Faux Finish How To: Colors and Technique to Create a Faux Wood Door

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Faux Painting Wood Door

Changing a metal or wood door from plain builder white into rich wood grain faux painted doors is one of the easiest projects for new faux painters. It is also a great project if you would like to raise the value of your home. Who doesn’t love the rich look of wood instead of plain white doors?

Here is the call for help I got from a reader:

“I don’t know if this question has been asked before, but here goes. I want to know how to pick the colors to use to create a faux wood look on my interior doors.
For some reason, the builder used a medium oak color stain for all of the baseboards and trim, including trim around the doors. The doors, however, are painted white. They are 6 panel hollow core with a wood grain look already on the doors.
How do I know the colors to use, and what technique to use??
Thanks in advance”

I’ve said it before… I will say it again. A man was behind the decision to leave this door white. Who has wood base boards and wood trim and not wood toned doors? The homeowner was not given the proper choices with this home. Well… she can fix it, quick and easy!

How to Paint a Faux Wood Door:

Faux Wood Supplies

Step 1: Get Your Supplies

- Containers for water & glaze
- Faux Glaze
- Water
- Universal Tint in Burnt Umber
- Chip Brush
- Old Sponge
- Drop Cloth
- Painters Blue Tape
- 1 Quart Yellow Ocher Latex Satin or Semi-Gloss Paint

Step 2 – Prepare your work space

Tape off the door handles and hinges. Protect the floors and counters.

Faux Wood Door How ToStep 3 – Base Coat

Door Base Coated in Yellow Ocher. This base coat is one layer. It does not have to be an even coat. Make sure you don’t have any drips or runs.

Step 4 – Mix Glaze

Mix 1/2 Cup faux glaze and 1/8 Cup water. Then drizzle in about 1 tablespoon burnt umber. Try this on your door, if it is too light, add more color. The universal tint is very concentrated colorant.

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Dip the brush in and drag it across the areas of the door.

Step 5 – Apply Glaze

Start in the deep insets. Then the panels then the outside panels.

Wood Door Faux Painting

You can see that the wood graining isn’t really graining at all. It is just dragging the paint on and not wiping. Use the brush to catch all drips. All the grain is in the pressed door. This paint technique just highlights the grain and makes it look real.

The faux glaze is the sealer. No need to seal again. Don’t touch the door for 24 hours.

If the blue tape pulls off the glaze, use a tiny paint brush to touch up.

Faux Painted Mahogany Door:

You would use the same technique but the undercoat would be Burnt Sienna.

Faux Wood Grain Video Is Available Here: Faux Wood Finish Doors

Do you want learn faux wood grain painting techniques, but never actually thought you could pull off designer looking results?

Are you frustrated looking at designer magazines and books filled with pictures of gorgeous wood doors and pillars… knowing that all the woodwork in your home is white?

Do you thing painting your doors or pillars to look like realistic wood grain would be difficult to master? I feel your pain!

Painting Door Video – The basics of painting a paneled door are covered in this video. Watch it several times before you start painting any panel style door.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Maureen Mancha says

    Will the doors comeout this good with the wood grain showing if they are real wood and painted white, and this process is applied. My husband did paint our doors white and trim is stained and I don’t like it. I think they are sanded pretty smooth. If, not what step can I add to make it look like it has grain to it.

    Thanks, Maureen

  2. THAT Painter Lady says

    Hi Maureen,

    Paint the doors the yellow ochre, remember to do a sloppy job! No runs or drips, but the idea is to give it uneven coverage with the yellow.

    If your door doesn’t have a grain that you can see, or feel, you can not easily get the wood grain texture back. That would take this project out of the – easy to do – category. So don’t worry about it.

    The color of the stain around the door frame is a concern. Make sure when you mix up the faux mixture that you do a test board and let it dry to see if it matches the stained wood.

    You might have to add other colors to the mix to match up with the stained wood. Raw Umber and Burnt Umber mixed in together will give and entirely different stain color… add black or red and now you have other stains to work with.

    The background yellow ocher is a base coat for oak etc. If the wood that is stained is mahogany you might need a darker base coat.

  3. Donna Moskwa says

    No one mentioned useing the faux woodgraining tool. YOu rock it back and forth and it makes the grain and knots. Its great and easy.

  4. Elaine says

    I am about to try a faux finish on two pillars in a living room. I have a “gel” stain that I would like to use for the woodgrain look. First, can I do this and second, what would I need for the base color. I have three different shades of a tan color (light, medium and darker tan) that is latex satin paint. Can I use any of these for the base?

  5. THAT Painter Lady says

    If you want the pillars to have a “wood grained” look don’t use tan as the base color. (Unless you want it to look like bleached driftwood)

    Follow the color guidelines in the article above.

    Gel Stain would probably work for the wood graining, although it may “sit” on top of the paint. It is intended for wood. Oh… I didn’t ask if your pillars were wood or cement. That would make a difference.

    Satin finish latex is great for a base coat.

  6. Lela says

    I used a bark color satin finish latex on a fireplace mantle. After letting it dry for two days I applied a Colonial Oak gel stain and used a wood graining tool to make the grain and knots as mentioned in another post. After getting the graining done to my satisfaction, I let this dry for twenty-four hours. Next I applied the same color gel stain over it, using just enough stain to fill, yet let the graining show through. The last two coats were a satin polyurathane. The workers in the house kept watching the progress and kept wondering what I was doing but last weekend one of them said the most remarkable transformation in the rehabilitation of the house was the mantle.
    I would suggest you get some poster boards or sample boards and try out different colors and combinations until you arrive at what you are happy with.
    By the way, this was my first attempt at trying faux painting. I only have four more mantles to go!

  7. Catheryn says

    I had white interior doors which I painted a dark brown similar to mahogany. I love the depth of color but I don’t like that it a solid color with no wood grain effect.
    At this stage how can I get that wood grain look? Do I have to restart the process with a new base coat color? Or can I had a darker glaze and get the look I’m after?

  8. THAT Painter Lady says

    Hmmm… without seeing the color you used it would be hard to give advice.

    That said…. you could do the same wood graining technique with a very dark brown or black faux glaze and get a beautiful dark, rich wood graining effect.

    Try it on one door… if you hate it… it’s only paint, not the end of the world.

    I am all for trial and error until you get the look you really want.

    THAT Painter Lady

  9. kearney says

    I too have white builder grade 6 panel solid core doors with the wood grain “imprinted” and want to faux finish them mahogany.

    My question is should I spackle or gesso the doors so that they are smooth? Aren’t true mahogany doors smooth? And the “imprinted” wood grain – is it a mahogany grain or oak (assuming standard doors)? If I did make the doors smooth and then add the wood grain, I know it really adds to the project, but I want it to look as realistic as possible – any suggestions? And what type of top coat should I use to make the doors shiny? Any help would be appreciated!


  10. THAT Painter Lady says

    Hi Kearney,
    Your will not be happy with spackle on your doors. It will chip and may even peal off. I don’t think the imprinted wood graining will take away from the look of your mahogany door.

    It will be the shiny coating you add that will make all the difference. It may or may not accent the wood imprinted graining, but I think it will be very attractive. The top coat should be Polycrylic or something similar in a high gloss.

    Good Luck!

  11. kearney says

    Me again! For the mahogany doors, you mention that the base coat should be burnt sienna….I am such a novice. I went to Home Depot to get the paint, but they do not have a Behr paint by that name. Do you have a paint name or the formula? Thank you – Kearney

  12. Gayle says

    I have the white hallow wood paned doors and wood like to try your technique to make them look like old antique oak, what are your colors for this look and where do you buy the universal tints

  13. Gayle says

    I have some faux wood shutters on the exterior of my home I have painted them with an exterior latex paint, but I also want to make them, look antique with a glaze. My question is since it will be on the exterior of my home after I do the glaze will I need to use a protective sealer? And if so, what kind should I use?


  14. Joshua says

    i have this fake white colored wood (pressed paper board i think) ceiling panel in my new house. it already has groves and even grain like bumps on it. we have oak floors in the room so i was thinking about trying to stay with the wooden theme. do you think i could paint it with the stuff your mentioning here and it would look like real wood? any specific suggestions? Thanks

  15. THAT Painter Lady says


    Universal Tints are available at all Paint and Hardware stores that sell paint. Not a Walmart type store.

    For Antique Oak Faux wood doors I have looked at some of my old antique oak furniture and The same undercoat or base coat color of Yellow Ochre is what I would suggest. Old oak is very yellow underneath all the grain.

    The faux wood graining liquid may need to be applied more than once to get that very dark graining that you desire, but Raw Umber is still the color.

    Yellow Ochre and Raw Umber as well as Burnt Sienna are basic artist colors. And are available in Universal Tints as well as artist acrylic and oil paints.


    You won’t find a paint color that is Burnt Sienna. Here is my advise. Go to any craft store that sells the little bottles of acrylic paint. Look for one that is Burnt Sienna. The cost under a $1.

    Brush some of this color on a piece of paper… several layers until it is a good solid coat. Then take that swatch to Home Depot and have them color match it.

    I don’t give out color names from stores, because they change their names every 3 months or so… and every one gets confuse. So I try to stick with basic artist colors that anyone can find.

    Hope this is helpful!


  16. Jennifer says

    I have wood beams in my house that were painted a dark green color. I would like them to have a wood finish like your door. Would this be a problem to do with them being painted such a dark color? How would you suggest to go about doing this? I also have window trim and baseboards that are painted the same color. What color would you suggest to paint them?



  17. THAT Painter Lady says

    Jennifer… Yuck Green Painted Beams! To get them to look like wood follow the instructions for the door. The base coat color is a rich deep yellow like mustard. Don’t use a yellow that is tooo bright or toooo pale.

    If your trying to create a Cherry or Mahogany finish this will require a deeper base coat. Something in the reds.

    The wood beams on your ceiling should be easy to paint after your base coat. The wood graining is already there.

    Good Luck
    THAT Painter Lady

  18. anna says

    no one has mentioned, is the basecoat a glase? paint/ if paint should it be satin, semi-gloss,high gloss,flat?

    Was just wondering.I do faux anque qood painting but have never used a glaze to do it.I start with a sain or flat base spray paint or brush it on then use an old semi dried up paint brush to streak in the finish color, sometimes may use 3 colors for a multi look them i cap it with a few coats of clear protectant.But, i am going to faux cherry my kitchen cabinets and wanted them to look as real as possible and be as durable as possible so i found this sight.I’am trying to get a grasp of the complete technique.
    Thank you

  19. Julie Bermudez says

    I need help please. I want to faux wood my exterior front door and garage door with the wood look. I realize that the technique should be the same, however I am unsure how the products needed may differ. What all would I need to purchase to achieve this goal?

  20. THAT Painter Lady says


    Products would be the same! But everything will have to be protected with a good clear sealer. (we use Minwax brand) The sealer will have to be applied at least once per year.

    Good luck and have fun!!

    debra :)

  21. Donna says

    Hi Debra :)
    The wood trim & baseboards in this old house are chestnut & I’m trying to give a cabinet we hung in the livingroom to have a built-in look. Yesterday (before I found your site!) I did what you said NOT to do, and used a tan basecoat. Today, after graining, I see that you are totally right — a tan basecoat does not give the project that warm oak/chestnut look.
    I’m wondering if you could suggest paint colors for a faux chestnut finish? Would they be the same as oak, or would Yellow Ochre be too yellow? Funny how hindsight is 20-20….and I’m seeing the golden tones in our wood trim now. What made me think tan would work?? Lol! ….Please help! :)

  22. Tammie says

    Hello Debra,
    I’ve run into a bit of a problem with my faux wood project! I used a gel stain to faux my kitchen cabinets in a darker finish and they did not turn out good. They were a light pine color to begin with and I wanted them to be more like cherry, so I used miniwax gel stain in red elm. The cabinet doors came out very, very streaky and you can see all of my brush strokes. I tried applying another coat of the stain and it looked just as bad, only darker. Is there anything I can do to correct this without just painting over them? Please Help!

  23. Nikki S. says

    Hello. I am preparing to try the faux wood finish on my metal door and have a question. This question may have already been asked, but does the glaze finish make the door look really “shiney?” The wood trim in my house, as well as all my furniture is in the satin finish and I don’t want the door to stick out like a sore thumb so to speak. If it does, are there any alterantives to the finishing?


  24. Cyndi S says

    Hi Painter Lady — Absolutely great site. I have a low budget and a TON of cabinets in the kitchen…. over 20. They are all original and still in very good condition. The problem is they are a smooth formica over MDF. I don’t want to replace all the cabinets and drawers as that would cost me well over $10K! I’d like to get a cherry wood tone effect on them and I’m struggling to find the right mixture. Any ideas/hints you could provide would be greatly appreciated!!

  25. John Uribe says

    That really did turn out well. We bought some unfinished faux beams a couple of years ago and stained them ourselves and I wish we would have used your technique. Maybe we can start over and really make those ceiling beams pop! Thanks for the info!!


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