Every now and then, I get a real itch to paint something… Yet a girl can’t always get what she wants, can she? Besides, I should probably avoid starting another unfinished project for now…
Instead I thought I’d share some tips on how to whitewash furniture with chalk paint. Whitewashing is one of my favorite ways to work with chalk paint and it just gives everything such a nice, soft, sort of beachy, sort of worn, just all around pretty look. Whitewashing will tone down any bold paint color and is often, I find, the missing link that makes the painted piece suddenly look just right, as though this is how it had wanted to be painted this whole time!
No? Am I the only one who talks about furniture as though it has thoughts…? I am, aren’t I?
But if this desk could talk!
Personally, I think a whitewash finish looks amazing over a bold turquoise, like on this turquoise desk. It really tones down the bold color and gives it a gorgeous, beachy look.
Without further ado, here’s a quick tutorial along with some photos on how to get this finish!
How to whitewash furniture with chalk paint
This is going to be so easy, I don’t even want to call it a tutorial 😉
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- Paint for your base color
- White paint for the whitewash
- Paint brush
- Mixing container
- Plastic spoon or paint stir stick
- Clean, lint-free cloth
1. Paint your base coat
Start out with a base coat in the color of your choice. For this desk, I painted two coats of FolkArt Home Décor Chalk Paint in Cascade, letting it dry fully between coats. (Please excuse the terrible quality of this photo… this was a nighttime project!)
2. Create your whitewash
Next, create a whitewash. Put a small amount of white chalk paint into a clean container, and then mix in some water. For this desk, I used FolkArt Home Décor Chalk Paint in White Adirondack. Start out with a 1:1 ratio of chalk paint to water, and add more water as needed. Your wash should be quite runny (enough that it will be dripping off your brush when you dip it into the wash). Mix well.
A little bit will go a long way, so start out by making just a small amount. You can always make more as you go!
3. Apply the whitewash
Now, it’s time to apply the wash. Take your clean paint brush (conveniently, you can clean it after your base coat and it doesn’t necessarily have to be fully dry before you apply the wash!), dip it into the wash, and then let some of the excess drip off. Brush it over your piece in small sections using long, even strokes. Then, take a clean cloth and gently wipe it back, using the same long, even strokes. This will wipe off most of the paint, leaving behind a streaky white finish.
You can apply as many coats of the wash as you want, until you get the look you want. On this desk, I applied one coat of whitewash.
If you would like to distress your piece, now is the time. For this desk, I lightly distressed the edges and corners with sandpaper.
If you are using a chalk paint, you will need to finish off the piece by applying a top coat – either wax or polycrylic. You can also whitewash with Fusion Mineral Paint, which doesn’t require a top coat.
See how the streaky white settles into all the nooks and crannies? It gives it such a nice, subtle texture and beautiful finish.
See how easy that was? You can use this technique with any color, too! Check out how I got this faux weathered wood look on my kitchen table using gray, taupe, and white paint!
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