DIY - Whitewashing


    DIY - Whitewashing


    Last week Ash wrote in asking about whitewashing her kitchen cabinets.

    Thank you Ash for writing in.


    There are a few methods for whitewashing. I am going to cover the easiest.


    What is whitewashing?

    Whitewashing is when you apply a coat of paint or stain and remove most or it, leaving an aged or worn look (also referred to as a rustic look).


    You do this by applying a base coat, then the whitewash coat.


    As a note whitewashing is referred to as a technique not a color. Whitewashing can be done with any color you choose. I recently did a whitewash job for a customer using a light gray.




    If you're working with solid wood, you can sand it till it ie either raw wood or just enough to give you the base color your looking for.


    If your working with a wood with a veneer on it, sand it lightly. DO NOT sand it to the raw wood under the veneer. If you do, you will need to sand the entire project to the raw wood. You will also be dealing with the glue that attaches the veneer to the wood.


    When sanding, use an 80 grit or higher sanding sponge (you will go through them, so have extras on hand). Always sand in a circular motion first to get the majority of the sanding done, then sand lightly with the grain to remove any lines left from the circular motion.


    Base coat:

    The base coat is  the color you are going to see as what I am going to refer to as the background color. This should be darker than your whitewash color. If your wood is already sanded to the base color your looking for, then go move forward to the next step. If you are looking for a different color for your base coat, you can stain or paint your project to the color your looking for.


    Whitewashing coat:

    Whitewashing can be done with paint or stain. I recommend using Minwax White Wash Picking Stain (visit my links page at


    Apply your stain (or paint) with a synthetic paint brush, then lightly wipe it off with a lint free staining rag. Do not wipe off all the stain, just wipe it till it gives you the look your looking for.

    You should practice this on a few pieces of scrap wood till you the knack for getting the results your looking for. This method is the same if your doing a whitewash using paint instead of paint.


    Finish coat:

    Once you got your project to have the look that you were going for, you will need to apply a protective finish. I recommend using Minwax  Polycrylic Protective Finish Water Based Clear Coat (visit my links page at It is non-yellowing and low odor. Best of all it cleans up with water.


    Apply this using a synthetic paint brush in light even coats. Be sure the work area is dust free to prevent dust from settling in your finish. I am going to emphasize on light coat, applying heavy coats will increase the chances of air bubbles or pitting. Be sure to allow your project to dry thoroughly between coats.



    Want to see me and my work?   


    Watch “Hidden Money Makeover”, Saturday, April 8th @ 10 pm (est) on The Learning Channel ( TLC )

    You will get a chance to see some of my work and get to see me in a few scenes working alongside Gage Cass. My company was contracted to build a few walls and do some custom woodwork for the 2 pilot episodes.




    Don’t forget to follow “TDS DIYer” for weekly projects for everyday people.


    For a list of recommended products from this and past articles, click here or visit our links page at


    With over 30 years experience in the home improvement field, Artie Wallace (owner of Rockaways Handyman) can help you with most of your DIY questions. For more information about Artie Wallace or Rockaways Handyman, visit his website at like him on Facebook at, or email your questions to


    Please post your comments below and let me know if you found this areicle helpful and/or inmormative.

    All comments are greatly appreciated.




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