skinny brushes, add strokes of white emulsion here and there, then add a little water to blend the paint. Stand back from time to time to check the complete look – if its getting too dark, you may need to add a white wash or, if its too light, apply more sandy yellow base. soften with a bushy brush, here we’re using a badger but they’re expensive so we only recommend if you intend to practise faux bois and other techniques such as marbelling more.
Softening with a badger brush, use lightly over the surface to loose hard edges.
To creat the woodgrain effect, carefully examine the movement of the grain you are copying, pick one ot the key markings and practise on a piece of paper. Using a selection of skinny brushes, the fan brush, 3 ways brush or a 1.5 flat artist brush with a point of strong scumble on one side of the tip and some water on the other, create the grain.
Use a brushy brush to blend and soften the grain (whilst its still wet). Apply more base colour or white in swathes if needed to achieve the desired effect. With a little practise, a fan brush or 1.5 flat artist brush can be used to draw several lines at once.
To finish off, tidy up any rogue brushmarks. Apply 1-2 coats of gloss or marine varnish. As a furnishing touch polish with furniture wax to give an attractive sheen.
Another contemporary item using melamine veneer.
Ray Rex designs
Ray Rex Designs
Table by Rex Ray design, a walnut veneer similar to our chest of drawers. www.rexray.com
Above image by Rex Ray Designs for B+N Industries, nycculturestyle.blogspot.fr showing Innovative use of different veneers/melamine, Ray is known for popularizing the use of high-gloss resin panels – encasing his colorful, graphic collage designs in a gorgeous glossy layer of resin.
Modern melamine finishes have developed greatly since the 1930s, so that digital printing now allows designers to intergrate all manner of surfaces such as wall panels and furniture, with the same veneer such as wood for a more complete look.
Here are some of the future possibilities for your kitchen cabinets and furniture.
Digital visions allows designers to choose from a collection of digital images, or to have custom images created, for laminate applications. The concept was formally introduced to the design community at Euroshop 2011. www.surfaceandpanel.com