Make PVC Look Like Wood

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Introduction: Make PVC Look Like Wood

About: 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 any new skill that helps me Make! I enjoy even more p...

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!

Before and After Contest

First Prize in the
Before and After Contest

PVC Challenge

Runner Up in the
PVC Challenge

20 People Made This Project!

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689 Discussions

0
gump001
gump001

3 months ago on Step 5

Thanks for the tips think I will try this

0
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Reply 7 weeks ago

Great! Share when you do!!

0
ClayBall
ClayBall

7 weeks ago

I wished I had thought of this a long time ago.

0
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Reply 7 weeks ago

It's not too late to make something!!!

0
Robotguy210
Robotguy210

Question 4 months ago

Anyone out there work on commission!? For years, I've been wanting to replicate a "wooden" sign from my childhood... I BELIEVE the actual sign was either made of fiberglass(based on many other props made from it too) however it could've just been plastic molded with the logo and the wood grain and streaks... and then just painted with something like this to make it appear like and actual wooden campground sign. Please let me know if anyone takes commission, cause based one everyone's projects here, what I'm wanting should be a piece of cake for any one of you! Very cool items!

I'm in a disabled from a spinal cord tumor that was removed and left me paralyzed and in a wheelchair so, access to our tool shed alone and with limited use of my arms, it's difficult to get projects like this done on my own anymore... but I'm more than willing to pay an artist like you guys... I'm sure everyone can use a couple hundred dollars...?

In the image attached, it appears to be flat, and that may be the case, but I'm looking to get it made at about 24 inches X 14 inches and about 2 inches thick. I plan to just buy a wooden pole for across the top to hang it from and not the entire light post. If I can just get that sign made... that would be something cool that would bring me out of my clinical depression in a flash. I collect stuff from this restaurant(Showbiz Pizza Place) like a few of those robots... but this sign has eluded me as well as the rest the fan community as a whole(No, I'm not the only nut who collects this stuff).

Thank you for any help with this!! dukelarue@juno.com

Campground_lg.jpg
1
GloriaC20
GloriaC20

Question 5 months ago on Step 5

Would luv Pattern for digeridoos Pl & Tyvm

0
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Reply 7 months ago

Thank you.

0
Marion sage
Marion sage

Question 1 year ago on Step 2

I saw that you used acetone to remove the ink from your pvc; I was wondering if you dont have any canned acetone or mineral spirits could you use finger nail polish remover??? Some of them have acetone in them .

0
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Answer 1 year ago

Absolutely. Nail polish remover is in fact mostly acetone. I buy it because it's usually dyed a bright color. This helps tell it apart from other chemicals I keep on my workbench in spray bottles.

1
AlfieE2
AlfieE2

2 years ago on Step 5

Brown pigment can be mixed into PVC cement to create a durable, peel-resistant coating. Clear cement can be tinted any shade but with the yellow kind, browns or greens (just add blue) work well.

0
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Reply 2 years ago

Really?!? What kind of pigment and what kind of cement? (The only cement I know is already deep blue or purple.) And how long might you be able to work with it?

0
AuryD
AuryD

1 year ago on Introduction

I simply cann't get over this protect. It is amazing.

0
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Reply 1 year ago

Thank you! Many years ago I was trying to remove a chunk of industrial glue from PVC and all I had was the rasp file you see here. After I chunked up the surface a bit, I looked at it and said... "Huh". That's the story.

0
GinnyS19
GinnyS19

Question 1 year ago

Just read your instructions about making pvc look like wood. I just added a patio cover to the back of my house. The pulled wiring, but now I see it isn't exactly where I want it, so may have to extend wiring for lights. Thinking of using small pvc pipe as a wire conduit and stain it the color of the wood on the patio. Will that work? Have you used if for that?

2
zaphodd42
zaphodd42

Answer 1 year ago

Thanks for reading!! Yes, this effect should transfer nicely to smaller gauge PVC. If the PVC will be exposed to wind and rain and weather, make sure you seal it with a UV protected spray or something to hold up to the elements. The ONLY THING I would be weary of is making sure using PVC as electrical conduit is legal were you are. I wouldn't imagine there is an issue, but it's good to be safe. Good luck!!

0
GloriaL34
GloriaL34

1 year ago on Step 4

I didn't see the finished desk organizer. Could you put a picture up please.