Do you want to decorate your home with earthy tones and finished wood, but lack the funds to get real, non-IKEA furniture, expensive tools, or just don't have the time or effort?
Make a grain board! It's a cheap piece of birch plywood, basically a scrap from the construction materials shop, with some kind of finish. The project takes minimal effort, and results in a really nice mood setter for home decoration purposes.
Step 1: Sand It, If Needed
Sanding the board might be necessary, depending on the board's surface. We sanded with 120, 180 and 240 grain paper along the grain to smooth it out a bit, but this was not strictly necessary.
If the board is to be touched or used as a table top or something, rounding the edges a bit and getting rid of splinters might be warranted.
We wanted sharp and wax-free edges, so we taped the edges prior to applying the finish.
Step 2: Wax It
A tinted wax is a good fit for enhancing the grain of the wood. Waxes are often fairly easy to work with, especially in comparison to stains, and come in natural oil-based formulations that can be used at home (no fumes).
The wax should be spread as thin as you can, rubbing it in with a sponge, a wax-roller or a rag. Here we used a few old socks to rub the wax along the grain, one "row" at a time to disallow unsightly overlaps.
We ended up with two coats, letting it dry for 24 hours in between.
Step 3: Hang It and Enjoy
The board got as an afterthought a hanging line.
The finished piece can be used for whatever. It's a nice mood setter for
a living room or a calm bedroom decoration, and takes your mind off the fact that you don't have the means to rent or buy an actual wood-built house, or get stuff that doesn't have an umlaut in the name.
Step 4: Seasonal Decorations
The tinted board turned out very nice, and I find it a nice bedroom decoration, since the wood grain and dark tone make for a calming effect. It also acts well as a backdrop for "seasonal" decorations, such as a festive paper star.