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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.

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, May May Spring 2006 2006


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

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

  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. Let the paint dry overnight.

  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. Set glass into the tray.

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