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Tutorial #3 - Painting Wooden Planks

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

Written by Sarah-Anne

Wood and wooden planks can be found in almost any tabletop terrain build. With the right techniques you can create a variety of styles and ages, from pristine floorboards to driftwood.

Materials Required:

  • acrylic paint:

  • dark brown

  • two other accent browns

  • light brown

  • light grey and or white (for weathering)

  • dark brown ink wash

  • matte sealant

Tools Required:

  • assorted flat-head paintbrushes

Note: Though this tutorial will be mainly focused on painting wood effects, here's a quick recap on how the three different versions of wood plants were created:

Balsa wood planks: drag a copper wire brush along the surface to create more detailed 'wood grain.' With a hobby knife, bevel the edges, and then at random intervals, cut in a small line to represent the edges where two planks meet. On either side of each 'plank,' poke two holes to represent nail holes. Glue the various planks next to each other using PVA glue.

Foamcore planks: using sculpting tools or a cocktail toothpick, create the planks with long vertical lines. At random intervals, create small grooves to represent the edges where two planks meet. Drag a copper wire brush along the surface to create the 'wood grain.' On either side of the plank 'edges,' poke two holes to represent nail holes. To protect the foam and prepare for painting, give a light, even coat of Mod Podge tinted with black acrylic paint.

Popsicle/wooden stir stick planks: at random intervals, cut lines horizontally against each plant to represent where two planks meet. With a small hand-drill, create two small holes on either side of the plank 'edges.' Glue the various planks together using PVA glue.

Apply the dark brown base coat, keeping the paint thinned with water. You don't need it to be as thin as a wash, but you need it thin enough that it won't obscure the wood-grain details you've created. Let dry completed.

With your two accent browns, pick up individual planks in both colours so you have a more varied and natural look.

Once accent colours are completely dry, first apply a very light dry-brushing of the light brown to bring out the higher parts of the woodgrain texture. Apply a little paint to your brush, then remove most of it on a piece of paper towel. Brush onto the planks using diagonal brush strokes so that you highlight the texture of the wood grain, without making the individual brush strokes obvious.

Once completely dried, apply an even coat of the dark brown ink wash, making sure to get the wash into all the cracks and 'nail holes.'

When the wash has fully dried, apply the light brown again using the same dry-brushing technique.

Now at this point you could finish, as you have great looking fresh wood planks! However, aged or completely dried wood a more grey tone will need to be added to the planks.

Using the same technique as applying the base coat (but even more watered-down), apply a thin layer of a cool grey. Once dry, bring back some more highlights in white using the dry-brushing technique and a final coat of brown ink wash to bring back the woodgrain texture. Voila, your aged wood is complete! Don't forget to add your coat of matte sealant and start playing!

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