Turn PVC into Faux Wood

Submitted to Community Café

PVC is a strong, versatile material but it isn’t exactly attractive.  Give it a faux wood finish and it blends nicely into all kinds of projects and styles. :)

You'll need:
*PVC
*Gel stain
*Safety glasses
*Dust Mask
*Protective Gloves
*Sander and course grit sandpaper
*Paper towels
*Wire brush
*Rapid removal file


First, sand the PVC.  Please wear safety glasses and a dust mask during this step.  Sand until the surface is no longer smooth and all ink has been removed.   

Next, use the rapid removal file to make long gouges in the PVC.  This will give the wood grain look to the surface. You can also add some shorter cross grain scrapings to make the wood look more aged and rustic.  If the file gets caked up with shavings, use the wire brush to scrape it clean.    

When you’re finished scraping with the file, clean the surface thoroughly to remove the dust and loose shavings.   
With your protective gloves on, work the gel stain into the gouges and groves.  Lightly wipe with a paper towel to remove the excess.  If, after you’ve applied and wiped your first coat and want a deeper color, allow that first coat to dry and then apply a second coat and wipe.  Continue until you get your desired tint. 

I’d previous tested the gel stain to ensure it could stand up to water splashes.  It performed great!  However, if you plan on using your PVC outdoors, you’ll need some extra protection.  Mix some gel stain into PVC cement and then apply to keep the weather from ruining your color. 

I've used this finish on hydroponic towers (that PVC and bucket look just does not blend well with any decor!) and on other PVC projects to make them much more aesthetically pleasing. 

You can watch the entire video tutorial here: (My YouTube channel proceeds are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations):