How to Make Plywood Look Like Whitewashed Beach Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • Soap

  • Water

  • 150- to 180-grit sandpaper

  • Paint mixing stick

  • Whitewash stain

  • Paintbrush

  • Rag


Whitewash stain works well with pine plywood because pine is a soft wood and absorbs the stain more easily than hard woods, such as oak.

For a high traffic area, such as a floor, apply a matte or high gloss polyurethane over the whitewash after the stain has dried.

Whitewashing allows the grain of wood to show through, but also gives it a white hue that is reminiscent of beach wood. Consequently, whitewashing is a technique that is sometimes used to update older wood or give an aged look to new plywood. You can mix whitewash or buy premixed whitewash stain for your plywood project. The time it takes to complete your project will depend on the amount of plywood you intend to whitewash.


Step 1

Clean the surface of the plywood with soap and water. Cleaning older plywood is important because any dirt, hair or dust will become embedded in the whitewash stain when it dries. Allow the wood to completely dry.

Step 2

Sand the wood, as needed, with 150- to 180-grit sandpaper. Remove all the dust created by the sandpaper.

Step 3

Use a painter's mixing stick to mix the stain, folding the ingredients from the bottom of the container into the liquid on top repeatedly until the watery appearance on top is completely gone.


Step 4

Apply whitewash stain in sections with a paintbrush on large projects or a rag on smaller jobs. Working in sections will give you a more uniform beach wood appearance. Apply the whitewash stain evenly and lightly.

Step 5

Allow the stain to soak into the wood for two to three minutes.

Step 6

Wipe the whitewashed plywood with a rag. This allows you to remove any excess stain, as well as work the stain into the wood. Wipe in the direction of the wood grain. Use a light touch and continue to wipe until you have achieved the desired whitewash hue.


Step 7

Work the whitewash stain into any knots in the plywood with the rag as you wipe. Working the stain into the knots makes the knot more prominent.

Step 8

Apply a second coat of whitewash stain, as needed, to achieve the desired color. Then repeat the wiping process to remove excess stain.



Patrice Lesco

Patrice Lesco has been a writer since 2001. Also a certified teacher, she writes for newspapers, magazines, books, theater and film. Lesco holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater from Michigan State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in education and theater from Methodist College.