How to Pickle Beadboard Panels
Beadboard panels can be used on any wall in your home as wainscoting. One choice of finish is to pickle the beadboard after installation. Similar to staining, pickling beadboard panels allows the grain of the wood to show through very subtle hues of your chosen color. The most common color associated with pickling is white, but there are a variety of color options available.
Step 1 - Preparing the Surface
For new beadboard panels, simply wipe the wood to remove any construction dust and debris. For finished beadboard, you must remove all existing finish (paint, shellac, etc.) sanding it down starting with coarse-grit sandpaper gradually changing to medium-grit, and finishing the process with a fine grit (likely 120 grit) to remove the remaining deep scratch marks left by the coarser grits. The surfaces should then be thoroughly cleaned from any dust by wiping with a clean rag or preferably a Tack cloth.
Step 2 - Pickling the Surface
Combine 3 parts of a water-based paint with 1 part water, to make a pickling stain. Mix well. Apply paint mixture to the beadboards, using either a clean rag or a natural bristle paintbrush. Using a clean rag, remove most of the paint mixture. After completely dry (12 to 24 hours), lightly sand with 150-grit sandpaper. Do NOT remove all the paint. Wipe the surface with a tack cloth, to remove dust. Apply a second coat of the paint mixture, in the same manner as the first coat. Repeat until desired saturation has been achieved, being certain to sand lightly between coats.
Step 3 - Protecting the Finish
Once the final coat of "whiting" is completely dry, protect the surface with water-based polyurethane, using the natural bristle brush. After allowing the polyurethane to dry (according to instructions), apply a second coat to the beadboard panels.