Paint Ceiling beams to Look Like Wood

I completed a project this week where I took 5 ceiling beams constructed with drywall and painted them to look like rustic wood beams.  Each of the five beams is 12 feet long and 20 inches high with a width of 6 inches.

It is really hard to photograph something of those dimensions so this first pic is one end of a few of the finished beams.

paint ceiling beams to look like wood

This project is part of a much larger remodel going on.  The beams were created by opening  up the ceiling and creating a recessed area.  Then the beams were constructed  and I came in at that point to paint them to match the rustic, wood looking ceramic floor tile that had been installed.  The cut out in the ceiling to the left of the beams in the next photo is where the speakers will go.

ceiling beams painted to look like wood

The next two photos are portions of the beams.  They came out really great and everyone is super happy with them.

beam painted to look like wood

beam painted to look like wood.

This next photo is after I primed the beams.

five ceilings beams primed and ready to paint

Then you can see how I got started on the project.

ceiling beams painting to look like wood

Here is my setup. I used my baker scaffolding and my six foot ladder to get the job done.  I also use a small step ladder on the scaffolding to hold my paint tray.

scaffolding setup to paint ceiling beams

A last look at all 5 beams.  On the far left you can see a cut out.  Those cut outs are centered in the spaces between the beams.  Lighting will go there to light up the beams and create ambiance in the room.

five ceiling beams faux painted to look like wood


  1. Beautiful! I used your garage door tutorial to paint my garage door and I am super pleased with the results! I am visiting your site today because I was hoping to see some information about painting some shutter doors to look like barnwood—and here it is! Is the gray a primer?

    1. Yes, the grey is a waterbased primer. I typically buy the primer in a gallon and use either the zinsser Bullseye 123 with the grey tone and have the store add one oz of black and 2 oz of raw umber tint to the gallon. I also use 'the gripper' grey primer and have them add the same black and raw umber tint to it. Adding those tints makes the grey primer darker and more of a warm tone. The grey versions of the primer tend to be a very cool grey. Hope this helps.


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