Rag Rolling, White-Washing and Staining – Adapt Pine Furniture with Stains and Washes

Pine furniture is a very popular type, especially in the UK, and makes an affordable option for some great furniture. It is one of the most common types of wood in the world, and it’s understandable that it’s manufactured into furniture as it has a lovely color, is lightweight and easy to work with.

However, so much has been imported into the country since the 1950’s that some of it can look very tired indeed, but the wood is so versatile that there is still a lot you can do with it. There are two main ways to adapt your pine furniture. Staining can breathe new life into existing furniture and a white wash gives rustic glamour to existing furniture. Rag rolling is another technique for making your pine furniture a bit more interesting. New or old, a little DIY gives your furniture a personal touch that makes the difference between a smart new item and a unique centrepiece for your living-room or kitchen. Here’s a quick guide to how to get these styles yourself:

When rag-rolling either paint outside if it’s a nice day, or put down newspaper. You will need to dilute the base colour with one third white paint to two thirds of your colour. The rag rolled paint can be used neat. First cover the furniture with an even coat of the base paint with a brush or roller, and allow to dry. This might take a day. The next stage is to dip a cloth and squeeze off the excess paint. The rag is held scrunched in the hand and dabbed over the surface of your wardrobe or dresser. It should be regularly repositioned to allow variations in pattern. Once the surface is entirely covered the job is done.

White-washing is easier than lime-washing and gives a similar effect. Carefully diluted off-white paint is painted evenly over the surface of the object. Once it is done allow to dry and apply a clear water based varnish to protect the coating. Washes can be applied in different colors for different effects, but white-washing gives a classic rustic look. It’s a good idea to test the consistency of the paint on a piece of scrap wood to check you’re getting the effect you want.

Wood stains come in all colors and are a great way to highlight grain and give an older looking appearance. White stains give a similar effect to white-washing but allow more contrast through the wood. Dark stains give an antique effect that can compliment a classic home. Stains should be painted with the grain with a quality brush. Experiment on scrap wood before adapting your furniture, and you can change your furniture.

Omar works for UK pine furniture specialists Sheppards Furniture. He is a trainee craftsman and hopes to design and make his own furniture in the future.

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