Category: Painting


Whitewashing

If you're looking for a way to brighten a room or revive an old piece of furniture, a whitewashed finish may be just the thing. Follow this simple how-to for best results.

Whitewashing - Furniture

Photo: bucketsofburlap.blogspot.com

In contrast to a regular paint job, whitewashing refreshes the look of wood surfaces while allowing their natural grain to show through. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but in dark or sterile-seeming rooms, the light color and pleasingly imperfect aesthetic of whitewashing can make the space appear larger, friendlier, and more comfortably lived-in. Although its results are out of the ordinary, whitewashing differs only slightly from run-of-the-mill painting. Here’s how it’s done!

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Sandpaper (or power sander)
- Broom and/or vacuum
- Cloth
- White paint
- Paint thinner
- Paintbrush
- Polyurethane sealer

STEP 1
Whitewashing works best on raw wood. That being the case, it’s critical that you remove as much of any existing finish—be it paint, stain, or varnish—as possible. Do so by thoroughly sanding the surface you intend to whitewash. Sanding by hand is one option, but it’s far quicker and easier to opt for a power sander. (If you don’t own one, you can rent one from your local home improvement center.) Before continuing on to the next step, it’s important to clear all sawdust and debris created in the course of sanding. Sweep or vacuum the area, if appropriate; otherwise, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface clean.

Whitewashing - Paneling

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Now formulate the whitewash. Rest assured there’s no complicated recipe to follow; rather, making whitewash is a simple matter of diluting regular white paint. Dilute water-based white paint with water and dilute oil-based white paint with turpentine. The precise ratio of paint to thinner depends on the look you wish to achieve. For thicker coverage, use a mixture of two parts paint to one part thinner. Reverse that ratio if you’d prefer a thinner application. Before you whitewash the entire surface, first experiment with the mixture in an inconspicuous spot. Be sure you like the way that it looks before committing. After all, it’s easy to add coverage but more challenging to take it away.

STEP 3
Apply the whitewash with a paintbrush, using long strokes in the direction of the wood grain. Because the finish dries quickly, it’s wise to complete one small section at a time. Should you prefer the wood grain to show through more than it does, use a cloth to wipe away excess whitewash before it has the chance to dry completely. Doing this should result in an attractive, washed-out look.

STEP 4
Let the first coat dry completely, then determine whether a second or third coat is desired. So long as the whitewash is dry (allow several hours), you can use fine-grit sandpaper to play down any coverage that you think seems thicker than ideal.

STEP 5
Bring the project to completion by coating it with a clear polyurethane sealer, applied with a brush as evenly as possible over the surface. Once sealed, your whitewashing should remain looking fresh for years to come.


How To: Spackle Exterior Siding

Repainting your house? To ensure a smooth finish, spackle exterior siding wherever deep scratches and gouges appear in the wood.

When you’re repainting your house, here’s how to restore that smooth, original finish. After you’ve removed all loose paint and sealed the surface with a latex primer, use a water-based exterior-grade spackle to fill in the rough areas that remain. With a four-inch putty knife, spread an even layer of spackle and smooth it out. When it’s dry, lightly sand it and apply a second coat the same way, if necessary. When the surface is perfectly smooth, apply your finish coat.

For more on painting, consider:

Exterior Paint 101
Bob Vila Radio: Exterior Painting Prep
Exterior Painting Preparation (VIDEO)


How To: Splatter-Paint Your Floor

It's stupendously easy to splatter paint—anyone can do it, even little kids. But to achieve results that you can love for years to come, bear in mind these few simple pointers.

Here’s an inexpensive and creative way to decorate a floor. Roll on a coat of deck enamel (the color of your choice) and allow it to dry for a couple of days. Then choose three contrasting colors to splatter on top. Fill your brush liberally and move it from side to side, tapping it with a stick. Splatter all three colors at once, so you don’t have to wait for each one to dry. When it’s thoroughly dry, apply three coats of polyurethane to protect the finish.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint a Wood Floor
9 Incredible Faux Finishes You Can Do Yourself
8 Ways to Age, Distress, Gild, and Add Shine to Your Next Project


How To: Make a Paint Pail

There are several good reasons not to paint directly out of a can. Instead, make a paint pail of your own within minutes.

Most professionals paint from a pail rather than a can. Painting out of a can is messy, causing rim buildup and dripping. Here’s an easy way to turn an empty paint can into a pail. Use the blade of a five-in-one putty knife to remove the can’s rim in one piece, and use the sides of the pail to remove excess paint from the brush.

For more on painting tools, consider:

Selecting the Right Painting Tools
9 Creative Uses for Old Paint Cans
Quick Tip: Avoiding Paint Spills and Spatters


Quick Tip: Exterior Painting Preparation

Planning to paint your house? Don't forget that results largely depend on whether or not you take exterior paint preparation seriously.

An exterior paint job is only as good as the prep you do first. Make sure to scrape and sand the surface to remove old peeling or flaking paint. Wash off the dirt and dust using a power washer if necessary. Patch small cracks and seams with caulk and apply primer over any bare wood before you paint.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint a House
Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a New House Color


How To: Paint Over Stain

Though it's no problem to paint over stain and other wood finishes, the key to success lies in preparing the surface properly.

You can paint over existing interior wood finishes, if you take the proper steps first. Here’s how. To paint over a stain, lightly sand all glossy surfaces until the finish is dull, then wipe it down with a damp rag dipped in de-glosser. Allow time to dry. Then with even strokes, apply a quick-dry primer-sealer to prevent bleed-through. Allow the sealer to dry, and you’re ready for your finish coat.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint EVERYTHING
Paint Makeovers: An Expert Tells All
The Perfect Paintbrush—and How to Choose It


Bob Vila Radio: Natural Paint

Thanks to manufacturing advancements, today's low- and no-VOC natural paints perform as well, and go on as easily, as their VOC-containing counterparts.

The harmful effects of VOCs on indoor air quality have received a lot of attention in recent years. In response, paint manufacturers have formulated a wealth of low- or no-VOC coatings. Here’s how to be a smart consumer and choose paints that are good for your health, your home, and the environment.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON NATURAL PAINT or read the text below:

Natural Paint

Photo: shutterstock.com

Start by reading the label on the paint can. Acceptable VOC concentrations vary from state to state, but one of the more stringent standards stipulates a VOC concentration in flat paint of no more than 50 grams per liter (g/L). But remember: A base paint may be low- or no-VOC, but added tints may contain VOCs. Before you ask for a custom mix, ask about the VOCs in the tint.

If you’re prepared to spend a little more, you can seek out one of the specialty producers that offer natural paint. These formulas draw on historic—in some cases, ancient—recipes that incorporate ingredients like milk, chalk, clay and natural pigments. These paints may require special handling or application, so read the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

The first paints with low or no VOCs got a bad rap for being difficult to apply or requiring extended drying times. Most of the better paint brands have solved these problems and now offer products that go on as easily and perform as well as their traditional VOC-containing counterparts.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Prevent Peeling Exterior Paint

With the right preparation and materials, you can prevent peeling paint on the exterior of your house, even if you live in a wet part of the country.

Here’s how to keep the exterior paint from peeling off your house, if you live in a damp climate. Using a breathable oil primer will allow moisture buildup from inside the house to escape. Cover the primer with two coats of 100% acrylic latex paint. All climates are prone to mildew, and latex paint is inherently resistant to mildew.

For more on exterior painting, consider:

Exterior Paint 101
Weatherproof with Paint
How To: Avoid Painting Problems


Bob Vila Radio: VOCs

Be wary of VOCs—toxic chemicals commonly found in paints and other household products.

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that evaporate easily, releasing potentially harmful compounds into the air. They are commonly used in paints and other household products that contain solvents. VOCs are known to cause respiratory irritation and other health effects, but the long-term consequences of household exposure to these compounds are not yet clear. Some VOCs are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected, in certain concentrations, of causing cancer in humans.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON VOCs or read the text below:

VOCs

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It’s wise to limit your family’s exposure to VOCs during your home renovation projects. When you’re painting, choose low-VOC paints and make sure that the area you’re working in is extremely well ventilated. VOCs are at their highest concentration during painting and while the paint is drying, so once a job is finished, try to stay out of newly painted rooms for a few days or arrange to sleep elsewhere.

Be careful with leftover paint. Make sure paint can lids are firmly closed to limit off-gassing during storage. Once the lids are secure, turn paint cans upside down to create an airtight seal.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Make Your Own Milk Paint

If you love the beauty of antique painted furniture, you can re-create that same pigment-rich, matte-finish look with milk paint—that you can make yourself.

Milk Paint Recipe - Furniture

Photo: nattybydesign.com

Everyone knows that milk does a body good. But were you aware that milk also works wonders for walls and furniture? Yes! It’s the main ingredient in a finish aptly known as milk paint. A viable and sometimes preferred alternative to water- or oil-based products, nontoxic milk paint delivers a matte look that mimics the appearance of a seasoned, decades-old paint job. It can be found online or in stores, but with the following milk paint recipe, you can easily make your own.

INGREDIENTS
- Skim milk
- Lime juice
- Cheesecloth
- Powdered pigments

STEP 1

Milk Paint Recipe - Curdling

Photo: foodfor7stagesoflife.com

Start by curdling the milk. You can do so in virtually any container; use whatever you have at ready disposal, be it a sauce pot or a frying pan. Pour in the liquids, using a half-cup of lime juice for every quart of skim milk, then wait. The curds must be allowed plenty of time to separate. Let the curdling milk sit overnight at room temperature.

STEP 2

Milk Paint Recipe - Collecting

Photo: foodiescoop.blogspot.com

Tie cheesecloth over a large mixing bowl or a sieve. Next, pour the curdled milk into your chosen receptacle. Watch as the cheesecloth separates the whey from the curds. Once they are strained, rinse the curds in water, then keep them moist. If the curds get too dry, your milk paint is liable to end up being gritty.

STEP 3

Milk Paint Recipe - Pigments

Photo: harpersuplies.storenvy.com

Having chosen the pigment you like best, add a sprinkle of the powder to the curds, then stir. Remember that the more pigment you use, the darker your milk paint is going to be. As a precaution, wear a dust mask when handling pigments; even the natural variety contains airborne particles that can irritate the lungs.

STEP 4

Milk Paint Recipe - Colors

Photo: theimaginationtree.com

Any porous surface (including wood) accepts milk paint. Because the stuff lightens a bit once it’s dry, a few coats may be necessary in order to get the color you want. Most important, waste little time before using the milk paint; it spoils within only a few days. And if you’re painting outdoors—or live somewhere with high humidity—it’s strongly recommended that you protect the paint job you’ve worked so hard to complete with a coat of water- or oil-based polyurethane sealer.