3 Ways to Paint Faux Wood Planks

by Patricia Rawlinson on September 06, 2022

3 of the easiest ways to create the look of fake DIY barn wood, reused pallet crafts and joined plank lumber wood signs are with acrylic paint.

These 3 techniques are listed below.

When you paint the look of faux wood planks, you have a lot of control over how worn and vintage the look will be. If you like the look of antiques but your home decor leans more towards modern or boho decorating style, you can back off at the exact right amount of distressing and planks that work for you.

I love the look of natural barn wood and pallet lumber but there are hard to overlook problems. One of them is mold and then the anti-aging chemical soaking to prevent decay that these surfaces contain.

You can paint the planks easily with very little paint in exactly the right colors. Add some stenciled lettering with perfect control and then distress to the desired level and poof done in minutes! Easy Peasy!

3 Easy Tricks / Techniques to paint faux wood planks

Start with the basics and then use the tricks below to make the plank lines:

Apply an acrylic paint or chalk paint basecoat in a darker color. Allow the paint to dry and streak on some additional lighter color paint. Add some distressing and antiquing as desired and layer as many times to create the look that works with your decor style.

Now we are ready to paint the planks. Patty uses the T-Square to measure the distance between my faux wood planks, the distance between will help indicate what kind of wood plank you are creating. Barnwood planks would be wider and palette wood planks would be narrower. Then there are the made-up planks that can be whatever your home decor style says or whatever you stencil needs it to be.

Use the Triple Threat Ghost Writer marking tool - the thin lead comes in dark grey and white and is easily removed with water, "spit" eraser or varnish.

#1. I love to paint planks using the StudioR12 Straight Line Banding Stencil.

Lay the Straight Line Banding Stencil where you wish the planks to be and tap on a dark paint color that works with your project. Move the stencil along as you go. I like to use the Dome Stencil brushes or an Ink Sweeper (dense foam applicator). The small size of this stencil allows you to create the look of planks without the stencil flopping. There are also 9 widths to choose from... Voila, perfect plank lines every time!

2. Use a T-square to paint faux planks on painted wood signs:

This technique works like a champ but is not for the faint of heart. Patty recommends practicing this technique on cardboard before attempting on your project.

Pro tip - never be afraid to start over on a painted project. Knowing you can regroup will help you make bolder attempts when crafting!

Lay the T-Square on your project where you want the planks to be and load a dry Poly Foam Brush with the darker plank color. Turn the brush so the skinny edge is against the T-Square and with gentle pressure draw the point of the Poly Foam Brush along the T-Square all the way down your wood surface. Even pressure is the part that needs to be practiced, but this little DIY craft technique will make you smile at how easy it is to achieve. :o)

#3: Using Tape to create painted lines, planks, and borders on your wood sign projects.

**Caution.... There are several pit falls with tape outlined below.

This is the technique many crafters and painters reach for automatically when needing to paint a straight line on a craft project.

When taping on a painted wood sign project it is imperative to make sure your project is completely dry, and not just dry to the touch but DRY DRY... use a blow dryer on high heat to force this, especially when you have many layers.


If your project isn't DRY DRY, the tape can lift the paint and that can be very difficult to patch.

Caution #2

Tape stretches and can make a not very straight and even line. Use the Ghost Writer making tool to keep the tape on the straight and narrow.

Caution #3

When you tape for banding Borders or faux planks etc... you are making a "Tape Stencil". If you do not get the tape secure all along the edge you will get bleeding under the edges.

Once you have the tape applied, run your thumbnail along the edges of the tape FIRMLY.

Use the Ink Sweeper or a Dome Stencil Brush to apply the paint.

Peel the tape up immediately after painting your faux plank grooves to eliminate the probability of lifting the basecoat.

Here's a video demonstrating each of these techniques! 

Watch our FULL PLAYLIST  on painting faux planks! 

Happy Painting!



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