How to Make Wood Grain Disappear When Painting

By Wade Shaddy

Paint alone will not hide grain patterns. The paint sinks between grain lines, leaving a visible pattern where the grain raises up higher than the paint. It's very easy to see if light reflects off the surface of the grain. For paint to cover grain lines completely, the grain must be filled and sanded smooth. One easy way to accomplish this is by sealing the grain with thick lacquer. Also known as sanding sealer, it is applied just like paint or ordinary lacquer.

List of Items Needed

  • Aerosol sealer
  • Mineral spirits
  • Handheld sanding tool or rotary tool with sanding attachment
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Aerosol paint
  1. Sand the wood with sandpaper, a handheld sanding tool or a rotary tool with a sanding attachment until its surface is smooth and level. Wipe the wood with a rag dampened in mineral spirits to remove any sanding dust.

  2. Hold the can of sealer 8 inches from the surface of the wood at a 30-degree angle. Liberally spray the wood in overlapping bands of sealer until the surface of the wood is wet. Let the sealer dry for 30 minutes.

  3. Sand the dry sealer by hand with 180-grit sandpaper until the surface of the wood has a light-white powder all over it. Don't wipe off the powder -- it aids in curing and sealing.

  4. Spray another heavy coat of sealer over the wood until wet. Let the sealer dry for 30 minutes. Resand by hand with 180-grit sandpaper.

  5. Spray a coat of paint on the wood. Hold the can 8 inches from the surface at a 30-degree angle and spray overlapping bands until the wood is wet with paint. Wait one hour for the paint to dry.

  6. Sand the painted surface of the wood lightly with steel wool. Spray another coat of paint on the wood. Wait one hour for the paint to dry. Lean down so that light reflects off the surface of the wood. If you can still see light grain lines, sand again with steel wool and spray another coat of paint.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can apply sealer and paint with a brush if desired, but you may get fine brush lines if you apply paint with a brush. You can also use an airless or pressure-type paint applicator to spray sealer or paint.
  • Always wear safety glasses and breathing protection when working with wood or finishing products.

© Demand Media 2011