How To Pickle Wood To Add Vintage Charm

Lot’s of people have an immense appreciation for the look of vintage, aged furniture. Antique furniture is a highly sought after home furnishing, but antique pieces can cost thousands of dollars. The alternative is to make new pieces look antique!

Faux painting methods are becoming more popular everyday as homeowners seek out ways to have the old world look without the modern prices. Pickling furniture is a great way to get that look, it can give new wood a charming aged appearance.

Years ago wood pickling was achieved by soaking galvanized nails in white vinegar for several days. The vinegar would dissolve the galvanizing off of the nails, after a few days the vinegar would be cloudy and it was then applied to the wood.

Pickled wood is becoming a very popular look again, but now you don’t have to wait days for vinegar and nails to create the solution! If you check your local hardware or paint store, you’ll find many paints that are especially for pickling. They’re usually available in either white or off white and can be either water or oil based paints.

Since they are considered specialty paints, they are generally higher than regular paint. But, you can easily make your own pickling paint for a loss less. If you choose a latex paint you’ll need to mix one part paint to three parts of water. Oil based paints will work well to, but you’ll need to mix one part paint with three parts of turpentine or paint thinner instead of using water.

Making your own pickling paint allows you to add color to the paint. But, the whole idea of pickling is that you can see the woods grain through the paint. The traditional process using nails and vinegar gave the wood a off-white or gray color that left light and dark shades of the woods grain visible. So if you do decide to add color, use pastel or light shades of paint.

The type of paint that you choose is just a personal preference. But, oil paint gives you more control over the out come. It dries slower than latex, so that if you don’t like the look you can wipe it off and start over, or just wipe some of it off. The main benefit of using latex paint is that there are less fumes. But, it dries quickly and you have to work fast to get the look you’re after.

Once you’ve made your pickling paint, it’s just simply applied using an old rag. Make sure that your wear some rubber gloves to protect your hands. Use one rag to apply the paint, then use another one to remove as much or as little as you want.

After you’ve got the entire piece of furniture done and achieved the look that you wanted, allow it to dry thoroughly. To protect the piece and your hard work, you should apply a clear sealant or coating. Use at least two coats letting it completely dry between each coat.

The best type of clear sealant to use is a clear water based formula. If you use a oil finish type you will end up with a gold tint on the piece that will change the entire look. You should also choose one that has a matte, satin or flat finish. If you use a gloss clear coat the different shadings in the woods grain won’t be as visible.

Pickling creates a dusty, washed out color that is just beautiful. And, for a more dramatic effect, choose woods that have lot’s of prominent grains. Something as simple as selecting wood pieces that have more visible grains can add to the spectrum of shades that will show through the pickling giving the piece even more old world charm!