How To Whitewash | tutorial & tips |

By now you have probably seen tons of pictures of DIY rustic windows, furniture, and pretty much anything you can paint white floating all over Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Not only do those whitewashed projects look beautiful, they are also a great inexpensive way to add a shabby chic or rustic look to your home decor. And the even better news is, that whitewashing wood, or even brick is incredibly easy. Anyone can do it. So follow me, collect the tools you need, and try it out for yourself with my simple 3 step tutorial.

The tools you need:

  • White Paint- anything you have laying around will work! (I used Beauti-Tone Pearl porch and floor paint in Love Letters White.) 
  • Water.
  • Bucket for mixing (I used an old ziplock container with a lid so I could save the extra for another time.)
  • Paint Brush.
  • Old Cloth- one that you do not care about, it will be full of paint by the end.
  • Sanding Block or an Electric Sander.
  • The item you will be whitewashing. ( I purchased two old cedar window for my project.) 

Now that you have everything you need, let’s get started!

|Step One: Sanding & Prep|

Start by wiping down the surface you will be sanding with your old cloth, get rid of any cobwebs, dirt, just any of the stuff that has built up over the years. Then you are ready to start sanding, make sure to sand everywhere getting into all the little nooks and crannies. If you sand one spot more than another or make a gouge in the wood that is okay! If fact, it is great! Remember it does not have to be perfect, and any imperfections in your piece may have just makes it unique. No one else will have the same finished product as you. Not to mention imperfections will add to the distressed, shabby chic, and rustic look in the end. Now that you are done sanding take your old cloth and wipe off all the dust.

         One of the cedar windows before the                               whitewash was applied.

| Step Two: Mixing the Paint| 

After doing my fair share of research on ‘how to whitewash?’ and ‘how to get the perfect paint to water ratio?’ I realized that it wasn’t rocket science. In fact, it was incredibly simple and anyone could do it! I used a one to one ratio, one part water and one part paint. This gave me a semi-thin mixture that allowed me to cover the sap and sun spots on the window. You can also use a one to two ratio,  one part water and two parts paint. This will give you a thinner mixture leaving you with a subtle, lighter whitewash.

One to one, paint to water ration, mixed and ready to use. (you can see you only need to use a small amount)

|Step Three: Time to Paint|

This is the easiest and best part of the whole project, get ready to get messy! (if you don’t want to get messy I advise to put on some gloves). Apply a good amount of the whitewash solution with your paintbrush to your piece. Make sure to paint with the gain, not against. I brushed over each area about 2-4 times for every coat I applied. Then, let the paint sit for a moment to settle into the wood. Next take your old cloth and gently wipe the paint away, remembering to go with the gain. After each coat you complete wipe the paint away. If you want a darker look just apply more coats and for a lighter look, apply less. I applied 3 coats to both of the widows I completed and loved the look!

Voila! You are done!
Remember, whitewashing is not meant to be perfect. It is unique to each individual and that is what makes each piece beautiful.

The cedar window whitewashed and dried.

If you loved the look of your first piece and want to create another try out a few of these techniques and see how they work for you!

| Tips and Tricks |

  1. Add wax to areas of your piece to give it an even more distressed and rustic look. The paint will not stick as well to the areas that have wax applied and will allow the wood to shine through more.
  2. After you have finished whitewashing and allowed you piece to fully dry for 24 hours use a sanding block and gently sand a few edges and desired area of the wood. This will add a beautiful naturally weathered and worn look.
  3. Try out a different colour of paint such as robin egg blue, mindful grey or any other colour you love.

The products I used and suggested:

  • Beauti-Tone Pearl porch and floor paint in Love Letter White – Bought from Home Hardware.
  • Benjamin Moore Robin Egg Blue – Buy it here
  • Sherwin Williams Mindful Grey – Buy it here   
  • Benchmark Medium Jumbo Sanding Sponge- Buy it here  

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