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How to whitewash knotty pine walls

It might be winter, but in the spirit of the coming spring I am writing a couple of features on whitewashing techniques. The first offers instructions on how to whitewash furniture, and this article looks at whitewashing pine or tongue and groove walls and ceilings.


Whether you are whitewashing furniture or whitewashing wood panels, for both you need to do some preparation beforehand.

  • On sealed or varnished wood panels sand with 120- and then 180-grit sandpaper to remove the existing finish.
  • On oiled wood panels use fine steel wool and mineral turpentine to clean the surface.

If you don't remove the existing finish the paint will simply wipe off and not bond with the surface, so this step is important for a lasting finish.

For a perfect whitewash finish

6 parts paint to 4 parts water

Apply the paint using a paintbrush, working a small section at a time and painting the wood panels from top to bottom. Before the paint has time to dry, run a rag from top to bottom to wipe away the paint. You can wipe away as little or as much paint as you need for your desired finish. It's important to wipe away the paint while still wet. If you allow the paint to dry it will be difficult to wipe away and you will need to sand clean and start again.





After painting apply a coat of antique wax or clear acrylic sealer to protect. Antique wax leaves a satin finish but needs to be applied regular, while sealer leaves a slight sheen but only requires a single application.

Try out this whitewashing method on reclaimed wood panels. Owens olivia transformed a nursery with reclaimed wood panels on one wall, which where then whitewashed... stunning! Later on the nursery was revamped into a bedroom for her little boy and the effect looks just as good.