Make PVC Look Like Wood

3,454,685

4,297

680

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

18 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Tape Contest

    Tape Contest
  • Gardening Contest

    Gardening Contest
  • Trash to Treasure

    Trash to Treasure

680 Discussions

0
None
zaphodd42AuryD

Reply 8 weeks 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
None
GinnyS19

Question 2 months 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?

1 answer
1
None
zaphodd42GinnyS19

Answer 8 weeks 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
None
GloriaL34

2 months ago on Step 4

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

0
None
Zuyo

Question 9 months ago on Step 5

Buen noche.. podría ser en un tubo de PVC color verde hoja el el efecto

2 answers
0
None
SammiVZuyo

Answer 3 months ago

Buen idea! Gracias.

0
None
zaphodd42Zuyo

Answer 9 months ago

sí. podría ser verde si encontró pintura verde. o colorante verde.

0
None
kschmidt430

Question 5 months ago on Introduction

Could this be done on aluminum as well? I have poles on my patio that I was wanting to do something like this.

3 answers
0
None
RakeshR98kschmidt430

Answer 3 months ago

1.Choose a pvc pipe having more diameter.
2.Slice them top to bottom as bamboos are sliced for making mats or fences.
3.Now turn them in to a wood look as the above mastermind did.
4.Finally enclose your aluminium posts sticking these sliced pieces from all sides.

0
None
zaphodd42kschmidt430

Answer 5 months ago

Hmm... It might take a little more force with the rasp file to make the grooves in the aluminum. But the paint would be easy... just use an aluminum primer and some Rust-oleum for metal. Is the aluminum structural? Is it holding up an awning or something? Can they be removed so as to apply this technique more easily? My first idea wold be to do this with PVC, then encompass that PVC around the aluminum poles.

0
None
kschmidt430zaphodd42

Reply 5 months ago

They are posts holding up an awning over a patio. I originally was thinking about wrapping in some wood but then saw this.

0
None
Grammiesgoodies

Question 5 months ago on Step 5

What do you use to seal the PVC pipe once you get the desired color? Something safe to use outside

1 answer
0
None
zaphodd42Grammiesgoodies

Answer 5 months ago

Yes. I use a clear coat acrylic protector from a company called Krylon, however I'm sure any company that manufactures spray paint make a clear coat. It is UV resistant and good for the outdoors. Check to see if you need to reapply your protector if you plan on your project living outside permanently. Also... make sure it is safe to use around animals if that applies to you. Whatcha makin???

0
None
SolarEagle59

5 months ago

Awesome idea!!! I'm doing my home over in southwestern adobe style.I could use this technique to create round beams for my ceiling.I can also make a pueblo style ladder.For my genuine navajo indian blanket.I read one other simular post idea that came with yours.It said about heating the pvc with a heat gun and bending and creating and stuff.That would make look like a real ladder.Thanks much for your post.

1 reply
1
None
zaphodd42SolarEagle59

Reply 5 months ago

Glad you like it! Yes I use heat to make the PVC look a little more real as well. I find it makes it easier to turn on 2 burners of your stove and "rotisserie" the PVC just enough to get bendy. (If you use a heat gun, make sure to heat a large area of the PVC before you try to bend it, If you only have a small hot spot, it will bend and buckle and not look real.) And please look into protecting it with clear coat after you paint (of just make sure the paint is dry) if you plan on draping the Navajo blanket over it. I'd hate to think you get paint on your keepsake. Also... it's much easier to score the surface BEFORE you heat and bend. I'd love to pics when your done!!

0
None
MHY1

Question 7 months ago on Step 4

Hey, awesome idea. I tried it but I can't get the black lines or the dark lines as you see in the wood. Tried drawing lines with a marker to sink in deep scratches....it did work a bit, but how did your get the black lines with one paint color?