Making Your Own Whitewash

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What You'll Need
• Hydrated lime• Table salt• Water• Bucket for mixing• Eye protection• Gloves• Stirrer

Skill Level: Novice

Time: 15 minutes

There are many different whitewash recipes. It is a simple project that takes about 15 minutes to complete. The most difficult part is deciding which solution to use. Mixing hydrated lime and water is the most simple and popular method. However, a salt water solution will also do the trick.

Step 1 — Measure

Measure out your 5 to 1 ratio of lime to salt. When you are making the mixture for the first time, only make enough to experiment with the product you plan to whitewash so that you can see the result before you tackle the whole project.

Before you start, take a minute to test your solution in an inconspicuous area. Keep in mind that your method of application could affect your choice. Also, pay attention to the surfaces to which you're applying the whitewash. Some surfaces may not react well to the lime mixture.

WARNING: Hydrated lime burns human and animal skin and is also harmful when ingested. Wear safety goggles, gloves and protective clothing while handling it, and keep bystanders (including pets) away from it.

Step 2Add Water

Slowly add in the water. Bring your whitewash solution to the consistency of a creamy paste. Try not to go overboard and add tons of water all at once or you will end up having to measure out more hydrated lime and salt to balance it out.

Step 3Mix It Up

Use any stirring device that you are comfortable with. Be sure to get all of the dry pockets out of the mixture. Dry ingredients have a tendency to clump together and leave lumps, but you can control the texture by adding water slowly and stopping to stir the mixture before adding more.

The steps for mixing a whitewash recipe are quite simple, if you don’t achieve the desired result, there are many things that you can do to alter the outcome. You can let the solution sit overnight. You can add pigmentations to the mixture to get a different color or you can try a different recipe altogether. One simple thing you can try is omitting the salt.

You can also create whitewashes from paint. If you take the time to test your whitewash recipe, you will surely enjoy the results it brings to your project.

Edward Kimble, professional painter and author of Interior House Painting Blog, contributed to this article.