DIY White Washing or Pickling Furniture

Quite often, as my wonderful readers have seen glimpses of my home in a blog post, they see that my fireplace and paneling are whitewashed or pickled and ask how I achieved the look.

 Today I would like to share a little tutorial on my particular process.  
This past winter I bought a wonderful vintage pine cabinet or cupboard at a church sale and am just getting around to re-finishing it.  I am not a fan of the orangey look of pine but do love the washed down effect on the pine with a white wash.  To be honest, I first tried some of the waxes that are on the market today.   I tried a liming wax which is supposed to add a white grained finish to wood, but I was not happy with the result.  I felt like I could not control light and dark areas like I preferred.........so I went back to the method I learned years ago.  It's very inexpensive as you just simply use any old cheap white house paint. If you prefer,  you may add some water to the paint for a watered down effect but,  in this case, I did not.

FYI:  did you know that applying this method on pine is called whitewashing but applying it to oak wood, it is called pickling?

In this "side by side" photo, you can how orangey the pine wood was and on the right side what a difference it makes with the white washing

You can see on the left side door, where I have put a light coat of paint on.  Don't bother with full coverage or anything like that.  You can see how mine is just kind of slopped on. :)

Apply your paint in an up and down method, staying with grain of the wood.

Immediately after applying the paint,  wipe down with a  damp rag (my husband's old white sport socks work very nicely), taking as much paint off as you prefer.  I like to leave a lot in the nicks and crannies.  After that I use another old soft rag that is dry, to wipe even more of the paint off, leaving heavier and lighter areas.  Be sure to rinse the wet rag out periodically as it gets gummy with paint.  And wipe off with the same up and down motion,

And the finished cabinet.  This technique serves to brighten the piece while allowing the patina and grain to shine through. This will go into my brick and mortar space very soon.
Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and hope you will join us later this week for the
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Junkchiccottage said...

Beautiful Lynn. I love this. It does looks so good to have the natural wood show through but the pickling gives it a nice bright look. Great job.

Blondie's Journal said...

I like this, Lynn. We have the same sort of pine cabinets and I really dislike the orange look.

Jane x

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

That looks so pretty, Lynn. So much better than the original wood. Thank you for sharing the instructions. I'm trying to think of something I can pickle.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

It turned out beautiful, Lynn! I am sure it will sell quickly.

Anonymous said...

Looks so good! I was a young mom in the 80s, pickling kitchen cabinets was a HUGE HUGE trend. also the family room/den/living room bookcases and armoires that held the TVs...I thought it was done with some sort of vinegar or acid wash, then the contrast/white paint applied. Your method is simple and it looks good. Now I've hit 60 and the trend seems to be starting back up. I love the feel of your piece. Thanks for sharing!

Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique said...

This piece turned out so lovely Lynn. Thank you for sharing at Shabbilicious Friday. Hugs ~ Kerryanne

Miss Kitty said...

Thanks for sharing that great technique to give a piece of furniture a "limed" look. I, like you, like to have more control of how a piece turns out with paint (to mimick a more complicated process) rather than wondering how the process will turn out.

Unknown said...

This looks fabulously easy! Just one question please, does one need to sand off any former varnish, and should one seal the end result.

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