how to whitewash

5 Easy Ways on How to Whitewash Wood

Whitewashing wood is one of the timeless techniques to create an aged look in new wood. There’s something homey, something elegant about whitewashed wooden furniture which is why we’ll look at the best and easiest ways how to whitewash wood. Let’s start with the materials you need for this tutorial.

You will need the following:

  • Wood pieces or the furniture you want to whitewash – we recommend using wooden planks with lovely curvy patterns. You may also choose to whitewash old furniture instead. 
  • Wood paint (white is the most popular color) – wood paint comes in different colors but we prefer white.
  • Paintbrush – a new 1 to 2 –inch paintbrush is great.
  • Clean dry rags – a few pieces of clean dry rags will make whitewashing easier. 
  • Paint scraper – a technique that uses plastic or metal paint scrapers would be the best tool. 
  • Candle – you need a regular white candle for a special whitewashing technique. 
  • Sandpaper – experiment on the grit as these create different effects on wood. 

Whitewashing techniques

Using dry rags

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This method is very easy to do and is one of the most popular in whitewashing old furniture. 

  1. Prepare the piece of wood.

Clean the surface you’ll be working on. Make sure that it’s free from holes, cracks, and pits. Make sure that you’re on the surface you want people to admire. You should also check for termites and other insects on and inside the body of the wooden piece. 

  1. Dilute the paint with water.

Whitewashing uses paint diluted with water. So, dilute your paint until you get a smooth consistency.

  1. Dip the dry rag in the diluted paint and apply.

Once you’re comfortable with the whitewashing paint, you may now proceed with applying paint on the surface of your piece. Use the tips of a dry rag to apply a small layer at a time. 

  1. You may apply a single layer or several layers according to your preference.

You can also apply many layers but always remember to dry everything completely.

  1. Let each layer dry before applying another layer. 

After drying paint, you may proceed with another layer or you want to continue to other layers of wood. 

Using a paintbrush

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A paintbrush will make paint application better and faster. You won’t even get paint on your hands. 

  1. Prepare the piece of wood.

Inspect the surface of the wood you’ll be working on. Lightly sand the area using high-grit sandpaper. Use a small dry brush to remove all dust and pieces left from sanding. 

  1. Dilute the paint with water.

As always, we will be using diluted paint as this is the best paint for a whitewashed look. 

  1. Apply the paint with a brush.

Dip the paintbrush in paint and apply using different effects. Apply lightly, apply on different parts of wood or use things like twigs, leaves, or every item in the house. Apply paint even on the edges of the piece.

  1. Dry the first layer before applying more.

Take the wooden piece outdoors and dry this completely. Do this before applying another layer. 

Using a paint scraper

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Paint scrapers are handy in removing paint but they can also apply whitewashing paint on different flat surfaces.

  1. Prepare the wood.

You will be working closely on the surface of the wood so make sure that it’s free from cracks, nits, rips, and dirt. Use sandpaper to lightly remove all imperfections. 

  1. Dilute the paint with water

As always, dilute old paint using water. You must have the consistency of wet glue before you can use your paint scraper.

  1. Dip the paint scraper in paint and apply the paint to the wood.

Hold the scraper firmly and dilute the end to the paint. Quickly take the scraper to the wooden piece and apply the paint wherever you want. Paint scrapers work well in flat areas.

  1. Let the paint dry before applying more layers.

Let the first layer dry completely. It can take a day to dry paint so be patient.

Using sandpaper

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Whitewashing wood is aging it, and one way to do this is to rub the surface with sandpaper, in different grits. 

  1. Prepare the wooden piece.

Make sure that the wooden piece is free from any imperfections. 

  1. Dilute the paint using water.

Add water to paint until you get a glue-like consistency. 

  1. Use a brush or piece of cloth to apply paint.

Use the previous techniques to apply wood paint on the piece of furniture piece. 

  1. Let the first layer dry for at least 24 hours. 

Let this layer dry completely for about a day. 

  1. Use sandpaper in different grits.

Sand the piece in different areas. Use different sandpaper grits to achieve an uneven whitewashed appearance. 

Using a candle

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Candles have wax which is difficult to remove by ordinary means. It is also a clever tool in creating that whitewashed appearance in wood. 

  1. Prepare the wooden piece.

Clean the wooden piece and make sure that it’s free from dirt, dust, and oils. 

  1. Rub the candle on the surface of the wooden piece.

Hold the candle like a pencil or crayon and rub it on the wooden piece. The areas where there is wax will look different than the other surfaces without wax. 

  1. Apply the paint using a paintbrush

After applying the candle, apply paint on the wooden piece. Use a paintbrush to cover more areas. You may also use a piece of rag to apply paint.

  1. Let the paint dry.

Let the paint completely dry outdoors. You will find a unique pattern over the wood because of the candle wax.

Now that you know some easy ways on how to whitewash wood, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Whitewash an old piece of furniture; start with a basic table, a small chair, or a desk. Use these techniques well and get the best whitewashed wooden furniture piece without even trying at all. 



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