Whitewash can add an antique look to wood paneling and infuse character into an otherwise dull-looking room. Generally, a whitewash effect is created with a lime-based solution. However, you can generate the same look with oil-based paint. Before you attempt to whitewash your paneling, you'll need to know a few important preparation and application techniques, or you may end up with a messy-looking finish that won't hold up over time.
Cover the flooring adjacent to the paneling with heavy-duty fabric dropcloths.
Abrade the surface of the paneling to promote adhesion by sanding it with 80- to 120-grit sandpaper.
Remove dust from the paneling that might interfere with adhesion by wiping it down with a tackcloth.
Apply blue painter's tape to any areas you want to protect from the paint.
Create the whitewash solution by mixing 1 pint of mineral water with 1 gallon of white, semi-gloss oil-based paint. Mix the solution in the 5-gallon bucket, and stir it thoroughly with a wooden stir stick.
Snap the nap cover to the roller frame. Apply the whitewash to the paneling, using the roller. Roll very slowly as the solution will be thin, which can lead to splattering if you roll too quickly. Allow the whitewash to dry for 20 minutes.
Wipe down the surface with cotton rags.