Shiny Cherry to Boho Raw Wood Finish

by Amanda
2 Materials
4 Hours

I loved this set so much when I got it for our bedroom 10 years ago... but I am over the super shiny cherry finish. However, the set is very well made solid wood so I will not sell or get rid of it, but help it evolve with us. So I took on of the dressers down from this cherry finish to a trendy bare wood look.

Starting point

This is the finish that I was working with. I forgot to take a picture of the actual dresser I'm working on but it was the exact same finish. I didn't have the heard to fully paint over this beautiful wood so I stripped it down.

Strip off top coat

I used Citri Strip Gel. I lay it on thick and cover with plastic wrap over night. The next day I scrape it all away with a plastic scraper. After that I sanded it down with 80 grit working up to 220 grit. This is what it looked like after stripping and sanding.

Bleach the wood

As you can see on the right side of the picture the wood had a cherry hue to it. I didn't want that. So I sprayed it down with bleach and let it dry. The left side of the picture is the bleached effect.

White wash wood

Now I do love the bleached wood... BUT it will deepen when I put a poly on. To avoid that and really get the true raw wood look that I want I gave the whole thing a white wash using watered down white water based paint brushing it on. Wipe away immediately.

Brush and wipe

You can see here how watered down the paint is. When you wipe it back you can't even tell that there is paint on there. This basically blocks the poly from soaking into the wood and deepening the color.

Raw wood!

And here we are! Cherry finish to raw and light.

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Jan Jan on Nov 03, 2020

    It doesn’t look like the same piece of furniture. Where is the rest of it ?

  • Mammaw Mammaw on Nov 03, 2020

    Do you have to rehydrate the wood after you bleach it?

  • Karen Karen on Nov 03, 2020

    I hv a veneer man robe I want to paint,how do I prepare it ready for painting?

Join the conversation
3 of 30 comments
  • Chris Chris on Nov 20, 2020

    I think it turned out incredible looking. I like some above do not like changing the look of a antique pice of furniture,I do think the more modern stuff of the day,chalk painted or this is perfect. I plan to do some chalk pieces myself...or maybe try my hand at this cause I really like it. I try to give each room of my hone it’s own look so this will be a guest room or beach home. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jayne Jayne on Dec 29, 2020

    Very nice! I love it! Do you use normal household bleach?

    • Amanda Amanda on Mar 23, 2021

      Yep! No special bleach necessary... you can play around with the dilution depending on how much you want it taken down.