After we decided which whitewash method to use, we had to get down to the dirty work. In this case, that meant cutting and whitewashing 72 planks. We could have made this job a lot easier on ourselves by using pre-cut lumber or perhaps achieving a similar look using v-groove boards or beadboard... so why DIY our own planks? We did it for a few reasons: we wanted wider planks, we wanted to be able to see the wood grain, and we wanted to create a custom look with the whitewash.
Since the planks had to adhere to the wall, we wanted to create lightweight planks. We decided to use 1/4" 4 feet x 8 feet Sanded 1-side Birch Plywood from The Home Depot. We looked at a few wood varieties - birch, pine, fir - but the birch had the graining we liked.
We had the sheets cut at the store into planks 5 and 7/8th inches each (you lose 1/8" for every cut because of the saw). First step was to give the planks a light sanding. Here's all the boards cut up. You'll notice that the boards have one "good" side; the "bad" side has the knots filled.
Next step was to create a workspace to paint the boards. We started doing them on the floor
and then we threw our backs out and then we realized using a work table would be much easier.
We found it was much easier to do the whitewash as a 2-person job. HandyMan would apply the whitewash and I would come right behind him and rag it off. Since it was so hot outside, our whitewash dried in no time and the second coat was ready to be applied almost immediately. A few tips we learned:
- Use a big rag and crumple it up. Don't fold it nicely.
- As you're ragging off, every once in a while pick up the rag and drop it down again in a crumpled heap. Rag in circular motion as opposed to a straight side to side motion. This will help prevent streaking in the paint and give you a nice even finish.
I have to admit we weren't entirely sure how this project would turn out. Would we like the whitewash or think it looked cheesy??? Turns out, we loved them! Here they are, all ready to be installed.
To attach the planks to the wall, you can use any number of adhesives: contact cement, PL adhesive, carpenter's glue. PL has great adhesion but its not water-washable and its harder to spread around evenly. Contact cement gives great instant adhesion, but it has no flexibility and you can't reposition a plank once you've attached it. Carpenter's glue rolls nicely, spreads easily, is water washable and allows for a bit of movement before it dries so that's what we went with.
First, HandyMan would apply some of the glue to the wall and wait a minute or so for it to get tacky.
Then he would apply more glue to the back of the plank and simply stick the plank to the wall.
He used a spacer at the top and bottom to ensure the gaps between the planks were even. We used a scrap piece of pegboard which was just a bit smaller than 1/4". Also, be sure to use a level every few boards or so to make sure your boards are straight.
And he added some nails at the top and bottom of the plank to ensure the planks wouldn't move. The bottom half of some of our boards is behind cabinetry so he ensured our nail holes were low enough to be hidden.
Ready to see what the wall will look like? We put one of our Martha Stewart bench seat cabinets against the wall to get a sense of the final look...
Ahh, just the beachy feel we were hoping for! You can see enough of the grain like we wanted and also some variation in the wood colour. Its going to look so neat behind the craft zone banquette. We'll also be installing white ceiling trim and baseboards around the planks to make things look neater and give additional definition.
What do you think? Have you whitewashed before? Or made your own planks? Or taken on a crazy DIY project though you weren't exactly sure how it would turn out??
This project was sponsored by The Home Depot. All opinions are entirely my own.