Step 9f

So I’ve been playing with lots of art journal techniques since my last DIY post. In fact I hope to post some of my pages sometime in the near future, once my back-to-school routine is more settled. But one of the techniques I wanted to try was a throwback to an old art show on PBS I saw when I was a kid. My memory is vague about what the show was, but I have always remembered what I learned about creating a woodgrain look, and since it’s sort of trendy right now, I wanted to try my own version of it. My goal with my DIY creations is to always use them for an actual project, but I have simply not had time yet to create the page. Once I do, I’ll post Part 2.

So, for the technique, here are the steps I followed:

Step 1: Gather supplies. You’ll need a sheet of white cardstock (watercolor paper will work great too), a palette (I love to use foam plates for this), your favorite Distress Ink color (mine is Broken China!), a paintbrush the width that you will want your wood “planks” to be, a spray bottle of water, and colored pencils that coordinate with your chosen ink.

Step 1

Step 2: Tap your ink pad onto the palette to get a good patch of color.

Step 2


Step 3: Spritz your palette with water until you see the color beading up. The more water you add, the more of a color-wash look you’ll get.

Step 3

Step 4: Pick up a good amount of the watered-down ink with your paintbrush. You want there to be enough ink for a good, long stroke.

Step 4


Step 5: Beginning at the top corner of your paper, pull the paintbrush full of ink toward you. Don’t worry too much about the line being perfectly straight. That can be corrected when you come to the detail step. Once I pulled the brush down to the length I wanted, I then pushed back up following the same path. This adds another layer of color.

Note: You can pull the ink all the way from the top of the page to the bottom if you want uniform-length “planks.” I chose to  mix up the lengths so it looks more like mine are pieced together.

Step 5Step 6: Repeat Step 5, beginning your next stroke right where the last one ended, but be careful not to overlap them too much.

Step 6

Step 7: Keep going in this way across the page, again allowing your paint strokes to touch, but not overlap.

Step 7

The page with all the paint strokes. You can see the wood look beginning to emerge!

Step 8

Step 8: With your coordinating colored pencil, draw the lines between the planks. I was not too careful with this. Straight enough is good enough for me, but you can use a ruler if you prefer your edges to be perfectly straight. Don’t forget to draw the lines going both ways.

Step 9

Step 9: This is where the fun begins!  So here’s what I remember from that television art show: Wood-grain is all about the imperfections. The instructor said to begin with the knotholes. So with your colored pencil draw a knothole shape. For some reason, most of mine are almond-shaped, but there are all kinds – go crazy with it!

Step 9a

Step 10: Then begin to draw the “rings” around your knothole, keeping the shape of the knothole as you go. I’ve found that the closer you draw them together and the thinner  your pencil line, the more realistic the look. Mine will have a sort of Cosmo Cricket feel, as my lines are looser and a little bolder.

Step 9b

Step 11: Continue in this way until all your “planks” are done. I won’t lie to you – this part takes a little while, but I found it to be very relaxing.Step 9c

Voila!Step 9d

Step 12: I had a little bit of a happy accident while I was painting my paper, and I decided to run with it. After all my detail work was done, I mixed up a little more of the ink/water mixture, then used a stiff brush and flicked the ink droplets onto the paper. I think this really added something to the finished product. Step 9e Step 9f

So that’s it! The next time you have a hankering for a wood background, don’t hesitate to make your own! I’d love to see what you do with this technique – feel free to link me up to your creation in the comments! I’ll be back soon with a layout using mine.  🙂

2 Thoughts on “DIY Friday – Woodgrain Background (Part 1)

  1. This looks really great, I love the colour blue! x

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