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Faux Bois Tray

Faux bois means "false wood" in French; it is a simple technique that you can use to decorate wrapping paper, dressers, and walls elegantly. Here, it turns a plain wooden serving tray into one that is beautiful and special -- and perfect for a gift.


  • Mineral spirits
  • 2 shades of paint (one coat for "wood grain" and the other for the background color)
  • Paint brush
  • Wood-grain tool
  • Rag
  • Wood tray
  • Glass (same size as bottom of tray; Martha used a 3/16-inch-thick glass plate)


  1. Step 1

    Thin the oil-based paint for the wood grain so that it is 1 part mineral spirits to 2 parts paint.

  2. Step 2

    Brush a thin coat onto glass until it is completely covered.

  3. Step 3

    Drag the wood-grain tool down the glass from one end to the other in a rocking motion. Repeat process over entire surface, wiping the tool clean with a rag dampened with mineral spirits between strokes.

  4. Step 4

    Let the paint dry overnight.

  5. Step 5

    Paint over the faux-bois pattern with a contrasting color. Let the paint dry overnight; then apply a second coat, and let dry.

  6. Step 6

    Set glass into the tray.

The Martha Stewart Show, May May Spring 2006 2006

Reviews (8)

  • judymak 31 Jul, 2012

    The craft of making trays, the link to aquire the blank trays is no longer correct. I would like to do this project but need the tray to start. I saw this again on MS today and think it is a great craft for Christmas gifts. I would like to get started, but need the blank trays.
    Thank you

  • janmcdub 3 Jul, 2011

    where does one buy the wooden tray?

  • ManicCat 2 Apr, 2009

    I love Faux Bois.

  • ManicCat 2 Apr, 2009

    I love Faux Bois.

  • tauntacity 8 Mar, 2008

    CraftTestDummies: it sounds like you're painting on the glass which is inserted into the tray, so it shouldn't be too difficult to maneuver.

  • CraftTestDummies 7 Mar, 2008

    This sounds like it would be challenging to do in a tray. A flat surface might be more successful to the beginner.

  • mmsrjs 6 Mar, 2008


  • jamieforrest 5 Dec, 2007

    A very neat project. I can't wait to try it!