I recently was talking to a contractor friend about some of my projects and he said: “Sounds like you have to be really good at matching colors?!” I thought about this when I got a call from another contractor about painting a door and trim with faux wood grain to match the surrounding trim!
The contractor had installed a new sliding glass door - which looked great – but unfortunately when they stained it, it turned out too dark. All of the trim in the house was a light, slightly orange/yellow wood tone- but the new door and trim turned a darkish brown. The challenge of course is that once wood is stained, you can’t re-stain it to make it any lighter!
Paint is really the only way to make dark wood light again… BUT, the client still wanted it to look like the surrounding wood trim. To solve this problem I painted the door in a 2-step process and created a faux wood grain that ended up looking like it had been stained the same color as all the other trim all along!
Before I started on-sight, I got a shelf from the house that was the color I needed to match. With this in hand, I worked in my studio to figure out how to mix colors to look just like this sample. The first color I needed to figure out was the lightest color you see when looking at the wood (in this case a yellowy tan)– which becomes the base color. This I was able to match by mixing just 2 colors. Then I needed to figure out colors for the wood grain, which is slightly darker and in this case more orange/brown. This I was able to mix with 3 colors. I then did a test board painting it first with the base color and then creating the wood grain with a glaze of the second color. I showed this test to the contractor, who was happy with the match – so I was on to the live project!
Once at the client’s home, I needed to prep and prime the door to cover the dark brown, and then I was on to painting everything with my mixed base color. At this point, all of the door trim was just a plain, flat yellowy tan color. With this complete, I was then on to the “magic” of the process – creating faux wood grain with the second color. I had just finished one side of the door when the client came home and was thrilled with the match!
After completing the other side of the door and letting everything dry, I finished all of the new wood finish off with a water-based polyurethane to protect my faux wood paint and to make sure the sheen of my work also matched all of the surrounding trim.
Usually, I work on things to make them stand out - but this project brought new meaning to the phrase ‘blending in with the woodwork’!!
Below are some before and after pictures showing this: