Pickling, bleaching, whitewash—they're all variations on the theme of treating light-colored woods, usually pine, oak, or ash, to make them appear even lighter, almost ethereal. This "limed" look stems from the 16th-century European practice of infusing wood with a paste of caustic lime to ward off insect infestation. Even then, it was appreciated for its decorative value.
Ask TOH users about Painting

Contribute to This Story Below

    More in Painting & Finishes

    Tools List

    • Sanding Sponge
      medium-grit and fine-grit sanding sponges to open the wood's pores and sand between clear coats
    • utility vacuum
      vacuum with brush attachment and microfiber cloths to remove sanding dust
    • disposable cup
      two disposable cups and wide-mouth container to mix primer and water
    • 4-inch paintbrush
      4-inch nylon-polyester paintbrush to apply pickling solution
    • 2-and-a-half-inch paintbrush
      2½-inch nylon-polyester paintbrush to apply clear coat
    • paint cup and liners
      paint cup and liners
    • cleaning rag
      clean, dry rags

    Shopping List

    1. White latex primer-sealer to dilute with water to create a pickling paint (or use an off-the-shelf formula, such as Minwax's White Wash Pickling Stain)

    2. Water-based polyurethane to clear coat and protect the pickling. Satin will look the best.