This instructable will show you how to give a wood-like appearance to a flat metal plate. This is a very simple process, which involves a coat of paint and a varnish finish.
I came up with this process (although I'm sure I didn't invent it) to make a rusted metal circuit box cover blend better with the wooden accents in our home. The circuit box was never properly installed, and as a result was just a mess of dangling wires and exposed switches. My original thought was to make a wooden door to cover this mess, but after searching through the storage shed, I found the metal box that was intended to cover the circuit box.
After a bit of sanding, a coat of paint, and a coat of varnish, we now have a beautiful wood-like circuit box that goes nicely with our wooden door and window frames.
• Something to paint
• Paint brush
• Sand paper
Step 1: Sand Metal
Depending on the condition of the original metal you are working with, sand any rusted spots, and if it's a painted object, sand off the finish so the new coat of paint will apply properly. I used a metal sandpaper for this process.
Step 2: Paint
To create the appearance of wood, I used a coffee colored (if you take your coffee with milk) enamel paint, which in Portuguese is called "Tabac," I guess because it has the appearance of dried tobacco. Select a paint color depending on your desired finished product.
The most important part about the painting process, and the key to creating this effect, is to stroke the paint on in one direction, (likely up and down) creating the effect of wood grain. Make sure not to put too much paint on the brush, to create the desired effect.
The object I started with was tan, which helped create this effect. If the object you are painting doesn't have an earth tone to begin with, you should probably consider starting with a base coat that has a natural color.
Let the paint dry thoroughly before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Add Varnish Finish
Once the paint has dried, add a coat of varnish, paying special attention to the areas where the original paint job shows through.
I used a varnish called Sparlack Neutrex, which added a reddish hue to the finished effect.
The finished product doesn't look exactly like wood, but certainly looks better than the exposed switches, or a rusty metal box!;-)