When Dan and I were trying to decide what painting technique to use on our Wilding Wall Bed, we only had a few requirements.
1. We wanted the wood grain to show through to accentuate the rustic nature of the decor.
We figured that stain was going to be our best bet for this project. So, off we went to both Home Depot and Lowes to find the right color of stain for the project. It was impossible. They had a lot of choices of stain colors, don’t get me wrong. But, they just didn’t have the PERFECT color. We looked at indoor stains, oil based stains, water based stains, and even outdoor stain options. Next, we asked one of the Lowe’s associates try and help us tint one of their stains to match. It didn’t work. In fact, it turned out forest green. No thank you. Finding the perfect color to fulfull my vision has been a challenge at times, but I have learned to never “settle” in this area. I knew what I wanted in my mind, and I knew there was a way to achieve it.
Creed’s room (the home for the wall bed) is painted with Valspar’s Flood Tide. I soon realized the solution. I will white-wash the wood, but with COLOR!
I wasn’t new to white-washing, but I had never done it with color. In theory, it was a perfect solution. In fact, I already had half a gallon of Valspar’s flood tide at home. I was a little nervous that the color would cover up the wood grain. But, we decided it was worth a try since this technique would allow us to change the wood to meet my requirements. Plus doing this technique to the wood would be FREE (basically free, since I already had bought the paint for another project).
F.R.E.E. (my favorite letters).
Step 1. Mix your latex paint with water. You will have to play it by ear with this step because it will depend how dark you want your white washing to be. I dumped about two cups of paint into a bucket and then added about 1 gallon of water to it.
Step 2: Start with raw wood. We choose oak because of the amazing grain patterns in oak wood.
Step 3: Put your wood onto saw horses but make sure to be in a area that the white washing paint can drip onto. I did it on my lawn. I actually started with doing it on the grass without the saw horses, but I found that the paint dripped onto the backsides of the wood and made a mess.
Step 4: Take a large sponge and start “washing your wood.” Be careful to wash it evenly. I would start on one side and wash all the way down the wood to make sure the paint was even. I repeated this process until the wood was evenly coated.
Step 5: Let your coat dry completely and repeat if you want the color darker. Make sure you are working on a warm day. You don’t want the water to seep into the wood and sit for hours. If you do this, it will warp your wood. I live in a dry climate that is very warm on most days. The wood dried within 10 minutes. I did two coats on my wood to reach the correct color.
This wood shows what it looked like after the second coat.
Step 6: Coat your project with polycrylic to seal it. We used a minwax polycrylic (you can buy it at Wal-Mart for about $17.00). I chose “satin” finish for this project.
Tips on applying the polycrylic:
FOLLOW the directions on the can!
You MUST use an expensive, high-quality brush (or you will get brush strokes…I HATE brush strokes).
Make sure to do at least two (preferably three coats).
Apply one coat by brushing only in one direction to eliminate brush strokes.
Allow the coat to dry completely and then sand with 220 or 320 grit sand paper before applying the next coat.
You may wonder why I chose polycrylic instead of polyurethane. Polycrylic is water based NOT oil based. So, I prefer polycrylic. Plus polyurethane will yellow over time and polycrylic won’t. (Thanks Tammy Bell for helping me with this).
White washing the wood was the perfect solution to my design dilemma! By doing this technique I achieved both my requirements. It was easy too!