Transform PVC Pipe into a Beautiful Chair Rail

Transform PVC Pipe into a Beautiful Chair Rail

by Adrienne van Dooren

Faux Artist and Decorative Painter, Joanne Nash of Lynchburg, VA came up with the fun and creative idea for this unique faux bamboo chair rail.

“I would have used real bamboo, but the sizes were too irregular to match around the room.” Says Joanne. She really wanted a bamboo look to enhance the overall “Tommy Bahama®” look and feel of the room.

Since necessity is the mother of invention, Joanne came up with the idea to create faux bamboo out of PVC pipe, paint and plaster. First her husband cut the PVC pipe in half and then cut the correct lengths and mitered joints. They then numbered the pieces on the underside in indelible marker.

How to recreate this look at home:

1. Joanne first created the bamboo “joints” by mixing drywall 60 minute joint compound powder (available at any home store) approximately 50/50 into paint. She used a squirrel mixing attachment on her drill to speed the process and adjusted the amount until the mix formed a thick plaster.

2. She used her hands to apply the plaster to the pipe and blended it to look like a bamboo joint. She then pressed a string into the wet plaster to create the indentation. “You can also draw it in with a stylus, but this was much faster.” explained Joanne.

3. Aquabond™ paint was applied with a brush the basecoat. Aquabond™ adheres to plastics in “Woody Yellow” and is available on-line. You can also use a tinted primer made for plastics such as XIM™. Two coats work best. “Insure the brush strokes go long-ways”, warns Joanne, “that will help the glaze to give a more realistic striping.”

4. Once the basecoat was dry, Joanne mixed an earth brown tinted glaze using Aquacolor™and Aquaglaze™ (any brown paint with a glaze medium added will work) She applied the glaze lengthways using a chip brush and cheese cloth. The glaze naturally settled in the joint groves for a very realistic effect.

5. After the pieces were dry, Joanne attached them to the wall using construction adhesive and a few screws which she later touched up with plaster.

Written by Adrienne van Dooren, green homes expert and author of “The House that Faux Built: Transform Your Home with Paint, Plaster and Creativity”

Adrienne van Dooren is National Marketing Director for MyGreenCottage and author of The House that Faux Built: Transform Your Home with Paint, Plaster and Creativity. Learn more about building green and creating beautiful interiors at and

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