I came up with this simple trick to give PVC pipe a realistic wood texture when I built a few plastic didgeridoos a couple of years ago. It would also work for theater, home decor or backyard tiki-bars! Send an invite if you build that last one.

Step 1: What You'll Need.

- PVC, Any size you want.

- Heavy Metal File. Mine has Rasp and Double Cut sides. An 8-inch file like this costs $9 at any hardware store.

- 100 Grit Sandpaper

- Artist Oil Paint. You can use acrylic, but it may chip off unless you seal it.

Other Materials:

- Wire Brush, for clearing the file's teeth of PVC.

- Dust Mask, to prevent PVC dust from getting in your lungs.

Step 2: Sand the PVC.

SAFETY REMINDER: Wear a dust mask for this step!!

Remove the shiny coating and ink print on the PVC face with the sandpaper. If the Ink is giving you trouble, give IT some trouble... with acetone. Your PVC should have a nice matte finish.

Step 3: File Away!

Use the rasp side of the file to shred the PVC surface. Pull the file in many directions to give it an organic look. If the file's teeth get clogged, use a wire brush to quickly clear them.

CAUTION: This step will make sharp ridges on the surface of the PVC. Try not to slide your knuckles along the pipe until you have smoothed it out.

Once you're happy with the texture, use the double cut (smoother side) of the file to remove the shavings and sharp ridges on the PVC. Give the plastic a few extra rubs with the sandpaper.

Step 4: Add Some Color.

Find a nice oil color you like for your PVC wood. Wipe it on with a rag, making sure to work it into all the new grooves. You can use some faux finish techniques for extra texture, blotting the paint on in irregular patterns instead of bush strokes. Let it dry. That's it!

Step 5: Going Further...

As I stated above, I used this technique to make a few didgeridoos. If you like this idea, there are many Instructables on making one. You just need PVC and bees wax for a mouth piece.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Enjoy!

<p>Hey I am planning to make a PVC wooden dummy for martial art training, to cut down expanses, i am going to use pvc instead of whole log<br>in your opinion, Could the color and the transparent spray hold against punches?<br>and maybe do you know any filler that can be use to fill the PVC and make it dense like wood? (my number 1 option is sand right now)</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>I used rapid setting cement......I made a small bird avairy &amp; didn't want the wind to move it around. </p>
<p>I have never done it but have you try filling the PVC with concrete?</p>
<p>i haven't try it myself but i know the effect of filling it with concrete<br>it'll be so hard and punching it will feel like punching a rock<br>that's why I'm thinking about sand</p>
<p>Spray expandable foam ( it is called &quot;Great Stuff&quot;, you can get it at Home Depot) Gives it more weight, less flexibility, and more strength.<br> PVC breaks in sharp edges and breaks down over time in the sun. I would do a test piece and see if it will stand up to what you need. With hand protection.</p>
<p>Thanks for the advice<br>how's the test piece?<br>i search for reviews regarding expanding foams and i think if i fill the whole 9&quot; diameter pvc with only this it will be too light.<br>SO maybe i'm going to make a concrete core with maybe 4-6&quot; in diameter and fill the rest with the foam<br>how do you think?</p>
<p>Is this one of those &quot;wing chun&quot; dummies? To answer your question, I think the paint will hold up, but I'm not sure the PVC itself will. </p><p>Before you put too much work into it, I would see how much punching PVC will allow you to do to it. Also, wood will react to your body differently than PVC. Will that somehow compromise the effectiveness of the exercise? I am not familiar with martial arts in any practical way, so please understand that as I ask these questions!! </p><p>Anyway, yes, the paint should be ok. You can always touch up areas that get worn away from repeated contact. AND... please be sure to sand it thoroughly after you file the texture into it. That process makes very sharp edges on the PVC surface. If you punch it or hit it with your skin with allot of force, you may cut yourself. I have rubbed my knuckles across that sharp PVC texture many times. Good luck. Post a pic if you make this!! </p>
<p>that's why I'm trying to find a material to fill the pvc so that it gives similar feel when punching it like punching wood.</p><p>Got any idea? A type of plastic grains, or anything?<br>anyway I'll be making this very soon and I'll post the picture here</p>
Is there a nontoxic PVC dye for a woodgrain finish? I want to use it for a bird playstand?
<p>Any PVC &quot;dye&quot; you find will probably not be suitable for use with animals and water. I did a bit of research (but PLEASE do your own!!) most results of which say there are chemicals in PVC dye that are toxic. There are plenty of articles that say artist oil paint is safe as it is linseed oil with pigment and some other fixers etc and generally considered safe to be around animals and children. What I would do is find a specific paint you want to use and research that brand specifically. Good Luck. Share what you find! </p>
<p>can i use this outdoors? I want to make a bird feeder :) will the rain ruin it?</p>
Sure! There are a bunch of outdoor friendly spray protectors to apply to it. You could probably even choose between shiney and matte. Look for them in spray paint isle. Rust-Oleum makes a few.
What are the chances this is weatherproof??? I'm going to be making a chicken waterer with pvc and I love the idea of having it look like wood in the coop!!! Or is there a good sealant anyone suggests? I love this!! Thank you so much for sharing!!
<p>If you use oil paint, there will be a reasonable resistance to weather. But to give it a real kick-in-the-butt level of weatherproofing, there are TONS of great clear sealant sprays. Krylon makes several levels of clear sealants specifically for outdoor protection: water and UV. </p><p>I'm glad you like it! I only ask that you consider the safety of using certain chemicals when applying this technique around animals. I am not an expert here, I just love all creatures that swim, fly and crawl!! : ) </p>
<p>One of the most fantastic, simple and useful DIY's I have ever seen, thanks.</p><p>Ron Gordon Modesto, Calif.</p>
<p>Thanks for checking it out!! Use it wisely!!! </p>
Hey. Awesome tutorial. I am in the middle of making a replica staff for cosplay weaponry. Although i have skimmed through the comments, i couldnt actually see how much paint you used on your digeridoo. My staff is 1.5m long and 40mm in diameter. How much paint do you think i may need?
<p>Hey Nick. Great Staff. Can I ask what you added to the end to make it look solid?</p><p>Thanks</p>
Thanks Eric. I made two staffs. One 40mm pipe with 32mm plumbing end caps sanded down. The other 32mm pipe with round 32mm blanking caps bought from ebay, again sanded down. I made a quick tutorial on my fb page @nickdcosplay. Although the tutorial here is much the same! Hope this helps.
<p>Hey NickD! Honestly, just wipe it on! Put a small dab on a rag and work it in. Reapply as it starts to thin out. If you're using oil color, a little goes a long way. Make sure you work it into the grooves as well... an easy way to do this is to rub the oil &quot;sideways&quot; into the groves... around the staff horizontally. But finish by wiping the oil rag vertically to simulate the grain of the wood. A regular size tube of oil paint (like the one pictured in my instructable) could make 10 staffs, maybe more. </p><p>Also... the more pressure you use in wiping it on, the thinner and lighter it will be. This can work in your favor by helping you achieve an organic look. Apply layers for darker tones. AND!!! If you use oil, give your paint a week to dry. Put it somewhere with moving air and try to hang it so it's not touching anything.</p><p>So, in the end, to cover your staff, you'll use about 1 teaspoon of oil paint. But i'm sure as soon as you start painting, you'll see exactly how much you'll want to use.</p><p>Good luck, let me know if you need more help. I'd love to see the staff when you're done!!</p>
A big thank you for this tutorial. My staff has turned out amazing! My cosplay friends are in awe of my quick and simple build! Now the boring bit of watching paint dry! After its dried out, ill apply a layer of lacquer to seal it. Ill post a pic of it shortly.
<p>I made a beautiful rain stick with these easy to understand instructions. THanks for sharing</p>
<p>That looks awesome!!! How's it sound? Could you post a vid with audio maybe?? Pleeeeease???</p>
<p>Thanks, It sounds Great!!! I will try to make a short video. How do I post it ?</p>
<p>Hmm... yeah, I didnt think that through. I dont think you can, just photos. Well, if you ever throw it to youtube or facebook, send me a link. Otherwise, Thanks for reading! I'm glad it worked for you!! Great job again.</p>
<p>Everyone that sees this rain stick can't believe it was made from a PVC pipe. It looks just like wood. It was so much fun to make and thanks again for the wonderful instructions. If I make a video, I'll make sure you see it somehow :)</p>
<p>You're welcome! Hey, how about a mini-ible!? What did you use as the inside spokes, loose material and caps of the rain stick? Just curious. </p>
<p>A Mini-ible .... I love it !!! </p><p>I drilled completely through a 3-foot long PVC pipe (more than a hundred times) and pushed bamboo kabob skewers through the holes. Most were a bit loose so I glued them with wood glue. A bit messy but it worked. Clipped the excess length and re-glued if necessary. Then I lightly sanded the entire pipe with an electric sander until smooth. As you instructed, marred the surface with a wood file then sanded lightly and painted it with Burnt Umber oil paint. After it dried 24 hours later, I filled the pipe with 1 1/2 cups of rice, peas and beans until I liked the sound. I also added about 50 2-inch long bamboo kabob skewers to the mix to help slow down the progression of the rice, peas and beans. Capped both ends with corks that I found at the local craft store. </p><p>I hope this helps. It was a very easy project and I might even make a few more :) </p>
<p>Karen - good idea :-). One question : did you position the skewers so that they were attached on both sides of the pipe. Or just one hole that you pushed the sewer through. Seems like one hole would offer better sound, but 2 holes would be more secure. I can experiment, but I am just curious what technique you employed. Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi FastF4, I drilled completely through the pipe and pushed the skewer through both sides of the pipe. It does make it more secure that way. If you make one, please post it up. I would love to see it :) :) </p>
<p>Thank you for taking the trouble to reply Karen. Useful to know. I might try both approaches just to see. And I thought maybe I would try a BASS rainstick. Have to visit my local HD and see what they have for pipe. Your idea to add 2&quot; pieces of skewers is brilliant.</p>
<p>Your welcome. The 2&quot; pieces help to slow the bean down and it sounds wonderful. Please post a pic if ya make one :)</p>
Hi Karen. Will you please tell me about the mixture of materials you put inside of the rain stick? What did you use and about how much of each? I am so impressed with yours. Thanks.
<p>Thanks Rachel, I used 1 1/2 cups of rice, peas and beans until I liked the sound. I also added about 50 2-inch long bamboo kabob skewers to the mix to help slow down the progression of the rice, peas and beans.</p>
Thanks for your reply Karen. I can't wait to give this a try.
<p>Thanks Rachel, I used 1 1/2 cups of rice, peas and beans until I liked the sound. I also added<br> about 50 2-inch long bamboo kabob skewers to the mix to help slow down <br>the progression of the rice, peas and beans. </p>
<p>make that 'skewer' not sewer ;-)</p>
<p>That's Fantastic! You really should write this up and post it! You got all the pics done and everything. (I like your drill press btw, I'm eyeing up a few I want for my maker-space.) Thank you so much for letting me know about this!! </p>
<p>Your welcome. I've been wanting a drill press and found this one for fairly cheep $70</p>
<p>Yes! Video please! </p>
<p>I love the collaboration here!<br>And now I have to buy twice as much pipe and paint... but bet that didge I was planning on working on tonight is going to sound awesome with rain behind it!</p>
<p>ooooh, post some pics please. And hope it brings some rain. I think I'm going to have to use my rain stick today for it's very dry here too. :)</p>
<p>Hi, is your video available on how you made rain stick? Thanks! --Jeff</p>
<p>Sorry, I never got around to making a video.</p>
<p>What do you mean by beeswax for a mouth piece? I am wondering because we are making a peace pipe for a Peter Pan play. Thank you.</p>
<p>When you make a didgeridoo, you make a bees wax ring to help make a good air-seal for your mouth. I dont think you'll need to worry about that for a Peace Pipe. But I'd love to see it when it's done!! </p>
<p>Thank you!!</p>
<p>have you done this on the joints that connect thhe pipe as well?, how did it turn out if you did?</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I live in suburban Pennsylvania with my wife and puppy. I pass the time building robots, photographing microbes and directing live TV. I enjoy learning ... More »
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