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.
- 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.
- Wire Brush, for clearing the file's teeth of PVC.
- Dust Mask, to prevent PVC dust from getting in your lungs.
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.
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.
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!
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!