preventing and reparing rust to reduce costs

preventing and reparing rust to reduce costs

How To Apply A Faux Wood Grain Finish To A Vehicle's Exterior

Tommy Perkins

If you are thinking of adding a wood grain finish to an older vehicle, but don't believe it's a practical do-it-yourself job, you may want to reconsider. It isn't as hard as you may think to create a faux wood grain finish; all it takes is a little practice, a few inexpensive tools and patience. Below is what you need to do to create a "woody" station wagon look or any other custom wood grain finish you wish:

Materials needed

You won't need to pay a lot of money to create a faux wood grain finish, but you will need to buy the right materials to be successful. Here is a list:

  • Oil-based metal primer – choose white as the base color
  • Random orbital sander – this makes quick work of the sanding and also provides an evenly-sanded surface
  • 300-grit sander discs
  • 800-grit sander discs
  • Mineral spirits
  • Light orange oil-based metal paint – the exact shade of paint is a matter of personal choice, but you will want to choose one that is unobtrusive and that adds a warmth to your background. You don't need much paint, so purchase a small container if possible.
  • Light brown and dark brown water-based enamels – choose an enamel that is designed for exterior use; the shades of brown should be distinct from one another, but not too far apart.
  • Gloss glaze – purchase a glaze that is approved for use on primed metal
  • Paint comb – this is often sold as a 3-sided tool with varying widths between the teeth of the comb
  • Wood grain rocker tool – this tool creates faux knots by rocking it across a wet medium
  • Fine-grain sponge paint roller – a four-inch or two-inch roller size will work best
  • Polymer car wax
  • Paint roller tray
  • Small bucket
  • Tack cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic trash bag

Getting started

1. Protect the surrounding area – Using the masking tape and plastic trash bag, tape off the area around the are you wish to paint.

2. Sand the old finish – With the random orbital sander and a 300 grit disc, thoroughly and evenly sand the existing finish from the desired area. You do not need to remove all the paint; just be sure that all of the clear coat and "shininess" is sanded away so that you have a flat, matte surface remaining. After sanding, use a tack cloth to remove all the sanding dust and fine particles from the surface.

3. Mix your primer – Pour a measured amount of primer into a clean bucket; the exact amount measured will depend on how large the area to be painted is and how much you wish to do at one time. Next, add a small amount of the orange metal paint to the white primer and mix it together until evenly blended. Continue adding small amounts until the primer takes on a faint orange appearance.

4. Add mineral spirits – After mixing primer and adding paint to achieve its desired appearance, pour an exactly equal amount of mineral spirits into the bucket. This will thin the primer so that it dries without bubbling and makes it much easier to work. Stir the primer/mineral spirit mixture until it is well-blended, and pour the mixture into your roller paint tray.

5. Prime the surface – With your roller, apply thin, even layers of your primer mixture to the surface. Allow each layer to dry to the touch before applying a new layer. Be patient, as it may take several coats to provide even, full coverage. Once you are satisfied, allow the surface to dry for at least 24 hours before moving to the next step.

6. Prepare a light brown glaze – Mix the gloss glaze with a small amount of light brown enamel in a small container. As with the primer, don't add too much paint, so be careful as you pour. Stir until it is even throughout, and pour the gloss into a clean roller tray.

7. Apply the glaze – With a clean roller brush, apply a layer of glaze over the top of the dry primer. Don't make the layer too thick, and don't worry if there are spots that seem thin or uneven. That will help to create the desired effect and add depth to the finish.

8. Make wood grain – While the glaze is still wet, use the paint comb and wood rocker tool to apply lines and streaks to the glaze. Avoid making perfectly straight lines since curves and imperfections add to the illusion of genuine wood grain. If you make a mistake, wipe the surface clean with a shop cloth and start over. Allow the glaze to dry to the touch before proceeding.

9. Prepare a dark brown glaze – Go back to step number 6, and prepare the same gloss glaze mixture, but use the darker enamel this time.

10. Apply the dark brown glaze – Apply the dark brown glaze using a roller, but don't cover the entire area; instead, roll over small sections at a time.

11. Create wood grain – With your wood grain tools from earlier, continue working the dark brown glaze coat in small sections. Be careful not to cover up all of your prior work, so you won't lose the appearance of depth as you proceed.

12. Seal the surface – Once you have applied the wood grain glaze coats, you will need to seal the surface with a high-quality polymer car wax. Work the wax on carefully to be sure it won't smear the underlying glaze.

For more information, visit an auto body specialist's website, such as


2024© preventing and reparing rust to reduce costs
About Me
preventing and reparing rust to reduce costs

When you washed your car last, did you take the time to really inspect the body? Did you notice any rust forming anywhere on the body? Are you aware of the fact that allowing the rust unrepaired will eventually cause you a great deal of grief. On my site, you will find some tips on preventing rust, how to make small repairs yourself and advice on when to have the professionals take a look. I have learned through personal experience how costly rust can be if you do not take the time and invest the money in making the small repairs. Hopefully, the information I have provided you can help you avoid the same expenses.