This technique combines a few other basic techniques together to create a fairly realistic looking natural wood grain effect. The first step is to paint the parts with a light and neutral wood color, for this example, I used tan. Take note of the type of paint used (lacquer, enamel, acrylic). Depending on the type of paint used, a protective clear coat may be required. This is similar to the wash technique for panel lines – using the different properties of different paint types. For this example, I used Mr Color tan, a lacquer based paint.

The next step is an exercise in dry brushing. I mixed vallejo acrylics burnt sienna and light brown. Notice that I’m using an acrylic based paint for the dry brushing. I can also use an enamel based paint. These two paints won’t mix with the lacquer based tan so I don’t have to worry about the paint’s carrier dissolving and mixing with the tan. Using a very stiff and rough brush, the color is lightly dry brushed across the parts. Watch the following video for this process.

The above video resulted in the following, you can see that the tan now has some rough streaks from the dry brushing. If you mess up and applied too much paint, you can always clean this up with either water, if you’re using acrylics, or lighter fluid if you are using enamels, and the underlying lacquer based paint will be unharmed. Then you can start over.


Once the acrylic has dried, a lacquer based clear gloss, in this case, Mr Super Clear Gloss is sprayed over the parts. This sandwiches the first dry brushing session and protects it from the next process; which will be another dry brushing session.

With the clear gloss dry, the next session uses vallejo burn sienna and a soft flat brush. The first session used a rough stiff brush which creates a specific line pattern. Now we’re using a soft brush which creates yet another different line pattern, one that is finer. The same technique of dry brushing is used; see the following video.

Again, just as before, allow the acrylic dry brushing session to fully dry. And the following pictures shows what the parts look like after the second dry brushing session. Fine lines of a different color are on the part creating a very realistic wood grain effect.

Now at this point, another clear gloss can be sprayed to further protect this layer. But I want to change the tone of the wood. To achieve this, I mix a warm clear brown using clear red, clear yellow, and clear green. Depending on what kind of wood you want to get, change up the clear mixture to alter the color tone. Spraying this mixture over the wood creates a rich deep wood color. The following picture shows a clear distinction from the above picture.

To finish off the weapon, once everything was dry, the wood areas were masked off and the rest of the gun was painted.

The following is another set of pictures detailing the above steps to create a realistic wood grain effect. Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.