by Debbie Hodge
“Faux bois” is the French term for false wood.
Faux bois (or wood grain) patterns have shown up in fabrics for fabric and home decor, wallpaper, and surface designs. They are on laptop sleeves, lampshades, floors, and throw pillows.
Using faux bois prints lets you get a natural “eco” look without cutting down a tree. Three-dimensional faux bois techniques originated in 19th century France, when stone workers made furniture, planters and decorative structures with a wood grain look out of rebar, wire mesh frames and cement.
1. Faux bois for texture
Jen Matott says, “I am loving all the woodgrain patterned papers lately! I have been a great lover of Kraft cardstock but this gives me a different option for a somewhat neutral background! I love the implied texture it lends to the pages without adding bulk.”
2. Faux bois to echo the furniture and walls in your photos
Tara McKernin says, “I love Tiffany Tillman’s digital template with the bold white frames, and this dark wood grain print from Paislee Press’ Weekender it was a good high-background for them. Normally I don’t do dark backgrounds but I have found that woodgrain papers are more like neutrals than dark solids. The wood grain print echoes the wood floors my son is playing on, which ties it all in together.”
Stephanie Semple says, “I used woodgrain patterned paper to highlight the dark wood of my bedroom furniture in these photos. My two cats are watching each other, one from inside and the other from outside. The pink and green papers pick out colors from my bedding. Flowers and greenery are a nod to the outdoors and they anchor the smaller photos.”
3. Faux bois for a camping theme
Christy Strickler used a wood-grain print as the base for a story about “camping out” in the living room when one of the air conditioner units fails. She says, “When one of our units wasn’t working, we moved into the living room to sleep in cooled air. My son said we were camping out in our living room. I chose a wood grain paper along with camping themed embellishments to support the story.”
4. Faux bois for a masculine tone
Ashley Horton says, “I love the different feelings wood grain can evoke. I chose a dark wood grain to go with photos of my son on ‘100% Boy.’ I wanted to focus on the boy theme, and the wood grain is great for evoking a masculine tone. I also love that it reflects the outdoor setting of my photos.”
5. Faux boix for outdoor themes
Brenda Becknell wanted to emphasize the farm aspect of these photos from a local fall farm festival. Brenda says, “I cut strips of woodgrain paper in varying widths and lengths, distressed and inked the edges, and then adhered them to kraft cardstock to mimic barn siding. I added sticker “nails” but you could also use brads. The photos and the banner flags are adhered with thin foam adhesive dots to add dimension.”
Amy Kingsford says, “This is a photo of my son during his first experience with the grass in our front yard. His senses were flooded as he took it all in. I wanted to create a similar feeling by using texture. I love the texture that rustic wood frames add to this page. They work well with the beach wood papers in the background, but also stand out–drawing the focus in toward my photos while adding depth.”
Debbie Hodge used mist with a wood grain stencil on “Clever Pose” to establish the foundation for a photo of teens in a light-hearted woodland pose. The woodgrain echoes the tree the kids are posed around.
6. Faux bois for a playtime theme
Kim Watson‘s son loves to build with his toys. Kim says, “My little guy loves the mental stimulation of building, constructing and problem solving, especially when disasters are threatening to crush mini cities every day.” She combined a schematic print with woodgrain to support her theme.
7. Faux bois (Scrabble tiles) for a vintage look
Katie Scott‘s “Fenderson” is a heritage layout about a story she found about Ivory Fenderson and Jean Flahive’s book “The Galloping Horses of Willowbrook.” The title was long and, Katie says, “I went looking for smaller letters and came across Scrabble wood letters which seemed perfect since they looked old–and since researching family history is like a game, putting all those pieces from the past together to find stories that people will want to hear.”
8. Faux bois for a trendy look
For her self-portrait, Meghann Andrew used a woodgrain print that’s made modern with an overlaid decorative pattern in white and accent colors of tomato-red, yellow and light teal. The woodgrain, or faux bois, alphas in a sans serif typeface are tall and modern also. Current decorating styles make this old print newly trendy.