Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whitewash Brick Tutorial

We had some fabulous spring weather in Tennessee this weekend.  I don’t know about you all but a big dose of sunshine after single digit temps makes me want to lighten and brighten everything within reach!  Luckily for me, I was able to do just that on a client’s brick fireplace and luckily for you there’s a tutorial so you can do the same. 

FP collage

So here’s what you’ll need:
- any white paint
- water
- paint brush
- paper towels
- painter’s tape
-masking paper (optional for covering the floor)

I started by taping off the trim around the fireplace and covering the floor with masking paper.  Whitewashing can be very drippy and splattery so you’ll want to take the extra step to ensure a clean finish.  The next step will be to create a wash by mixing a 50/50 ratio of paint and water.  For this fireplace surround, I mixed up 1.5 cups of paint with 1.5 cups of water and I only used half of it.  You can use any white paint that you have on hand {I used a mix of Sherwin Williams Dover White & Creamy-both were satin}

Now that you have your wash, you’re ready to go!  Start in an inconspicuous area so that you can see how the paint reacts to the brick.  Dip your brush into the wash but be sure to drag your bristles across the lip of the can to remove excess liquid {or you’ll have drips & runs everywhere}.  Paint the wash over a small section of bricks starting with the grout lines and then working your way to the faces of the brick. 

in process 3
Now, take a wadded up paper towel and quickly blot the bricks.  You’ll notice that this takes the brick from looking painted to looking washed.  Blotting or dabbing the paint instead of wiping is best because it will add texture for a more natural look.  You can see in the picture below the difference between the blotted bricks at the top and the one at the bottom where the wash was applied but not blotted.

in process 4   
One thing to note is that bricks are very porous and will begin to “soak up” the wash.  As you move along, you’ll notice the brick color starting to show through in previous sections.  You can see that in this picture. 

in process 5
This is normal so just keep going until you have a first coat on the whole piece.  If you feel you want more coverage, apply a quick second coat using the same brush then blot method.  I applied a second coat to the brick faces only {not the grout}.  This picture shows the subtle difference between coats.  The bricks above the fireplace have only 1 coat while those on the right side have 2 coats of wash.  

in process 2
So there you go!  You now have a lighter and brighter brick fireplace!

after 4
after close 3
after close 2

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  1. Awesome! Thank you so much for this tutorial!!!

  2. I've thought about doing this to the brick on the front of my house. Thanks for the how to and for linking up at The Makers!
    Corey @

  3. Anonymous3/01/2014

    Does the white wash have a pinkish tone on the bricks or is this just how it looks on line?

    1. It actually doesn't look pink at all. You can see some red showing through, which is the difference between a wash vs paint.

  4. Cindy, have you ever done brick (interior or exterior) with a chalk paint white wash mixture? I know I can use a lime mixture but that seems like a pain timid up. I really don't want to use latex paint since it may peel over time? Thoughts on this appreciated! Thank you!

  5. beautiful! such a pretty it

    locksley lane

  6. Thank you Cindy for the Tutorial. I have a client that is interested in having me white wash her exterior brick. Will this process accomodate exterior brick as well as interior? Do you recomend applying a clear coat over the white wash for protection against the exterior elements? Thanks again, Colby

  7. I LOVE this! I have been searching everywhere for something to do with my dark red brick fireplace and this is the perfect solution as I wanted to keep some of the brickiness - if ya know what I mean. Thank you!

  8. Anonymous10/08/2014

    Hi, I've wanted to paint our brick fireplace and have looked everywhere for a tutorial. Thank you for this! I've recently gotten into using Annie Sloan Chalk paint on furniture, have you ever used it on brick?

  9. What paint do you recommend to ensure you can easily wipe off soot?

  10. Anonymous6/30/2015

    Great work! I am going to give this a try on an exterior brick chimney. Hope it looks as nice as yours!! Luke.

  11. Beautiful! Exactly what we want to do to ours, and the look we're going for in our dark living room. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  12. Thank you so much! I was confused about which type of color to use etc. your tutorial made it all clear... I'm now more inspired than ever to try this out :) thanks again!

  13. Thank you for the very detailed tutorial I am now confident to do this to my fireplace as well. Thanks! Wish me luck today��

  14. I was wondering if you could help me out. What would you charge someone to whitewash their fireplace? I have someone ask me to do it and i don't know how much to charge her. Would love your opinion!

    1. Bonnie3/10/2016

      Hi, have you gotten a reply? I also was asked and don't know what to charge.

  15. Anonymous5/04/2016

    I have an area that the coverage is heavier than the rest of the fireplace. Can I remove, or lighten, the coverage once installed?

    1. I just did the same thing today! :( I"m hoping someone replies to this so I know how to "fix" my overly-painted/not blotted spots.