Creating A White Washed/Driftwood Look For A Coastal Style

Deer Run Revamps
by Deer Run Revamps
2 Materials
6 Hours
I came across this gorgeous tall oak serpentine dresser. The wood needed a lot of repairing and therefore I needed to hide all of those filled areas. But, the wood is so pretty, I wanted to still highlight that grain. What better way than to white wash! This look really pops with the deep grained woods. Here's how I did it.....
First, clean your piece! I use Frenchic Furniture Paint's Sugar Soap. This stuff is a great cleaner to use before painting. It gets all the grime, oils, and dirt out without harsh chemicals and an overwhelming smell! That's right, this stuff is nontoxic, and has virtually zero smell! It's totally safe to use indoors. I wipe down the piece with the Sugar Soap, scrub it with a scrubby sponge if it's super dirty, and then wipe down with plain water.
First step when recreating this look is to sand down the wood. If your piece has paint or a thick coat of varnish, you may want to strip it first to cut down sanding time. I wanted a somewhat rough surface, so I didn't do my usual sanding routine. Instead, I started with 80 grit and removed all of the original stain and finish. Then I went to 100 grit to remove any leftover stain, then 150 to even out the surface and stopped here. The higher in grit you go, the more closed the grain will become, and I wanted an open grain for this look. You can see how open and deep the grain is on the piece, perfect for layering!

Go ahead and paint just the frame and sides of the piece. I mixed together a few leftovers that I had laying around (you know, those paints that you used on previous projects, but now there's not enough left to do another project and wasting paint is a major no no, so mix them together and see what you get!), Frenchic's Moody Blue, Grey Pebble, and a touch of Loof to deepen the color. Frenchic Furniture Paint offers great coverage! Barely even needed a light second coat!
Now it's time for the fun stuff, white washing! (Video below) Using a container, mix together paint and water 40/60. The more water you add, the less opaque the wash will be. Then, using a sponge or brush, paint it on, wiping off excess immediately. If you want to take more paint off and it's not coming off with a dry towel, wet the towel a little bit, and remove the paint.
I wanted to make the edges and corners darker than what I showed in the video, so I used my homemade dark grey/black glaze (Frenchic's finishing coat mixed with a bit of the color Panther, a very dark matt grey), and brushed it onto the edges, blending it towards the middle and wiping away any excess. I also added Frenchic's defining wax and more browning wax to add more dimension. This process was done on the top of the dresser as well as all of the drawer fronts
The last step! Using 320 grit sandpaper, I distressed the edges and corners of the painted areas, and took Frenchic's defining wax and applied it to the corners, edges and all of the nooks and crannies to give a worn look
I cleaned up and waxed the drawer sides, then alternated between two coordinating contact papers for the drawer liners to finish off this coastal cutie.
My goal was to make this piece look like it had been sitting on a deck of a beach house for awhile, and I think I came pretty close 😍
You can find everything used to create this beauty as well as prices and shipping information on this piece and so many others in our Etsy shop. Or if you're local to the Jersey shore, save on shipping and head over to our booth 😉
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As always, if you have any questions, please feel to reach out or ask below 😉
I hope this tutorial has inspired you to create something beautiful ❤️
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  2 questions
  • Cindy Smith Cindy Smith on Feb 10, 2020

    This piece is absolutely beautiful! Is it for sale? I'd be interested...

  • Kathy Kathy on Feb 11, 2020

    Do you do this for customers I have a nice piece but don’t have the timeWould you be interested in doing it

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  • Dl.5660408 Dl.5660408 on Feb 10, 2021

    Love, love, love those serpentine dressers♥️ You do beautiful work

  • Anita Anita on Aug 26, 2022

    I love the look of this technique! I’ve been waiting to find a look that would appeal to me and that would respect the look of my grandmother’s furniture. It was made by an ancestor at the turn of the last century. It’s not in great shape but has a lovely history. This is a nice cross between painting and keeping the wood look. Your instructions were very clear. I’ve never worked on furniture before, but I am creative and feel confident that I can do this. Thank you!