Everyone loves the Restoration Hardware/Pottery Barn/Ballard Designs aged wood look, right?
The finish is also often called aged oak, grey acacia, pickled or whitewashed, depending on the shade.
You know the one?
It looks a little grey, a little natural and all refined rustic.
It's one of my favorite looks in decorating. I'd fill my house with it if I could! So when we were deciding on a finish for our new dining room table when we gave the dining room a makeover, it was my first choice to try to replicate.
Before we started this project I didn't even know what to look for to get the finish I was after. But after some searching around I found Minwax's water based White Wash Pickling stain. And their other tintable water based stains! Other companies have similar finishes, such as sun-bleached.
White Wash Pickling
- Raw wood table, sanded smooth and free of debris
- Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
- Minwax Clear Tint Base – in American Walnut
- Minwax White Wash Pickling
- Minwax Polycrylic in Satin Finish
- Purdy Paint Brush
- lint free cloth (not shown)
- fine grit sandpaper (not shown)
1. Apply Minwax water based Pre-Stain Conditioner over every surface. Let dry according to directions on package. The Pre-Stain Conditioner simply allows for even coverage on all parts of the wood, including knots, etc.
2. Apply tinted stain to one area at a time using a brush – for example one board at a time. Let sit for a few minutes then wipe off with a lint free cloth or rag. Let dry according to directions on the package.
3. Lightly sand with fine grit sandpaper. Wipe off all sanding debris with a clean cloth or vacuum clean.
4. Using a brush apply White Wash liberally to one area at a time. Working quickly, wipe off with a clean lint free cloth or rag. Of the whole project, this is the trickiest step to get just right. If your brush is too dry, your finish will be too white. I suggest practicing on a spare board. Once you're finished white washing the entire table, let dry according to directions on the package.
5. For a rustic looking imperfect table top, gently sand with low grit sandpaper and a palm sander. This also helps to tone down the slightly blue tinge of the white wash pickling.
6. Using a clean quality brush, apply a thin coat of Polycrcylic in Satin finish for protection from food stains and spills. Let dry. Repeat once.
- I can't say enough about the Pre-Stain Conditioner. I've never used it before, seeing it as an unnecessary step and added cost. However, I'm sure it's the reason all of our stain went on so smoothly this time despite using inexpensive soft wood.
- I used all water-based products for this project. Water based stain totally rocks for this finish. The fast dry time and lack of headache-inducing stench is a complete bonus!
- Leave the tinted stain on for a few minutes before wiping it off, BUT wipe off the White Wash Pickling ASAP! Unless you want a really white almost blue finish. Live and learn, right?
- The poly on top (to protect the table from kids spills) makes the pickling look a little bluer than it is. If you don't like that and you aren't worried about major spills, you could just use a clear or natural wax (beeswax would be perfect!) to protect the table.
So that's the secret – water-based stain and White Wash Pickling stain. Who knew?!
In case you're wondering – this is the finish we used when we built our farmhouse table.
Have you ever used white washed anything? What about a White Wash Pickling finish?