Create the appearance of worn wood with a whitewash finish.

How to Whitewash Pine

by Heather Montgomery

If you love the grain on your pine but do not like any traditional stain colors, whitewashing might be the right choice. Whitewash is a pickling technique that gives your wood an aged, worn and rustic appearance reminiscent of the era of whitewashed fences. With whitewash, you change the appearance of pine furniture, floors and paneled walls, and the finish fits in with the decor of a nursery, office or kitchen. While you can create your own whitewash with latex or oil paint, using a premixed whitewash pickling solution takes the guesswork out of the process.

Put down drop cloths to cover floors and surrounding furniture.

Sand the pine with a palm sander that has a 120-grit disc. Use 120-grit sandpaper sheets for areas you can't reach with the palm sander. Wipe away sawdust with a tack cloth.

Apply a coat of wood conditioner to seal some of the grain and prevent blotches, using a quality paintbrush. Allow the conditioner to dry and cure according to the manufacturer directions. Lightly sand the piece to smooth any wood grain that swelled with the conditioner. Wipe away sawdust with a tack cloth.

Shake the can of whitewash to combine it. Apply the whitewash stain to the pine with long paint strokes, going in the direction of the wood grain. Wipe off excess stain with a clean, fiber-free rag. Allow the stain to dry according to manufacturer directions.

Lightly sand the pine with 120-grit sandpaper and wipe away dust with a tack cloth. Apply a coat of water-based polycrylic, and allow it to dry for at least four hours. Sand this first coat with 220-grit sandpaper and wipe away dust with a tack cloth.

Apply the final coat of polycrylic using even strokes, with the grain and slightly overlapping each stroke to prevent brush marks. Allow the polycrylic to cure completely before placing items on your newly whitewashed pine.

Items you will need

  • Drop cloth
  • Palm sander
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood conditioner
  • Quality paintbrush
  • Whitewash stain
  • Rag
  • Water-based polycrylic
  • 220-grit sandpaper


  • If your pine has an existing stain or varnish, you will need to strip the piece to bare wood before whitewashing.


  • Work in a well-ventilated area and keep children away from stain and polycrylic at all times.

About the Author

Based in Lakeland, FL., Heather Montgomery has been writing a popular celebrity parenting blog and several parenting and relationship articles since 2011. Her work also appears on eHow and Everyday Family and she focuses her writing on topics about parenting, crafts, education and family relationships. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in early education from Fort Hays State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images