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What is lime wash?

Used in the past as a paint treatment for furniture, lime wash how more recently been replaced with the easily applied white washing technique due to the caustic properties of lime.


Lime wash requires the addition of lime powder, or Hydrated Lime, which is soaked and supplied in a paste form. It's fairly easy to make your own lime wash - if you have all the ingredients. From a more aesthetic and eco friendly point of view, whitewashing with a watered-down paint is by far the easiest and most affordable way to create a whitewashed look for furniture. Examples of whitewashed furniture can be found on, who specialise in painted and distressed furniture.

Whitewashing allows you to paint over wood to light up dark pieces for a completely new look. This is especially popular in bedrooms, where dark pieces can make a bedroom feel claustrophobic. You can use whitewashing to paint furniture to look how you want it. The more watered down the paint, the more rustic the finish.

Although Robin used an oil-based primer to paint the furniture, you can neutralise many oil-based stains by rubbing down with Woodoc steel wool and mineral turpentine. This allows you to use a more eco-friendly paint, such as Prominent Paints UltraMatt, over the top. You can also use Woodoc steel wool to lightly distress the edges for a more Shabby Chic look once you have finished painting.

Although it's called whitewashing, the name refers to the technique more than the colour used. For this round table, Bungalow Blue used an orbital sander to get down to the raw wood.

After sanding the table was wiped clean the table was painted in a light grey and left to dry. To create the whitewashed effect, 2 parts of white paint were mixed with 1 parts water. The paint was brushed on and gently wiped back with a soft cloth leaving a small amount of paint in the wood grain.

To create a driftwood finish, more white paint was softly dry-brushed over the surface of the grey finish to highlight the grain. To create a soft, dry-brushed effect, be sure to dab off as much paint as possible before applying the brush to the surface. This table is a wonderful example of how you can use paint to create a faux driftwood finish on pieces of furniture. Gorgeous!

Here's another colourful whitewashing tutorial that I came across. Row House Nest transformed a dull, boring chest of drawers into something gorgeous. She used acrylic PVA - matt - in three colours: white, blue and grey. Blue was applied first and left to dry. For the grey and white coats, the paint was watered down to 3 parts paint to 1 part water.

When watering down paint, have a scrap of wood handy to test your paint mix. That way you can water down your paint until you are happy with the colour effect.

The watered-down grey paint is brushed over the top of the dry blue paint. I like to keep a cloth handy for this part, so that I can wipe back any areas that have too much paint. The idea is to create a soft effect over the top of the blue. Apply the white paint over the top of the dry grey paint. A dry-brush effect works very well for this. Dip the brush into the paint and then wipe off onto a cloth of piece of newspaper before applying to the surface.

If you want a more weather look for your piece of furniture, use 120-grit sanding paper or Woodoc steel wool to roughen up around the edges. Finish off by wiping the entire piece with Woodoc Antique Wax.

If you use matt acrylic PVA to whitewash furniture, it's essential to apply Woodoc Antique Wax to the finished piece. This adds a protective layer and prevents stains. It also make the piece easy to clean - simply wipe down with a soft cloth.
Regular application - as you would with any wood furniture - will ensure that you painted piece stays looking good for longer!


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