What Are Some Techniques for Whitewash Painting?


Quick Answer

Whitewashing works on wood or brick. Using whitewash on pine brightens the wood's surface but still lets the grain pattern show through. The whitewash is applied with a brush and, after two to three minutes, worked into the wood with a rag. Excess should be wiped away, following the grain's direction.

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Pickling is a related technique that works well on oak. Once the whitewash is applied, it is wiped against the grain. Because oak has a different grain and pore structure than pine, wiping across the grain is the best way to work the stain into the wood.

Diluted latex paint can work as a whitewash. Diluting two parts paint with one part water creates a thin wash that can be applied carefully with a brush. If the effect is too subtle, further coats may be added.

Mixing skim milk with hydrated lime creates a base wash that can be altered with natural pigments. Alternatively, a mixture of enamel oil-based paint and gum turpentine creates a wash that works on wood and brick.

Whitewashed wood must be sealed with varnish, polyurethane or tung oil. An oil-based wash requires an oil-based topcoat, while water-based washes require water-based topcoats. Brick is best suited to an acrylic or polyurethane topcoat. The final coat may darken whitewashed brick slightly.

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