How to Make Over Furniture Using Saltwash Paint Additive

1 Material
3 Hours

The Hubs and I recently visited our local auction house. We occasionally venture away from the thrift stores and yard sales to see if maybe we can luck up and find a few deals at the auction. You can read the best places to find used furniture if you’re a beginner over on the blog. While browsing the used furniture, I came across this buffet.

Old Buffet

What got my attention was those sexy legs! Aren’t they just gorgeous?

Beautiful Legs

Once I got the buffet home, it was time to determine what I would do to make it beautiful again. While attending a local vintage show, I watched a demonstration on the Saltwash Paint Additive. I was intrigued, so I purchased a can of the additive, and it sat in my cabinet for months. I decided to use it on this buffet, considering I only spent $45.00. 

To begin with, I removed the drawers and the hardware. The hardware would remain in its original state. With that being said, all that needed to be done was simply wash them in a solution of dawn dish detergent and water, just to clean.

Next, I cleaned the inside of the drawers, the inside of the buffet where the drawers had been removed, and underneath. When a piece is old, don’t forget to clean inside and the bottom. Sometimes dirt and critters get up in the cracks! You can see how I clean my old furniture over on the blog.

I then gave the buffet and the drawers a thorough cleaning with my vinegar and water mixture just to remove the grit and grime. Allow it to dry completely before you start painting.

Once the buffet had completely dried, it was time to mix the Saltwash additive with my paint. I chose Dixie Belle's Cotton as my paint color. I simply followed the directions on the back. I had never used this additive before, so it was a learning experience for me. 

Saltwash Directions

The directions stated the consistency of the mixture should be like icing. 

Icing Consistency

Rather than starting the process on the entire buffet, I decided to start with a drawer front. That way, if I totally messed it up, I would have a small area to fix and start over again. 

I did just as the directions stated. I dabbed my paint on with my brush. Yep, dab! You do not apply like you would ordinary paint. While dabbing, you want to form peaks in the paint. Here is an example of dabbing on a piece of wood. Hold your paintbrush up straight and dab.

Dabbing the Paint

Do not freak out! It will look like a big mess trust me. It is not, I promise you. Also, I recommend using a cheap chip brush.

While the paint is still tacky to the touch, lightly take your brush and gently brush down the small peeks. Do not apply pressure as you would when painting.

Brush Down Peaks

After it had completely dried to the touch, I applied a second coat in the same manner. As a result, we can see the beautiful texture.

Beautiful Texture

By this point in the project, I was confident using the additive. Therefore, I did the same method on the buffet itself, working in small sections. I also painted the wood applique in the same manner.

Buffet With Saltwash Paint Applied

I wanted the buffet to have a worn look. For this reason, I sanded around the edges and curves of the buffet.


Afterward, I removed the sanding dust with a piece of my tack cloth. I then attached the wood applique with hot glue to the center of the bottom drawer. The wax was applied with a lint-free cloth, wipe off any access.

She turned out beautiful. I still can’t get over THOSE LEGS! I am so glad I decided to do the buffet makeover using the Saltwash. It was a learning experience and I will definitely use it again.

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"It's not about what it is, it's about what it will be."


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Lucie - Oh my sander
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3 of 8 questions
  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Dec 23, 2020

    I wonder if using the salt wash product in locations rather than all over would help achieve a weathered/old appearance, using chalk paint on most of the piece. I rarely see a piece that has aged the same all over, especially an older piece. Add in some crackle too, with a hint of old color underneath. Subtle finishes so it won’t look too busy. I like the idea of some texture.

  • Pineapple Pineapple on Dec 23, 2020

    I’m sure there must be a rough texture once it’s dried. Do you sand it afterwards to smooth it?

  • Janerose Janerose on Dec 26, 2020

    Making an old piece of wood from our 1860's home [remodeling n needed to remove a wall]. Want to sand it down n add legs for a sofa table. Looking for suggestions on style of paint or should I stain? My room is done in Victorian furniture. Would it be able to have things on it that need lamps, candle sticks

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4 of 23 comments
  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Dec 30, 2019

    Looks like an interesting technique I'd like to try. Thanks for sharing!

  • 34354174 34354174 on Dec 24, 2020

    There is something about a nice smooth finish on furniture.......I think this would be great to use on vases, lamps etc.

    • Lucie - Oh my sander Lucie - Oh my sander on Jan 04, 2021

      Good idea! If you try the Saltwash additive on vases or lamps, please do not hesitate to share the final project with me! I would love to see the results.