Wondering how to whitewash wood yourself? We all know that we can’t always afford to have a professional do it for us, but there are ways around this. I recently painted my own shed (yes, mine was painted! ), and while I still have some rough spots, I’m happy with the results. Here’s how to do it.
The first thing you need is a mixture. You can get a cheap, thin white paint from Home Depot or Lowes, and there are other home store blends as well. Just want to pick up a couple of these so you don’t have to mix them yourself, they’re cheap and you can get an entire container of these in a package, so it won’t take long to stock up.
Now onto the techniques. To make white paint, you basically just need water, baking soda, and white vinegar. First, mix up the bicarbonate of soda and water and let it sit for five minutes to dissolve. Next, mix up the baking soda and the vinegar and scrub them into your wood with a scrub brush or some steel wool.
This is where you start to mess up. Most people’s technique is to soak their boards in hot water and then apply the white paint using a brush or roller. The problem with this is that the grain of the wood is ruined. Once you’ve wet sanded the board, you don’t see any more grain, and you end up ruining everything you worked so hard to get to a nice white finish.
Here’s the secret to getting a nice white finish on your wooden pieces. First, remove as much excess stain as possible with an old toothbrush. This leaves you with nice smooth surfaces for the next stage. You need to sand the wood until it’s nice and smooth again. You can use a sander, or even just use sandpaper to achieve this.
The next step is to apply a stain. If you’re doing fine, you can get a stain made from Bicarbonate of Soda and equal parts water and put it on with a brush. For other woods like cherry or oak, you need a different stain. You can find stains at craft stores or online, and they usually only cost a few dollars.
You have two choices for stains when using natural wood planks for whitewashing. One is the spray method, where you just dampen the plank with water and let the solution dry. Then, wipe it dry with a rag and viola – a beautiful white finish. Or, you can use a liquid stain. This is especially good for those planks that have a lot of cracks, knots and imperfections.
The final step of how to whitewash wood is to bring it back to life by applying an undercoat. This will help keep the stains from soaking in and giving you a botched up job. You can apply the undercoat with a brush, or even a roller. Either way, be sure to wet the plank first, as the more water you have to add, the thicker the undercoat will be. Follow the directions on your stain and wait a day or so before polishing up. Finally, wax the finish and you’ll have beautiful white boards.
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Depending on the grade of your wood and the grade of the stain you use, this may take anywhere from one to three coats. Begin with the first coat and apply it very carefully to get even coats all around the board. You should also let each coat dry fully before applying the next one. Once you’ve achieved the desired shade of white, allow the boards to dry thoroughly and apply the finishing wax. That’s it!
As with any other project, there are some precautions to follow when learning how to whitewash wood. For example, if you intend to stain along the grain of the wood, you should avoid using darker stains on the surface of the board. Instead, opt for a lighter stain that will show up the wood grain. Another important thing to remember is that the more strain you put on, the more time it will take to dry. If you’re going to be in the finishing stages of your project, it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared for extra drying time.
This technique can be a great way to whiten wood without the extra expense of having to purchase special wood products. Best of all, you can achieve a perfectly white finish and preserve the existing color of your wood, while still enhancing the grain. This unique technique can be done by most amateurs with some home-grade supplies. Now that you know how to do it, you may want to take on more projects, such as a new entertainment center or kitchen counter.