Give Furniture an Antique Look With Pickling

Adding a little brightness to a room never hurts, and pickling a wooden furniture piece can revitalize the look of any room in your house. Pickling is the process of staining a wood piece to give it a splash of white and a new look. It can also be used to give an antique feel to any wood product, from cabinets to porches. (If you aren’t familiar with the pickled look, examples of the style can be found here, here, and here.)

Before beginning a pickling project, remember to use proper safety and common sense while working. The fumes can be dangerous, so take as many breaks as possible to get fresh air. Also, use water as much as possible to thin the stain if the color is too dark, and when using cloths as a tool, be sure to always use clean cloths to reduce the chance of leaving residue on the wood. Finally, pickling stain can be difficult to clean up, so always use a solvent responsibly to clean any messes.

Pickling any wood application can be completed in ten simple steps.

Step One

Collect the following supplies:

  • One quart of white primer
  • One cup of paint thinner or water
  • Mixing can
  • Mixing stick
  • Paintbrush
  • Several old cloths
  • Steel wool or sand paper
  • Paint stripper
  • Tack cloth

Step Two

Find a well-ventilated area in which to complete the project. Good ventilation will reduce the amount of fumes you inhale while working.

Step Three

Use sand paper or steel wool to remove all sealed finishes from the wood. Do not forget to wipe any residue from the wood by using a clean tack cloth.

Step Four

Using a paint stripper, remove all the old paint from the wood for a natural look.

Step Five

Clean all surfaces of the wood. Make sure no dust or paint remains. The cleaner the wood, the better the pickling will turn out.

Step Six

After purchasing the desired pickling stain from a local hardware store, mix the pickling stain by adding one cup of water or paint thinner to one quart of primer paint. Be sure to mix the solution well.

Step Seven

Using a lightly coated brush and light brush movements, paint the stain onto the wood. Move the brush with the grain.

Step Eight

Allow the wood to absorb the stain for a few minutes. The longer you leave it on, the darker the stain will appear. Be careful not to leave the pickling stain on for too long because it’s far easier to add another coat to darken the stain than it would be to lighten it.

For a traditional pickling look, the stain should accent the natural grain of the wood and not completely change the finish. After the allotted time, wipe the stain off the application with a dry cloth.

Step Nine

Let the application dry overnight in a well-ventilated area.

Step Ten

Apply a varnish or polyurethane finish to protect the beauty of the wood and to prevent it from aging too quickly.

Pickling wood takes time and determination, but your hard work will give new life to your furniture, cabinets, or other wood pieces.

Hardwood to Go is your virtual overstock lumber yard on the web. You could call us the factory outlet mall of the lumber industry. We visit the wholesale lumberyards, buying up any small packs, overstock, and offs (defects in grading, figured lumber, extra milled stock) and then make it available for purchase online. The most common types of wood (all in small quantities) which you’ll find on are cherry, walnut, hard maple and genuine mahogany; however, we also usually have a selection of many other types of woods.

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