One of the most asked questions about our farmhouse is “How did we get our ceilings to look like they are reclaimed wood?”.
Here is a step by step tutorial on How to Whitewash Wood to achieve the appearance of reclaimed wood. My goal was for the farmhouse ceilings to look like distressed, reclaimed lumber.
This technique can be used for any new wood project that you want to have an aged appearance. You will want the paint to appear to have worn off, slowly over time.
Materials Needed to whitewash wood
The ceilings in the farmhouse are new pine beaded board and in order to achieve a distressed, whitewashed look, you need to begin with a gray stain. This will make the new wood appear to have aged.
- Classic Grey Stain
- White Paint Color of your choice – I used Benjamin Moore White Dove
- Rags for applying stain and wiping excess paint.
- Paint Brush
This technique works well with any new wood project. Check out – Easy Made Farmhouse Table Riser
First, here’s something we should have done differently. Hindsight is 20/20 or so I’m told.
We decided on this technique after the wood ceilings were installed. This technique would have been easier and more cost effective if the boards had been stained before they were 20 feet in the air.
How to Whitewash Wood
I began with a sample board to show my painting contractor how the whitewashed ceiling should look. Fortunately, he was willing to duplicate this technique on the ceiling.
New Wood Made to Look Old – Sample Board
Begin with the gray penetrating stain and using a soft cloth, wash the stain over the entire surface of your wood. Follow the grain of the wood while applying.
(Affiliate links are used for your convenience. Read my full disclosure here.)
Once dry, the wood will have an appearance of aged or old wood. It’s important to age the new wood with the gray stain before applying the whitewash technique. Without adding the stain, the wood would have a pinkish or pickled appearance, instead of gray.
How to add Whitewash
Now it’s time to add the whitewash to your stained wood.
Note: For this example, I used chalk paint instead of investing in the interior latex paint that was applied to my ceiling. For the record, the ceiling paint was White Dove by Benjamin Moore and is the same color that was used on the shiplap walls.
In order to achieve a distressed, whitewash appearance, you need to wipe the excess paint from your brush before applying to your wood. I call this a dry brush technique.
Begin by applying a small amount of the white paint to your brush. Using a rag cloth or paper towel, remove excess paint. Lightly swipe the paint brush over the surface of the wood without completely covering the wood and the stain.
Once again, follow the wood grain while applying the paint. You should see random areas of exposed stain and the paint should appear to be worn due to age.
If you’d like to know more about using Chalk Paint, see How to Use Chalk Paint Tutorial.
the Whitewashed Ceiling
Here is a good view of the technique on the underneath side of the stairs.
To assure that the paint colors work well together, we chose to use the same White Dove paint on the shiplap walls.
In addition, I was so thankful for a painter who was willing to attempt my crazy idea while standing on a 20 foot scaffold.