I recently decided to add shiplap above my fireplace which turned out better than we expected, but we didn’t consider the stone around our fireplace at the time.
The shiplap was weathered — gray and white — and our stone was this dark gray, blue, brown stone. I’ve never minded it, so I’d never really given it much thought.
That is until the shiplap went in. Then I started thinking about how it was kind of clashing with the stone and something needed to be done about it.
Funny how every small project I plan on snowballs into several others in the span of a few weeks.
I knew I didn’t want to paint it a solid color. I actually didn’t mind the stone look. But I needed to lighten and brighten the stone so help it match the shiplap a little better.
THE TIPS & TRICKS I LEARNED WHEN WHITEWASHING MY FIREPLACE
I had never whitewashed before, but how hard could it be, right? You just water down some paint and give it a whirl.
But I did learn a few tips and tricks I’ll share with you so your whitewashing adventure can be even simpler than mine was!
First things first, let’s chat about what you need.
- Chalk paint (I used linen white chalk paint)
- Water (I used a 1:1 ration of paint and water)
- A paint bucket (for mixing)
- A paintbrush designed for rough surfaces
- Staining pads
- Painters tape
- Dropcloth or tarp
This is a pretty inexpensive list as far as DIY projects go, and it’s even better if you can use paint you already have on hand!
Gather all your supplies, then jump into these steps.
STEP 1: CLEAN YOUR STONE OR BRICK
This is a very important step! Spend some time scrubbing down your stone or brick with warm, soapy water, then allow it to dry completely before jumping into your whitewashing.
You need to make sure the surface is prepped to absorb the paint without any additional debris getting in the way.
STEP 2: MIX YOUR PAINT AND WATER
Grab your bucket and mix your paint and water. It really doesn’t matter what ratio you use here — the more paint you have, the thicker your whitewash will be. The more water you have, the thinner it will be.
I chose to do a 1:1 ratio of paint and water and loved the consistency for my stone. Whatever you decide, just make sure you stay consistent with it throughout your whole projects (in case you need to mix your paint multiple times).
TIP: If you get a small handheld paint bucket like I did, you can store it in a sealed gallon-sized plastic bag to ensure your paint doesn’t dry out. That way, you can use it for multiple days and not let it go to waste!
STEP 3: START PAINTING
Tape and tarp anything you need to, then grab your brush and start painting!
Test your mixture on one small section first to ensure you have the consistency you want, then keep on going! Get a single coat on then allow your whitewash to really set in and dry before determining your next steps.
This is where you’ll pull in your staining pads. As you paint, soak up the excess with your staining pads to ensure you don’t leave any drips behind!
TIP: Your stone or brick will change color over time as the paint continues to soak into the material. Do not rush a second coat because you don’t like the initial look of it! Give it ample time to dry, then decide if you want to add additional coats or colors!
I made this mistake and jumped right into a second coat, worrying the color was not what I was going for when I definitely could have waited! My color changed from a blue/gray/white to a white/gray as it dried.
Allow each coat to dry completely and repeat as necessary.
STEP 4: DETERMINE IF YOU WANT TO LAYER IN OTHER COLORS
Stone and brick are usually made up of a variety of colors and textures, so think about whether or not you want to layer in any other color to add dimension to the material.
I ended up mixing in a little charcoal chalk paint into my linen white chalk paint to create a warmer light gray color that I brushed over certain stones, especially where it was raised and textured.
I loved the depth it added to my fireplace!
STEP 5: STEP BACK AND ADMIRE YOUR PROJECT
This is an easy one, friends! Simply clean, paint, and you’re done! Once you have the desired color you are going for, step back and admire the fact that you just transformed your fireplace right before your own eyes, without letting your budget take a hit!
And it’s really as easy as that!
To recap, don’t rush the process, stay consistent, and add depth, especially when dealing with a natural element!
Do you think you’ll give whitewashing a try? Let me know in the comments!