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Whitewashing Wicker

How many of you have baskets lying around the house that don’t quite fit the look you’re going for in your home? There’s an easy fix for that – whitewash.

With spring in the air, it has put me in the mood to lighten up the colors around my house, so I thought I’d start small by whitewashing some baskets. When you see just how easy it is, you might be tempted to whitewash everything in your home!

To get started, select a basket made of a porous material, not one that is smooth and laquered. The whitewash needs to be able to seep into the material a bit. The other materials you need are:

  • White interior house paint (flat, if you want a "chalky" look)

  • Water

  • Plastic container for mixing

  • Paintbrush (I used an angled trim brush)

That’s it! Of course, you’ll need to cover your work surface. Be sure that what you use is water proof. The whitewash can be drippy and will soak right through newspaper. Also, cover a large area because the whitewash will splatter quite a bit. I just love this old tray table that I worked on. My father used it for his housepainting projects when I was growing up. It's a visual history of our home all in one spot.

To create the whitewash, mix the white paint with water. The proportions will depend upon how saturated you want the whitewash to be. For a lighter, more faded look, mix 1:1 (one part paint to one part water). For a denser whitewash, try 2:1 (two parts paint to one part water).

Once the paint and water are mixed, you are ready to start. If you want some of the original basket to show, apply the whitewash with a light touch, like in the lower right of the basket above. If you want to completely cover the basket and have trouble getting in under the weave of the material, try a stipple brush or a child’s craft paintbrush.

It won't take long for the basket to dry. Once it does, you can decide if you want to add extra coats to lighten it up even more. And that’s it! You might have recognized the small basket I painted from my dining room in my earlier post "Extreme Neutrals". Here it is now, refreshed and ready for spring.

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