These stairs started out covered in old, nasty carpet:
I ripped that off, but the wood underneath was not pretty enough to stain. So I painted them white with gray treads. But it looked like a basement staircase.
So then I painted them again – white this time. They were pretty, but they showed every spec of dirt, and every muddy pawprint.
What I really wanted were stained wood stair treads. (more on that here) I like the way they look, but I really really like the way they hide dirt. But I wasn’t up for the demo and money required to rip out my old pine treads and replace them. So I told you guys that I was going to try a faux woodgraining treatment. I’m back to report that IT WORKED!!!
The surrounding stuff isn’t finished yet. I still need to install quarter round at the bottom of the stairs. So please overlook that, and have a good look at these faux bois (fake wood) stair treads. They’re real wood, of course, but the grain is completely done with paint.
Here they are now!
Here’s another close-up. Believably real, right?! Let me mention again that the woodgrain you see here is totally fake, created by me with paint and a few tools.
For this project, I bought three paint samples. I tried to match the background color, midtones, and darkest tones in my actual flooring. Since I used vinyl plank floors from Home Depot, it was easy to just grab a floor swatch while I was there and carry it over to the paint department. I didn’t have them do any fancy color matching – which I don’t think would work. I just wandered around the different paint displays, holding my flooring piece up to color swatches until I found the ones I liked. The specific colors would be different, depending on your flooring.
Before I began on the steps, I actually tried three different sample boards. When I thought I had the technique down fairly well, I started on the real thing. First, my lightest color went down and dried. Then, I tried two different techniques.
On the top stair, I used a chip brush to lightly brush streaks of the midtone color (mixed with glaze). I let that dry, and then used the darkest color (also mixed with glaze) to do the top coat. For the top coat, I used a combination of Martha Stewart’s wood graining tool and her graining comb (which came from a three comb set – it’s the one in the top left in the linked photo).
One the other stairs, I skipped the middle step, and simple brushed on a combo of the midtone and the dark paint right over the base coat, and did the graining step. The result looked good, but was too contrasty. It really needed that middle tone. So I mixed up a really watery glaze of the middle tone combined with the dark tone, and brushed it over the top of everything.
Finally, the next day, I applied two coats of Polycrylic on top of everything. I should do a third coat, but by the second one I was tired of keeping the puppies (and myself) off of the stairs. I did most of this while the kids were either asleep or at school, so that helped a little.