Fabulous DIY Faux Paint & Gel Stain Finishes for the Modern Home

Fabulous DIY Faux Paint & Gel Stain Finishes for the Modern Home

Need to give your garage door or boring kitchen backsplash a new look? Upgrade your home with a new, exciting look and feel with paint or gel stain. If you’re eager to learn more about DIY faux paint finishes or gel stain finishes, read on.

Faux Subway Tile Kitchen Backsplash

Subway tile as kitchen backsplash

This ingenious and simple DIY faux finish technique looks just like ceramic subway tile. Perfect for a kitchen backsplash, this small-scale project will add contemporary style to your home!

What You’ll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • High-gloss white paint
  • Flat/matte grey paint
  • Painter’s tape (2-3 rolls)
  • Paint roller & tray or mini roller kit (for painting trim)
  • Small paintbrush
  • Cardboard or heavy paper
  • Tape measure
  • Yardstick
  • Long Level
Step 1

Remove all room switch plate and electrical plug covers and clean the walls. If you are painting the kitchen, be sure to thoroughly clean the walls as cooking grease will keep the paint from sticking. Let dry overnight.

Step 2

When walls are dry, tape off all no-paint edges and borders with painters tape. To protect electrical plugs and light switches put tape on them as well.

Step 3

Paint two coats of hi-gloss white paint-

Use a paint roller to apply a thin coat of hi-gloss white paint. Allow the first coat to dry (Usually 2 to 4 hours; check the paint manufacturer’s instructions for optimum drying time). Apply a second coat. Let dry.

Step 4

Create a tile template-

Draw a 3-inch by 6-inch rectangle on a piece of heavy paper or cardboard. Cut it out with scissors. You can alter the dimensions to make your tile template smaller or larger, according to your work area and preference.

Step 5

Place painter’s tape horizontally on the wall to create faux grout lines. (This will require lots of tape!)  Use a yardstick as a guide to assist with spacing the grout lines. (The spaces between the tiles.) A 1/8-inch width grout line is ideal. Use the tile template to check your work as you go.

Check to make sure your lines are horizontal with a level. Press the tape firmly to the wall to prevent paint bleed. Stand back and look at your work periodically to make sure it’s horizontal and not on a slant.

Mark little arrows on the painter’s tape, pointing to the spaces you intend to paint. (It’s easy to get confused with so many horizontal lines on the wall.)

Step 6

After taping all horizontal lines, use a small paintbrush and matte grey paint to paint the grout lines. Let the paint dry, then apply a second coat.

Step 7

Carefully peel off the painters tape.

Step 8

Begin taping the vertical lines. To create a traditional, subway tile pattern stagger each ’tile’ horizontally, from one row to the next using your tile template for assistance. It’s best to tape off the area, all at once- start at one end and work your way around.

Step 9

Check to see if the paint is dry by peeking under the edge of the painter’s tape. If not, let it dry a few hours longer, then gently peel the tape from the wall.

Faux Wood Gel Stain

This faux gel stain will upgrade your garage door

Transform your garage door to a faux wood door with an easy to use gel stain. This simple DIY project will add depth to your garage door that will make all your neighbors think you put in a new garage door. This project costs under $100, where replacing your garage door can cost $1,500+! For this project, you will need three different Minwax gel stains. We recommend getting a base color (brown), a dark color (black), and a light color. You will also need a medium width chippy paint brush, painter’s tape, gloves, a cheesecloth, and magnetic garage door hardware.

Step 1

Garage door before applying gel stain

Clean your garage door before applying any gel stain. We recommend using Wet & Forget Hose End to easily clean your garage door. Your garage door may look clean, but there may be growth on the surface that isn’t visable to the eye. By cleaning the surface first, you’re preventing any growth from being sealed into the garage door.

Step 2

First tape off the rubber seal around the garage door. Then coat your garage door with the base color (brown) gel stain of your liking. Be sure to cover all the nooks and crannies on your garage door. Use a cheesecloth to blend the color into the surface. We didn’t paint the cracks inbetween each garage door panel, but feel free to do this. Let the gel stain dry completely.

Step 3

Paint any indentations in your garage door and panels with the black paint to add depth. Smear the surface with a cheesecloth to blend the color into the base color. Let dry.

Step 4

Apply the light colored gel stain with a cheesecloth. Blend this into the base paint to make your garage door look like real wood. Be sure to take a step back every once and a while to see where the light gel stain needs to be added.

Pro Tip: Gel stain can be hard to remove from your hands. Wash your hands with water and cooking oil and watch the gel stain peel off easily.

Step 5

Magnetic embellishments

Add the magnetic garage door hardware to your garage door to the areas of your liking. The embellishments will give your garage door a more authentic wood look.

These faux gel stain and faux paint ideas are sure to bring a modern look to your home, without spending any extra money hiring painters. After sprucing up your home with one or two of these DIY projects, your home will have the contemporary look that you have been striving for.

Want to learn more home DIY projects? Click here.

Interesting in ways to keep your home cleaner? Click here.


Give your garage door a wood-like look with a gel stain! Learn how to complete this look with our step-by-step tutorial.