How to Whitewash Oak Furniture

Written by sharon sweeny
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How to Whitewash Oak Furniture
A whitewash finish lets the wood grain show through. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Popular in the pioneer days of America, whitewash-finished furniture today can evoke the feeling of a beach retreat, or a rustic farmhouse. Whitewash allows the wood grain to show through; it is essentially a white wood stain. In the past it was created with powdered lime, but today we can get the same effect using latex paint. Whitewash your oak furniture to give it a unique look while allowing the beauty of the wood grain to show through.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Chemical stripper
  • Medium, fine- and extra-fine sandpaper
  • Flat, off-white latex paint
  • Medium paintbrush
  • Soft cloth
  • Water-based polyurethane

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove any existing finish by stripping it off with a chemical stripper, following the manufacturer's directions.

  2. 2

    Sand the oak piece with medium-grade sandpaper. Sand again with fine-grade sandpaper. Finally, sand one more time with extra-fine-grade sandpaper. Wipe off any sanding dust with a tack cloth.

  3. 3

    Mix one part water with two parts off-white flat latex paint. Stir to completely combine the water and paint. You should end up with a thin, opaque mixture with the consistency of double cream.

  4. 4

    Brush the thinned paint mixture onto the oak furniture piece with a medium-sized paintbrush, using long strokes. Make sure you completely cover the piece with the whitewash. Work fast, so the paint does not have time to dry or set up.

  5. 5

    Wipe off the excess paint after the piece is completely painted. Use a dry, soft rag and wipe it over the entire surface of your furniture piece, absorbing most of the paint.

  6. 6

    Apply two coats of water-based polyurethane or water-based varnish, using a medium-size paintbrush.

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