How to Make Your Own Whitewash Paint

How to Make Your Own Whitewash Paint

Instructions for making whitewash paint, how to make your own whitewash.

Craftsman Style

Whitewash is made from lime; for this purpose the lime should be in hard lumps, not such as has been long exposed to the air and become air-slaked. The U.S. Lighthouse Board recipe for making whitewash says that we may slake half a bushel of lime in boiling water, keeping it covered during the process to keep in the steam; but here it may be said that the more common practice is to put cold water on the lime, not enough to drown it, but slowly add as much as the lime will take up; it will generate plenty of heat, and steam will come off; keep adding water slowly, and finally the lime will crumble and become a loose white mass, to which enough water is added to make it a paste, and this is to be stirred with a stick until it begins to cool; this indicates that it has combined with all the water it will take. Some lime0 is much slower about this than other, because all limestone, from which lime is made, is not of the same chemical composition. There is no objection to using hot water, which will start it more quickly. It is then thinned with water to a thin paste, and put through a strainer, as there are often lumps and dirt in it.

Now we go back to the recipe. Add to the strained lime paste a peck of salt (about fifteen pounds), previously dissolved in hot water; boil three pounds of rice to a thin paste, strain it, and stir it in while the whole is hot; have a pound of good glue dissolved by soaking it the night before in cold water, then pour off the extra water and pour on to it three or four quarts of boiling water and stir it, and it will dissolve; in this glue solution stir half a pound of whiting (which is pulverized chalk), and add this glue and whiting mixture to the lime and salt. The glue may be dissolved without previous soaking in a large glue-pot, or in an oatmeal cooking-pot, or in a small pot hung in a larger pot filled with boiling water; but the method first described is best. After all these ingredients are stirred in, add five gallons of hot water, stir well, and let it stand for a few days, covered from dirt. It is to be applied hot. It is estimated that a pint of this mixture will cover a square yard of surface. This is undoubtedly a good whitewash. The most common whitewash is made by slaking the lime with water as described, then thinning it with more water and straining it.

It is probably not desirable to add glue to it if it is to be used in cellars, but the rice would be less objectionable; in place of rice, flour may be used, either wheat, rye, or buckwheat, but not corn meal; rice is most nearly white. The lime combines with the proteid matter of the rice or flour to make a cement, and this makes it adhere better. In some places it is the practice to thin the whitewash with sweet skim-milk; this acts in the same way and is excellent for outdoor work, as it stands the weather well; the lime unites with the casein of the milk to make a cement. This is not suitable for cellars, but is all right for dry places.

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