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Wood-Grain Wrapping Paper

Beautifully grained woods are nature's masterpieces, but, as style editor Tom Tamborello demonstrates, it is possible to re-create their sinuous patterns and harmonious colors on paper, using a wood-graining tool and latex paint. The decorated paper is perfect for wrapping gifts, and because you control the "grain" and color of every piece you create, each sheet of wrapping paper is unique. 

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television


The process of wood graining, known as faux bois, is fairly simple: A tool resembling a comb is pulled through a thin layer of paint, leaving a grained pattern in its wake; the grainer is then slightly rocked or wiggled to produce different effects.


  • Glossy, nonporous paper

  • Low-tack tape

  • Latex paint

  • Glazing medium, for latex paint

  • Mixing bowl or bucket, for latex paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Wood-graining tools


  1. Affix a sheet of paper to a flat work surface with low-tack tape. It's important to use a glossy, non-porous paper that will not soak up paint and become wrinkled.

  2. Mix paint with glazing medium and a bit of water to thin it, and brush a thin coat along one edge of the paper in a swath slightly wider than the wood grainer. Work with one swath of paint at a time; if you paint the entire sheet at once, the paint will dry too quickly. Drag the graining tool slowly through the paint, rocking it at varying intervals; a wood-grain pattern will emerge. If you don't like the resulting pattern, quickly brush over it and try again.

  3. Continue until the entire sheet is filled. Let dry thoroughly before using.

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