Take a close look at the photographs below. This is one of the most recent rooms that our craftsmen at H.J. Holtz and Son just painted. We are sure you are saying to yourself, “What did they paint? It’s a wood paneled room.”

Faux Bois Wood Paneling

Wood paneled room 2

This is an instance where looks can be deceiving. Believe it or not, that is not real wood on the walls.  It’s drywall painted to look like wood created by a technique called Faux Bois.  It dates as far back as the Renaissance period and is essentially the imitation of wood created on or with other materials. In order to create an antique feel in their home library, we implemented this technique.

Faux Bois in progress

Why not purchase wood and have it installed?  Wood can be expensive and it can take a long time to receive; therefore, it can be more cost effective to have room painted.  How do we create this look?  It all starts with a sample.  We work with the homeowner and create a sample piece of wood to make sure we understand and can execute their vision.  Once approved, we can work our magic!

Faux bois paneling in progress

Faux bois scaffolding photo

The first thing we do is find the lightest tone in the wood, which is usually a yellow, tan, or off white.  We tint the primer with this color and apply it by spraying or hand painting.  We then spray the basecoat in the same light colored tone.  This is the first in many layers we apply. 

We use a flogger, which is a special brush, to create the tiny lines in the wood in a slightly darker tone.  When looking a a piece of wood, these would be the last grains you would notice.  However we add them first, becoming the next layer in the process.

Faux Bois wood grainAdding the lines of the grain are next.  This is extremely subtle and we use a thinner to dilute the stain.  We use stains because they do not have as much pigment as paint.  By diluting the stain it changes the color slightly and lets the other colors bleed through.  We used Old Masters Wiping Stains and Gel stains.  The stains are oil based so the wall needs to dry for 24 hours before the next layer can be added.

Notice the blue tape around the edges.  We are creating panels by giving the illusion of a beveled edge. We use a darker stain on the bottom and a lighter stain on the top to highlight the wood.  The wood direction changes in these areas to look realistic.

Faux bois wood grain detail

The most distinct lines of the grain are the last layer.  These are the most dominate grains on the wood which include knots and cracks.  The third and final brown tone is used in this step. Then we seal and protect our work with a clear coat.  In this room we used Old Masters Water Based Clear Finish in a satin sheen.  Once finished, the room is transformed into a gorgeous, Faux Bois library.  If you are looking to have this technique applied to your home, give us a call for a free estimate!