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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Painted Plywood Floors - Basketball Court - Applying the Wood Grain

Gel Stained Wood Grain

Now for the most crucial part of the whole process...the wood grain!  We've got a base color, we've got our outer court border, and we've penciled in the planks...now it's time to make them look like wood!

To get started, you'll need 2 cans of gel stain in the color of your choice (1 can doesn't quite cut it for a 11' x 12' room), a wood grain tool (or rocker), a paper towel, and a striation tool...not sure how else to describe it...came with my wood grain tool set.  They are all pictured below.

Gel Stain, Wood Grain, Striation Tool, and Paper Towels...everything you need!

This step might seem intimidating at first, but once you get started you'll quickly realize that any mistakes you make can quickly be undone.  To start, coat about 3 rows of planks with a generous amount of gel stain.  As you get quicker, you can go all the way across the room...but to start, I would suggest doing half the room.  Then, take your wood grain tool and, while applying a decent amount of pressure, pull steadily across a plank from one end to the other.  While pulling across, gently lift up and down to create variation in the grain.

If you make a mistake or the tool gets stuck...simple, just start back over at the beginning of the plank and do it again.  As long as the gel stays wet you can keep reapplying until you're happy with the result.  Make sure you wipe your rocker every once in a while or you'll start to get build-up, and that causes your grain patterns to look inconsistent.

After about 20-30 minutes, your room should start looking like this:

Half way there!  You should start seeing the contrast of the wood grain and your base color.

You'll see that by starting and stopping at each plank, the gel creates a natural line that separates the planks and makes each one look unique.  

Good job, you're getting there!  Just keep doing the same thing, plank by plank, row by row, and you'll get there.  I think it took about two hours to finish the graining portion, but in the end, it looked like this:

All done!  That's a handsome looking floor considering it's just plain ol' particle board plywood!

Not too bad, considering it was just a few layers of primer and paint from being this:

How it all started...standard OSB Plywood.

Here's a short video showing the steps I took to create the wood grain.  The possibilities are endless as long as you include enough variation in your technique:

And a follow-up showing the finished product after laying down the gel stain.

Congratulations, the hard part is over...make sure you give this plenty of time to dry.  I gave it 48 hours and it was still a bit 'tacky' when I started the next step.

Now it's time to apply the wood stain, the end-result of what color you want your court to be.  This is where it really starts to stand out and get attention.  So stay tuned!

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