How to Create a Seaside Finish with Saltwash

This is a sponsored post, which means Saltwash sent me product in exchange for me to blog about it. Although Saltwash sent me their product, all opinions and thoughts are entirely my own.

Being an island girl now, I find myself gravitating towards weathered seaside designs. Colin laughs at me, his little pack rat, as I spend walks on the beach looking at my feet. I search for the perfect piece of driftwood, a unique shell, a polished white rock, or every beachcomber’s favourite, sea glass. I love the wear and tear the ocean places on everything it touches. Corners get softened, paint peels and flakes.

Even before moving to Vancouver Island, I was a sucker for furniture abused by nature. I loved prairie farmhouses with missing windows and holes in barn shingles that let the light in. I love a good rusty industrial piece, I even prefer it over a perfectly maintained antique.

So when Saltwash promised a product that recreates that salt and air weathered finish, I jumped at the chance to try it out. I eagerly waited for my shipment, and started a plan to refinish my Extremely Disappointing Coffee Table. I had hated my “refinish” on this coffee table from the day I did it. It was time for it to get a new life. My friend Robin said my coffee table should feel blessed by my loyalty. Or maybe her words were “you still have that thing?”

Salt wash is a very unique product. You mix it with any paint, of any colour, until you reach the consistency of icing. I will admit to being a little tripped up by this description. My baker’s mind was all “buttercream, Swiss meringue or royal icing?” I looked at the plethora of photos Saltwash shares on Instagram, and estimated that buttercream was indeed what I was going for. 

Then I globbed. Saltwash says you want to create little peaks, best achieved by basically squishing your brush against the surface and lifting straight up. Once those peaks have dried halfway, knock them down a bit with the brush. Now let it dry all the way.

The next step takes a while. Cover all those Saltwash peaks in a contrasting paint. Make sure to cover the whole surface very well, two coats if needed. I found this took quite a lot of paint. I only needed one coat, but I had chosen a new brand from Michaels (that 40% off coupon proved too enticing). The brand that shall not be named was like painting with pudding. Way too thick for my taste, but the colour was great and it got the job done. 

Once all of that had dried, I sanded , and sanded, and sanded, and rested my sore arms, and sanded more. If you decide to tackle Saltwash, get an electric sander. That or biceps. I have neither.

Once my workout was done and my Saltwash texture showed through, the end result was really pretty! I did find that my blob sizes and colour choices had given my table a more rustic plaster effect, rather than the beach vibe. In hindsight, I think some of my globs were too big. But that is part of the appeal of a product like Saltwash. Spend some time and play with it, and you will see so many finishes that are possible!

Top tips for Saltwash:

  • Practice on a small project the first time! If you don’t like the end result, it will be very difficult to get back your original finish. Awesome for longevity, bad for when you want to start over.
  • Take it slow when mixing Saltwash and paint. Not too thick, just that nice buttercream icing texture.
  • Get an orbital sander, learn from my carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Have fun playing with it!
  • If your project will have frequent use, like my coffee table, be sure to seal it with wax or a furniture paint top coat.

I would love if you would share this project to Pinterest or Facebook! Let me know what you think of my coffee table’s new look in the comments below.


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