DIY How to Whitewash with Chalk Paint

Did y’all see my Instagram stories last week about my progress on this bookshelf? I didn’t actually have a plan for this piece. Initially, I thought I would paint it white and call it a day. Then I realized I didn’t have enough white chalk paint left, and in an effort to use the paint I already own as opposed to buying new paint, I came up with this beautiful result and I couldn’t be happier! This was certainly a project that evolved as I painted it, and sometimes those are simply the best kind of projects.

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**COUPON CODE ALERT: Before I dive in, I styled my bookshelf with this farmhouse sign from Huckleberry Ave. Although the giveaway is closed, you can still use a coupon code to get 15% off your order. This code is good through the last day of June 2019!

15% coupon code: JACKIEANNE


This whitewash technique can be used on any project you can think of! Today, I did this technique on top of a painted color. But you can do this on raw or sanded wood, on top of darker colors, or even with dark paint colors. This is a really fun technique you can play with to achieve a variety of looks once your learn the basics. The best part? It is incredibly easy!

If you would like some beginner’s info on using chalk paint, head to THIS blog post I did on using Chalk Paint. Today I won’t be covering a ton of those basics, so if you are unfamiliar with this type of paint, I would read that post first, then swing back here!



  • Chalk Paint for your base (I used Annie Sloan’s Old Ochre)
  • Lighter color Chalk Paint for your whitewash (I used Annie Sloan’s Old White)
  • Odorless Mineral Spirits, find it HERE
  • Klean-Strip Liquid Sander Deglosser, find it HERE
  • Paint Brush, obsessed with mine, click HERE
  • Old rags
  • Canvas Drop Cloth, find it HERE
  • Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, like THIS
  • Low grade cheese cloth, THIS bulk package would be ideal if you plan to paint often
  • 400 grit sandpaper, wet or dry paper works best like THIS
  • Large wax brush, THIS set is awesome



Again, head to THIS blog post to get the full step-by-step on how to prep your furniture piece. Before I used the sander deglosser, I actually wiped my piece thoroughly down in Mineral Spirit and an old rag. I have had a lot of issues lately with starting to paint, only to realized my piece wasn’t prepped enough, so I added this step in. For my info on this, head to THIS post to learn about issues you may face with chalk paint and how to fix them.

Next, paint your piece with at least two full coats so the entire piece is completely covered. I discuss how to achieve this complete coverage and smooth finish HERE. I painted with the Old Ochre.


Okay here’s where we deviate from the normal chalk paint procedures. I make my whitewash in a mason jar so I can put a lid on it and use it later (or else this mixture would dry). You are making a mixture of paint and water. I started by adding a little water in my mason jar, then spooned in a little Old White paint. I don’t make huge batches of whitewashing at once, since a little goes a long way. You can always make more!

I love making the wash in a mason jar!

Do you want a transparent, subtle whitewash? Make a ratio with more water than paint. Do you want your whitewash to be noticeable? Add more paint to your mixture. I don’t measure how much water and paint I’m adding, I just play with the mixture until I get the look I’m going for. It’s always nice to have a scrap piece of wood to practice on. I didn’t have one, so instead I tested the whitewash on the bottom of my bookshelf, no one will ever see it! I chose to go with a more noticeable whitewash, since this base color is very similar to my walls already.


Grab your Annie Sloan paint brush and make sure it is slightly damp (I run it under cold water then squeeze out the excess). Make sure your brush is damp, not wet – if it is too soaked your whitewash will look watery. Dip your paint brush in the whitewash mixture so there is only a little paint on the brush. Squeeze the excess whitewash off your brush by pressing it on the side of the mason jar.

Start by painting a long stroke along the grain of your piece. Keep painting strokes until the section is covered (I like to work one side at a time, as you can’t work with the whitewash after it has dried). Depending on the look you are trying to achieve, you may or may not want to go back and get more paint. I personally wanted the old ochre to shine through, so I did not re-dip my brush that often.

To see videos of me doing this whitewash technique, head to my instagram and look at my saved highlights!

This is where you can do either of two things: leave the painted strokes as you painted them on and let them dry or go back with a dry rag and wipe off excess. This is entirely up to you, and I encourage you to practice both techniques on a piece of scrap wood or the bottom of your piece. Wiping away the excess with a rag simply helps the whitewash blend and seem less noticeable. By wiping the excess away, you will often see the grain of the wood better. I really like this on raw or sanded wood. I chose not to do this technique, as the bookshelf I was working on had so much stain and sealant on it that the wood grain is not longer visible. I also noticed (by practicing on the bottom of the shelf) when I wiped the excess, too much Old Ochre came through, which blended with my wall.

Allow this whitewash to dry for 24 hours.











**I saved me doing this in my instagram stories if you would like to see this in action. Head to @jackieanneblog on instagram!


Continue with your normal chalk paint procedures and wax. After waxing, smooth out your paint with the 400 grit sand paper, do a quick reseal, and TADA – you’re finished! Don’t know how to clear wax or smooth out using sand paper, head HERE!


Note: you could continue with a more heavy distressing using sandpaper and dark wax here, but for my piece I didn’t want to go this route. Remember, you can do whatever you want with your piece!




See how easy that was? All you need is a little water and chalk paint, and you have the ability to make a whitewash! Are you planning on trying this easy DIY? Let me know!

Tira always wants to get in a few pictures during projects lol

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