The oxymoron: painting a faux wood finish


What an oxymoron this finish is, to paint something to look like wood? why would you do that? I hear you say...  this finish has been surprisingly popular over the years and here are some great reasons for a faux wood finish,

A) The current wood tone on your piece of furniture is too warm, honey toned or yellow and you are after something a little more earthy or neutral.
B) The surface is so tired and damaged that you would need to really sand it to get it to a reasonable starting point (not if you're doing a faux wood) the more battered the surface the better. 

C) You love that  pairing of the wooden top with the painted legs look, but your exisiting furniture is not wood, well a faux wood finish will make it look like it is and you can do this over pretty much any surface, from veneer, laminate, ply, lacquered surfaces with the amazing adhesion of Vintro Chalk Paint it will pretty much stick to anything.

D) You have a wooden piece of furniture in the wrong tone and in a flat shiny finish and you want it to have that rustic earthy wood look to it. ie) You have a dark varnished shiny mahogany piece of furniture and you want a more "driftwoody" looking top. This finish will add texture and allow you to choose the right tone for the style you are after

The Faux wood finish is something that we have undertaken on many commissions over the years, different combinations of paint colours and coloured waxes, small tweaks in your selection of colours will provide you with the perfect faux wood look to suit the colour and style of your home, from "drift woody" looks to that rich earthy rustic farmhouse wood top, the technique is all the same, you can adjust the texture and the colours, you have that freedom. Your choice of colours will determine which faux wood look you will end up with.

So today we are breaking this down a little further for you from different colour combinations, to info on wear and tear and up keep on this finish .

First here is a video we did a couple of years ago on the Faux wood, (sigh, yes we want to do an updated one but this one is still relevant) watch the techniques and then come back to the blog and  continue reading where we'll talk  different colour combos...

Now that you've watched the video take a look below on which combination of colours you will use to create the Faux wood look you are after.  

Lets start off with this goodie, this was a spray painted plywood door purchased from the hardware store  that we had attached to beautiful antique style legs (painted in Vintro of course) ... not solid wood at all, no texture, with a completely manufactured look. We then completed the Faux Wood look and look at the transformation below. 


  • 1 Litre Stonebreaker Chalk Paint 
  • 400ml Dark Wax 
  • 400ml Clear Wax
  • 125ml sample of  Crystal Chalk Paint
  • 3 inch Staalmeester Flat brush
  • Staalmeester 3600 Series Pure Bristle Brush 

Hand painted in Stonebreaker Chalk Paint as a base using a Staalmeester 3 inch flat brush to keep the brush strokes in proportion to the size of the table top. 
Detailed with coloured waxes using the Staalmeester wax brush in the order of:  Dark wax and then Stonebreaker wax, followed by a custom mixed coloured wax:  by mixing stonebreaker and crystal together  (equal portions 1:1), then followed with fine Steel wool (instead of sandpaper) to highlight and even off,  then a nice firm buff with a soft lint free rag to create a hardened waxed table top surface.

The Light "Drift-woody" Faux Wood
If your looking for something a little lighter, almost driftwood like 
then this one could be for you...


  • 1 Litre of Pebble 
  • Staalmeester 3600 Series Pure Bristle Brush 
  • 400ml Dark Wax
  • 400ml Clear Wax
  • 125ml of Pebble 
  • 125 ml of Stonebreaker 

Using the same techniques as the video above paint your base in Pebble Chalk Paint using a Staalmeester pure bristle brush pulling in a linear direction, once you have completed your texture on your base coat, sand the texture down a little further as you can see this one is not as textured as the others. Then apply your coloured waxes:  (listed in order) Dark wax, Stonebreaker, with a light dusting of pebble coloured wax as a finishing touch and highlight. You can keep playing until you are happy with the colour, use fine steel wool or sand paper for a little highlighting and to blend or to bring the texture out then buff with a clean lint free rag.. beautiful. 

Faux wood- Oaky look 

And then we have this one... if you love that soft "oaky" look then this is a great go to, an earthy and very restful faux wood look. 


Yep this was the before,  your typical Rimu piece of furniture, this was completed as a commission and our client still wanted a wood look but just not in this strong honey tone, there was also some serious sun damage see the darker spot in the centre. A solid wood piece of furniture that no longer worked with our clients new style and decor but a solid piece of furniture that she did not want to part with, a decorative paint finish provided the best of both worlds for our client  and with a home by the beach this faux wood look paired with soft blue greys was the perfect finish for her space : 


  • 1 Litre of Stonebreaker
  • Large 3 or 4 inch Staalmeester flat brush 
  • Staalmeester 3600 Series Pure Bristle Brush 
  • 400ml Dark Wax400ml Clear Wax
  • 125ml of Pebble 
  • 125 ml of Stonebreaker 

Paint your base coat using Stonebreaker, we used a 3 and a 4 inch brush on this table for larger brush strokes that were in proportion to the table however depending on the size of furniture and table top, adjust your brush size to work in with your piece, if you're not sure, get in touch with us or ask a retailer. Once the textured based coat was created we gave this piece a really good sand with 240 grit sand paper to get rid of any major texture. Then waxes in the following order: Dark wax, Pebble coloured wax (which will really lighten) finished with Stonebreaker coloured wax. Then a really nice buff with a clean lint free rag 

Farmhouse Rustic:

Well if you watched the video you will be a pro with this recipe already :-) These colours work not just for farmhouse rustic but will also works well with tropical,  botanical or plantation styled interiors as well as french country.

and this recipe is all laid out for you beautifully from when we had our project series together with the Video you have just watched  : 


So at the start of this blog we showed you a video on how well the finish wears and how durable it is. There are a few key things you will need to consider though before you create this finish. This finish is great for the "occasionally" used pieces of furniture like the hall table, side tables or desks.

On a dining table you may need to re-wax occasionally depending on how hard you use it and we say this because we are thinking of those of you who have young kids.  This is a waxed finish so it will repel any liquids making it nice and easy to clean. Being a waxed finish you can clean with a damp (just water) cloth but you will need to avoid alcohol based cleaners.  

However, when we originally came up with this finish, our kids were still really young and we were a bit over being pristine with our dining table, so we created this finish with them in mind,  lots of rustic texture and we just left them to go wild on it and in fact the more it was used,  we found the more beautiful it got in terms of character and age, it's a finish that ages well and is forgiving because of the rustic nature of it. Over time if you are using it really hard you may want to re-wax it using the last colour/ layer of wax that you did on your table, so it's always good to have some extra of this coloured wax in the cupboard. When re-waxing lightly apply and gently remove excess, then come back and buff it to a "new" like finish. As with any waxed finishes, you still want to use coasters, placemats and care for your table top surface like you would any varnished wood surface. 

Extra Tips: 
For the rustic texture, you must load up your paint onto your surface liberally & thickly brushing it out, leave to air (or paint with a hairdryer in one hand but move it around) & half dry,   and then disturb it as the paint is drying and pull it around to create even more texture. You will need to repeat this step  until you get a porridge like consistency or until your texture replicates wood grain. After you are happy with your texture leave to dry, it is important to lightly sand to remove any "loose" texture prior to sealing and decorating with wax. If you are layering and detailing with mulitple wax brush it is recommended that you do this with either a large Staalmeester wax brush (for bigger pieces) or the small Vintro Wax brush (smaller pieces) to allow you to spread and detail that coloured wax in one go. 

 So that about wraps it, wow this blog was suppose to be short but it's really grown into a big one, but hopefully it has all the information for you to decide on and  confidently start your faux wood project.

If you live close to a retailer pop in with your ingredient list to purchase all the things you need , they will also be able to answer any questions you may have, and may even have a version of this in store for you to view. If you don't live close to one, all materials, paints and brushes can be purchased online through this website  and you can of course contact us anytime either via phone, email or chat with any of your questions. Happy Faux Wood Painting!  


  • Artisan Team

    Thanks Shelley, yes feel free to send email us images to and we will take a look, if you have an example of the honey coloured wood look even better send that through too and we will help guide you on the colours

  • Shelley

    Just love this – thanks for sharing! What colour paints would you use to create a more honey coloured wood look? I have a dining table that is made from mango tree and I would like to do a similar faux tone on our beams. I can send a photo if that would help. Thanks!

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