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How to Paint a Faux Tiger Maple

Sylvia Cini

Tiger maple, also known as curly maple, is a medium density wood that features an unusual striated pattern resembling a tiger’s stripes. This pattern runs perpendicular to the normal grain of the good and is created when the density of wood fibers fluctuates.

Use a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch flat-tip brush.

Tiger maple is usually used as an accent material when making panels and trim as large amounts of this wood can be visually-jarring and distracting to some individuals. Use this faux painting technique to add flair to borders, table legs, railings and picture frames.

  1. Sand the piece with a medium to fine grit sandpaper; this process will score the surface, removing protective coatings to help paint adhere to the surface. You can sand in circles or against the grain as long as the final pass is with the grain.

  2. Rotate the wood so that the grain runs horizontally from left to right.

  3. Select a paint that is three or four shades darker than the darkest grain lines in the piece of wood.

  4. Dip a dry brush in the paint, picking up a small amount just on the tip of the bristles.

  5. Stroke vertically to create an uneven striated pattern. Use a comb or toothpick to drag paint on the surface of the wood, creating thin lines. Each line can run from end to end or taper and increase in width.