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How To Color Wash Painted Furniture | Cedar Chest Makeover

Color wash painted furniture just like you white wash paint, except use any color but white!

That’s right. I know you’ve heard of whitewashing. Well, I did a green color wash and a whitewash over turquoise paint. The color wash finish looks great, although I do have a tip for you about the type of paint not to use. I filmed a really short video of the color wash technique and you can get a good look at the process.



before makeover photo

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve painted this cedar chest but it’s a bunch. Maybe 6? The chest has been in spots all over our house….except maybe the bathroom. Time for it to go, and it needs a new color. I’m sharing every single step.

Today is the Furniture Fixer Upper tour and we have some great makeovers for you. The tour links are at the bottom of the post.

first coat of paint on cedar chest

How To Color Wash Painted Furniture

The first coat of paint didn’t cover that black very well. I was using FolkArt Home Decor Chalk, color Patina. The chalk finish usually covers really well.

painting a cedar chest

I applied a second coat and a third coat of paint. I wasn’t feeling the color. It was too light.

painting furniture turquoise

I mixed a darker turquoise color with the Patina color and it was perfect.

FolkArt paint

These are the two FolkArt colors I mixed together to get just the perfect color, Martinique and Patina.

how to apply color wash to furniture

Now it’s time for the magic. I diluted green paint with water to make it very thin. Then I poured a bit of the thinned green paint onto a paper plate.

green color wash on turquoise paint

I dabbed a bit of the thinned green paint on a lint-free rag and rubbed the paint wash on all of the raised details.

white wash on furniture

I let the green color wash dry, then used a lint-free rag to apply a whitewash (thinned latex paint) over the greenwash. This is where I ran into a problem and I should have known better.

I used green acrylic paint. The kind that comes in little bottles at the craft store. I’ve found the paint tends to wash off when it gets damp. That happened to me once upon a time with a stenciled design on painted furniture.

That is what happened to a lot of the greenwash on this cedar chest. I didn’t have any green latex paint so I used acrylic paint instead. Live and learn.

How To Color Wash Painted Furniture

The green is so pretty, if I do say so myself.

Color Wash painted Furniture

The piece still turned out pretty, just not as much green as I would have liked. You can see in the photo above that I also brushed some green paint along the sides of the chest.

How to color wash furniture. Turquoise painted cedar chest with a light green color wash.

It is amazing what a difference layering paint makes to the final finish. The green and then the white paint adds depth and character to the finish.

how to paint a vintage cedar chest with detailed wood trim

Watch the short video showing the color wash and white wash technique…

How To Color Wash Paint

How To Apply A Color Wash To painted Furniture

What do you guys think of the chest? I should have bought some latex paint and added more green right?

This is a safety alert from Lane…..Since many of our cedar chest products have withstood the test of time and have been in homes for decades, there have been cases where children have climbed inside chests with old style latching mechanisms and locked themselves in, and there have been incidences of suffocation inside chests. As a result of this important and urgent safety concern, Lane has launched numerous successful programs since 1987, all concentrating on lock replacement. However, based on our best records, there are still an estimated 6 million chests owned by consumers that may require the new lock upgrade. Please click here for more information

color wash and white wash furniture

To see 13 more of my best cedar chests makeovers click here.

Time to visit my furniture painting friends. Just click the links below the “before makeovers” photo collage…..

Furniture Fixer Upper makeover projects

Girl in the Garage
Confessions of a Serial DIYer
Just The Woods
Salvaged Inspirations

As always, thanks for being here, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. I think it has just the right amount of green as it is. Great combination! How did mixing chalky paint and outdoor paint work for you?

  2. Turquoise is my favorite color. It looks fabulous. Oh, the places I could use that piece!!!!

  3. Kathy I love the colors you choose for this chest. Reminds me of the Caribbean… ??

  4. What a great ‘spring’ makeover… the colors are fresh and beautiful Kathy! Pinned! XOXO