Whitewashing is an easy and cost-effective method of decorating. By adding an air of patina and texture, this paint technique enhances a variety of decor styles like as cottage, beach, country, or shabby chic.
Recently, I included whitewashing in my bedroom makeover by revamping some bamboo matchstick blinds. Because I’m re-decorating this room into a beachy, Zen space, this technique was perfect for adding texture and warmth to my neutral color scheme.
Read along to find out how I achieved this look and how you can also transform an item with whitewashing.
The wall opposite my bed badly needed some form of decor, yet I didn’t want it to overpower the room. When I hung the bamboo blinds on the wall as they were, they became the focal point of the room and detracted from the bed and my new headboard. Also, the blinds felt too matchy with the other Asian decor elements in the room.
The bamboo brought a natural vibe to the room, so I compromised by keeping the blinds as part of the decor & made them them over with a whitewash. Their texture and natural color still appear, but on a subtle level so the bed remains the focal point.
The “new” blinds help create a lived-in, comfy feel in the bedroom, which is perfect for the beachy aspect of my bedroom makeover.
This technique of whitewashing is quite simply, using watered down paint. The only supplies you need* are white acrylic craft paint, a paintbrush, water, a container like a jar or cup, and your accessory of choice. My bamboo matchstick blinds were purchased from Big Lots for less than $10 apiece, but you could also achieve this look on any other items made of untreated wood, rattan or wicker.
1. Create a mixture of paint and water. This is your first layer of paint and will be used as a base. I used a combination that was roughly 1 part paint to 1 part water and had a milky tendency. Think whole milk, not skim milk.
2. Allow the first layer of paint to completely dry.
3. Mix together a second batch of paint and water, this time creating a thicker mixture by using 2 parts paint to 1 part water. Think half and half. (Can you tell yet that I really like dairy products?!)
4. Use this second batch to apply random areas of paint to areas you’d like to be more opaque or perhaps where the first glazing layer didn’t cover much. Allow to completely dry.
5. If you’re making over a large object like I did, I suggest taking a few steps back to inspect your work. Add any touch-ups of paint if needed.
*NOTE: I did not finish the blinds with a sealant or protectant since they’re just hanging on a wall for decoration. If you’re whitewashing an item that will stand repeated use, such as a crate, you’ll want to include this in your steps. I recommend using a water-based finish, such as Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish or a acrylic spray sealer.
The process takes some time to complete (or at least mine did since I tackled 3 blinds), but it’s a very simple project. Because the painting is random, you need not be an artist. In fact, the less planned the whitewashing appears, the better.
Have you ever whitewashed any items? Feel free to share them in the comments below and link back to your project!