How to Faux Bois a Table

If you want to produce the look of wood or a woodgrain with paint, then you’re ready to set out on the faux bois technique. French for “fake wood,” faux bois presents lots of options, particularly in terms of color. You may want to make a table using a yellow ocher base coat and a wealthy, burnt umber glaze on top. Or you may want to make a table in green or blue hues. Bear in mind that it’s not the color but the replication of the expression of wood that should direct your efforts. Just like all synthetic finishes, begin your project using a picture and keep it nearby as you work. Practice your technique on a scrap piece of wood before turning your table into a sure-fire focal point for any room in your house.

Put your table on a drop cloth or old bed sheet in your garage or a different well-ventilated area. Sand the table using low-grit sandpaper until it’s smooth and the whole surface is even.

Dust the table using a microfiber fabric. Wash the table using warm, sudsy water, but do not soak it. Wipe off any remaining soap, using a damp sponge. Let the table completely.

Apply two coats of a latex-base paint in your preferred color, covering the surface of the table, and then the legs. Keep a wet edge along the legs by moving around the table to prevent hard lines from forming.

Prepare the glaze by combining 4-parts water or glazing medium to 1-part satin paint. Pour the glaze into a paint tray or an old, clean plastic bowl.

Brush on the glaze in arbitrary up-and-down motions on the cover of the table. Draw on the rubber wax comb toward you through the glaze. Wipe the glaze from the paint comb after each stroke, using a rag. Repeat the procedure by putting the comb directly beside or slightly tilting the first pass. Keep the faux bois procedure on the cover of the table before proceeding to the legs. Make sure that the glaze remains wet as you work.

Soften and feather the edges of the glaze, with a softening brush. Create steady, mild strokes rather than forcing the brush into the glaze.

Wrap a rag around your finger and wipe throughout the glaze in arbitrary arcs. Comb through the glaze again, wiping the surplus on a different rag.

Blur any hard lines using the softening brush, if wanted. Repeat the faux bois procedure on the legs.

Let the table completely. Brush on two coats of varnish. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second.

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