Instructables
Picture of Painting a faux wood grain
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This is a technique I learned to make a decent faux wood grainwithout any oil based paints or fancy tools. I needed to learn this to paint a foam built bow for a cosplay. It's not the most accurate looking technique as there are some pretty good ones online but most require expensive paints and tools while this technique uses normal acrylic paint, spray paint, and a few brushes. I thought I'd share my method for others who were not willing to pay big bucks for the look.

 
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Step 1: What you need:

Picture of What you need:
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So the point of this technique is to be cheap so all of the necessary items are relatively cheap and probably already around the house of a crafter. You'll need:

spray paint and/or acrylic paint -- one lighter color and one darker color
newspaper or other coverings
a tiny thin paint brush known as a liner brush 
a thick bristled brush
water to clean brushes with

I included pictures of my supplies. As for paint I used spray paint for my lighter base coat. I did this cause my bow was big but acrylic or other paints could be used too. For the darker color, however, you MUST use some form of liquid paint -- NOT SPRAY PAINT. You maybe could come up with a stencil idea for spray paint but it is not going to look as natural as using a liquid paint. I mixed a distress paint and a brown paint together. A distress paint is not necessary but it was something I had around that could darken up the color a bit due to its mossy green color.  As for the brushes, the thinner, the better for the small one but the bigger bristled brush can vary in size. I used both the green and yellow handled brushes for big brushes so either size is fine.