How to Make Wood Grain Disappear When Painting


Because the grain of some types of wood, most notably oak, is so open, it is nearly impossible to conceal it, even when covering it with paint. Oak is one of these types of wood. Wood-grain fillers have been widely used by professional refinishers for some time now in order to smooth out open grains in the wood in preparation for a clear finish. These fillers are also effective when used beneath paint. Grain filler has a viscosity that is in between that of paint and wood putty; it is much thinner than wood putty. Fillers that are based in oil have been the industry norm for a very long time; however, many modern finishers prefer to use grain fillers that are based in water since they dry more rapidly and are simpler to clean up.

  1. Sand the wood that you are going to paint with sandpaper that has a grit of 150 so that it is ready to be filled. Sand by hand, working in the direction of the wood’s grain. When you’re through sanding, be sure to clean up the dust.

  2. Apply wood primer to the surface of the wood. If you are going to be using an oil-based filler, then you should use a primer that is based on oil; otherwise, you should use one that is based on water. In addition to sealing the wood to prevent it from absorbing the filler, the primer improves the filler’s ability to adhere to the surface.

  3. After the primer has had time to dry, use a paintbrush, putty knife, or paint scraper to apply wood-grain filler to the area that will be painted. Apply it in a circular motion to ensure that it penetrates each and every one of the pores.

  4. Before the filler becomes dull and starts to solidify, remove it from the surface with a paint scraper made of plastic or very fine steel wool. Get rid of as much of the extra as you can so that you won’t have to sand it down later.

  5. Sand the surface using a pad sander and sandpaper with a grain of 120 so that the filler may be levelled and the excess is removed. To get rid of the swirl marks, first clean the sanding dust with a cloth and then manually sand the surface using paper that has a grit of 150.

  6. Prime the surface once again to strengthen its ability to adhere to the paint, and then paint it with the top coat of your choice.

    Things You Will Need

    • 150-grit sandpaper

    • Wood primer

    • Wood-grain filler

    • Paintbrush

    • Putty knife

    • Plastic paint scraper

    • Fine steel wool

    • Pad sander

    • 120-grit sandpaper


    If you go to the bother of making the wood grain vanish, you should definitely spray the paint so that you don’t leave any brush traces when you apply the paint.


    It is not possible to use wood-grain filler in place of wood putty. You shouldn’t try to patch any holes or cracks in the wood with it.