Many women today seem to favor the antique, distressed look for their home decor. I am definitely one of those women! There’s something very feminine and beautiful about antiques.
Whether it’s paint that has chipped off or rough edges that have formed from wear and tear, antiques are classy. If you like the chippy, weathered look, I have the perfect product: Saltwash.
Thankfully, this look is not hard to create. If you have a piece or pieces of furniture that you would like to give a new look to, join me. I have a DIY video and steps that you can follow that will leave you smiling!
What is Saltwash?
Saltwash is a powder that almost looks like baking powder. It has become known to create a “sun and salt air” soaked look. Additionally, this powder has a base coat formula that can be mixed with your preference of any brand or type of paint.
Once you create your mixture, it can be used on any piece of furniture or surface.
You will be amazed at the results! Authentic, chipped, worn and weathered effects will leave you mesmerized. I highly recommend this seemingly magic powder.
What you need to use Saltwash
Just a few items for a big difference
This is not a big and expensive DIY project, which is always a great thing!
You will need:
- 1 can of Saltwash: available at ilovesaltwash.com. It comes in a 10 ounce or 4 ounce can with a cute lady on the label. I usually buy the 10-ounce cans. You can use the remaining mixture for small pieces of furniture such as a jewelry box or a small bedside lampstand.
- 2 colors of paint (milk, chalk, or latex), preferably colors that will complement each other.
- 1 chippy paint brush
- 1-2 strong/sturdy stir sticks
- 1 Sherwin Williams plastic mix container (1 quart) OR you can use any disposable plastic container that comes with a lid.
- Sandpaper (by hand or you can use an orbital sandpaper)
- Your piece of furniture that you’re going to give a chippy, weathered look
Two colors of paint
You’ll need two different colors of paint. For my video, I’m going to use General Finishes’ Seagull Gray (one of my favorite grays that are out there). I’d describe this color like an elephant ear gray- very light, very pretty.
For my top coat, I’m going to use General Finishes’ Snow White. I’d describe this like a farmhouse white. It’s purely white.
These two colors complement each other well for the chippy, weathered look. Since the Snow White is the top coat, once it’s sandpapered, the Seagull Gray will begin to stand out. Coming from the underneath to the surface adds to a distressed look.
If you need some ideas on two-color combinations, browse through these colors! They are beautiful and perfect for this DIY project.
Chippy paint brushes
Chippy brushes. They are fun to say and easy to use. I usually buy a box of 10-15 brushes, for roughly $7! Be sure to throw these away when you’re done using them.
You can get these from Lowe’s or Home Depot. Make sure they’re strong.
Plastic container with a lid
I get the Sherwin Williams 1 quart container. It is specifically used for mixing. Since you’re going to mix your choice of colored paint with the Saltwash, the remaining mixture can be stored in this container. It is roughly $1.
Don’t worry about spending so much on these containers. Plastic will do just fine. Glass containers wouldn’t be useful because you will want to throw away the plastic mixing containers when you’re done. Dollar stores would be a great place to buy these plastic containers.
We’re using sandpaper for the second paint or top coat. Once we start sandpapering, you’ll begin to see the undercoat, or the first color of paint you applied. That is where the chippy, weathered look will stand out. By hand or orbital sandpaper.
Your piece of furniture
I’m going to use Saltwash for an old dresser, to which I applied a primer coat. Choose your piece of furniture that you’d like to give a new look! You don’t have to sandpaper the furniture prior to painting it with Saltwash.
Nightstands are perfect for this DIY project. You can prep and paint a salvaged nightstand or give it a “sun-weathered” look! It can make your bedroom look more relaxing and warm. I seriously think you’re going to love this!
Go thrift store shopping or hopping
If you can’t find something that you want Saltwash or “experiment” with just yet, go to the thrift store(s)! You’ll find plenty of pretty junk that are yelling your name for attention. Don’t worry about how dirty they look.
Let’s begin our chippy, weathered look!
Parts of my chosen dresser were already chipped but nasty. Sometimes, the pieces of furniture that I salvage are at the point in which anything I try to do doesn’t help remove the nastiness. Saltwash comes in perfectly for this because of the distressed and chippy look it creates, even for the impossible.
Start with your mixture
Be sure to put in a little extra strength when you open the Saltwash container. The lid is strongly stuck on the container. Getting the lid off is probably the hardest step, but you can do it!
You don’t need a whole pint of paint to mix with Saltwash. Honestly, I measure as I go when I make my mixture. However, if this is especially your first time, the mixture ratio is 1 part paint to ¾ part Saltwash.
As I had already mentioned earlier, I’m using Seagull Gray for the undercoat. This undercoat is the mixture that will actually have the Saltwash mixed in it. It will be the coat that has the chippy, weathered look.
The other paint, Snow White, will be the topcoat. Remember not to mix the topcoat with any Saltwash. It is only for the undercoat. We will sandpaper the top coat after it has dried.
Not edible cake batter mixture
Mix your paint mixture with your stir stick as you add the Saltwash powder. You’ll begin to see the mixture becoming lumpy. Don’t worry- you want the mixture to have nasty-like lumps and globs.
If you want a more visual description: globby, nasty, “oh, that doesn’t look right” effect. Believe me, you’ll see how the globs will help create our desired effect. Moreover, like cake batter that isn’t all the way mixed.
Or as one of my fans described it, “like doing mud for ceramic tile”, if that helps you get a better visual idea. Surprisingly, the lumps are what gives the weathered look as it dries.
And it’s time to paint!
Globs and lumps
Apply it thickly. Remember to use chippy brushes. Don’t try to save and reuse these brushes; toss them when you’re done.
Apply your mixture in a heavy, glob-like technique. Dip your chippy brush, covering around ½ of the tips of the brush. You should be able to see the lumps and globs on your brush.
One of the fun ways I remember to do for this chippy, weathered look is making “mountain peaks”. These peaks are made by dabbing the tips of the chippy paintbrush on the surface of the furniture. Don’t paint, simply dab.
You’ll see peaks forming and you’ll want to try and maintain the same dabbing pressure and pattern throughout the whole surface.
Get your little ones or a girlfriend
This is something that your kids can help you do as well. If they like to paint, it’s the perfect and fun job for them. Just remind them that they’re not doing the trendy “dab” but rather, the literal paint dab.
Out of ideas for a girlfriend date? Ask your bestie to bring over a small piece of furniture and make some “mountain peaks” together! You really can’t mess up. The “peakier”, the better.
However, just make sure your girlfriend is not a perfectionist. This DIY project might annoy her if she is one. Nonetheless, all the work in this is simply getting the right consistency.
Make more if you need more
If you run out of the mixture, you can definitely make more. As a first-timer, it’s most likely a little hard to gauge how much of the mixture you’ll need. I hardly get the perfect amount of mixture made as well. Use the same ratio as we did earlier and it’ll hardly take a minute.
Don’t be disheartened if you think it looks gross. Again, you want to make sure that the mixture has a “cake batter with lumps” texture. There’s no real fancy way to do it. Try to get some high mountain peaks. Make it fun!
Fortunately, Saltwash mixture doesn’t take a long time to dry. If you have a semi to full sunny day, even better.
If your antique piece had some stains …
It’s no problem at all. Amazingly enough, Saltwash helps make stains look pretty and naturally distressed.
You may be wondering if you need to sandpaper your piece of furniture or give it a good cleaning prior to painting it with Saltwash. Not necessary. Again, Saltwash will cover the dirt and stains because of how thick the layer of the mixture is when dabbed.
Also, if you’re new to painting, this is seriously one of the best ways to explore painting.
Calming those mountain peaks
Once the undercoat is mostly dry, you’re going to use the same chippy brush to paint the peaks. Don’t dip the brush in the Saltwash mixture. Gently, with literally no muscle pressure, wipe softly or “calm down” those mountain peaks.
Chipping off is a good thing
Since it does dry quickly, going over the mountain peaks lightly with your chippy brush can cause the undercoat to flake off. Don’t panic. You want some paint to chip or flake off when you feather out the mountain peaks with your chippy paint brush.
This creates a big part of the chippy, weathered look.
You’ll know that you’re not “calming those mountain peaks” with a light as feather touch from your chippy paint brush if you start seeing streaks.
Play with the texture and figure out what you like
Rough it up. You want your furniture to look like it was sitting out on the porch for the last 10 years. You can always go back and add more lumps or mountain peaks if you feel like you didn’t do too good of a lumpy job.
Just make sure that you do it before you apply the second color of paint or the top coat.
If you’re not pleased with numerous mountain peaks, you can use your chippy paint brush to calm them down until you’re satisfied. If you want more peaks, then yes, dab more.
Paint on the second color
When you’re satisfied with texture and your undercoat is completely dry, paint the second color. Be sure to paint from left to right and vice versa, maintaining a smooth layer. Don’t apply it thickly.
Remember that the top coat doesn’t get Saltwash. No dabbing for the top coat either. You’ll paint instead of making mountain peaks.
Sandpaper the second coat
Start sandpapering the mountains. Not too hard nor light, but enough pressure to reveal the undercoat. You’ll definitely begin to see the undercoat, in my case- the Seagull Gray, appear with a distressed look.
Moreover, the Seagull Gray and Snow White complement each other beautifully.
Admire your chippy, weathered look furniture
You’re done! Wasn’t that an easy and fun DIY project? If you were a first timer, congratulations!
Of course, you can use this DIY project as a gift for your girlfriends or grandmas or aunties, or really- anyone! I love watching people’s reactions when I tell them how easy and fun it was to make their gift, especially when it was enjoyable for me.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and check out the line of paints I’m selling on my website to get some pretty two-color combinations for your DIY projects. Don’t forget to send me a picture of your finished product!