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Burl Woodgraining – A How To

Wood burls are rounded growths on trees that when cut produce random woodgrain patterns. This woodgrain pattern is prized for its uniqueness and beauty.  Typically, woodgrain finishes are completed in a 3-layer process; 1- background, 2- graining, 3- overglazing. In this in-shop how-to, Pierre Finkelstein of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting shows you how he created this finish using a Sample Board.

See also: Real and Woodgrain Burls, What is Burl Wood?

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

PREPARE THE SURFACE

STEP 1 – PREPARE THE SURFACE: Use proper preparation methods to prepare your surface for Step 2.

2

BACKGROUND LAYER - APPLY GAZE

STEP 2 – BACKGROUND LAYER – APPLY GLAZE: For this small sample, Glazing Medium was mixed with the same amount of acrylic Matte MediumWith a Domed Glazing Brush, a mixture of van dyke brown, burnt umber, and transparent iron oxide was glazed on the surface. Apply the glaze a little on the heavy side, and then stretch the glaze for even application.

With that same brush, stipple the fresh glaze to create an even but heavy texture.

3

BACKGROUND TEXTURE - APPLY BURL CLUSTER

STEP 3 – BACKGROUND TEXTURE – APPLY CLUSTER: From a palette, add van dyke brown and black to the mother glaze. Use a smaller Pointed Glazing Brush to add large, randomly placed dots. These dark spots give the illusion of clusters of burl.

Next up, wipe-off the glaze with a sponge to create a flame-like effect with the clusters.   Do this by taking a very soft Sea Sponge and ripping the edges to create fringes (like fingers on a hand).  Ring out the sponge (always start with a rung-out sponge).  Move the hand with a combination of a drag, roll, skip, and flip to create a flame-like effect.

Working around the dark clusters but also leaving random areas untouched.  It’s important to keep the flow and direction in mind to create this negative technique. 

Soften with a Softening Brush in the direction of the flames, avoiding the dark clusters. Allow the surface to get tacky, but not dry out. 

4

GRAINING LAYER - NEGATIVE VEINING

STEP 4 – GRAINING LAYER – NEGATIVE VEINING: On your tacky glaze, use a soft hair Veiner Brush that is slightly wet with water, and add veins to the clusters.  This creates a negative technique.

Lightly soften with Softening Brush to achieve this look.

5

GRAINING LAYER - CREATE NETWORK GRAINS

STEP 5 – GRAINING LAYER – CREATE NETWORK GRAINS:  To create a series of veins a networking technique was used with a Tooth Veinette. Using a watered-down mother glaze with a mix of burnt umber and transparent iron oxide. Load the Tooth Veinette with the mixture by working it into the bristles on a palette.

Load the tooth veinette with the mixture, run it through a Metal Comb and use a light hand to create this effect. The grains must be perpendicular to the clusters and should never overlap.

Using a fine pointed Detailing Brush, add tiny dots within the clusters. Don’t go overboard. Let dry.

6

OVERGLAZING LAYER - APPLY GLAZE

STEP 6 – OVERGLAZING LAYER – APPLY GLAZE: Mix a glaze with burnt umber and transparent iron oxide, to create a bright, transparent glaze.  

Glaze using Domed Glazing Brush and stretch the glaze with a Spalter Brush to even out the glaze.

7

OVERGLAZING LAYER - ADD MOIRES

STEP 7 – OVERGLAZING LAYER – ADD MOIRES: Using a Spalter Brush (size 80, 100), to create moires perpendicular to the marks of the Tooth Veinette and soften lightly.

Use a flat brush like a Skunk Brush, to create additional moires in a zig-zag formation and lightly soften.

8

ADD ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS

STEP 8 – ADD ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS: Add a trompe l’oeil effect to create the illusion of a baseboard.

9

PROTECT AND FINISH

STEP 9 – PROTECT AND FINSIH: Apply Varnish in the desired sheen to protect the finish

COMPLETED FINISH

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