image via Nordic Design
We have all fallen in love time and time again with the dreamy Scandinavian interiors sweeping the design world. The all-white spaces with hints of black and washed-out natural tones swoon us with flooding natural light and make us want to get rid of all our vibrant belongings and live the simple life. One of the most prominent features of this clean international look is the lightened wood floors. Wood bleaching is one way to achieve this look and is a great alternative to regular paint – it allows you to lighten the look of a space while still maintaining that natural wood grain. Don’t let the word “bleach” steer you away – there are tons of no-VOC products on the market that keep this DIY toxic free! For this tutorial we transformed a pair of antique doors we thought were slightly too dark for the space they were going in. You can easily apply this tutorial to wood floors or any other wood piece you have in mind.
Let’s get bleaching!
Here are the basic materials you are going to need along the way:
1. Sanding Sponge (80-grit)
2. Orbit Sander (120-grit pads)
3. Bucket/Plastic Container
4. Craft Foam Brushes
5. Terry Cloth
6. Latex Gloves
You can find any of these materials at your nearest home improvement store.
Step 1: Get rid of any jagged rough spots with an 80-grit sanding sponge. The lower the grit number, the coarser the sandpaper.
Step 2: Proceed to sand the entire surface of the door with an orbit sander until even. We used a round sander with 120 grit. For tight corners, you can buy sanding sponges with a cornered or beveled edge to help you get into any tough spots.
Step 3: Wipe the surface area clean of any debris.
Step 4: Using protective latex gloves, pour a 50/50 mixture of Klean-Strip Wood Bleach A and B into a bucket. Only pour what you are going to use for that day as the mixture will weaken over time.
***Note: We chose this two-part bleach product because the VOC-Free alternative product was on back order. For a non-toxic bleaching method, check out WOCA’s wood lye.
Step 5: Apply the two-part bleach mixture to the wood using a nylon paint brush or, in our case, a craft sponge brush. Spread evenly for a balanced coat. Bubbling may occur and is natural – just make sure you don’t leave any puddles of bleach.
Step 6: Let dry for up to 2 to 3 hours. If you still have not achieved your desired coat, repeat the process. We found that two coats were sufficient.
Step 7: Once you are happy with the shade of wood, pour linseed oil into an open container.
***Note: Normal linseed oil brings out the warm tones of wood, so we found an oil that gives a nice milky coat. Make sure to order WOCA linseed oil in a “White” finish that keeps all your hard bleaching work from going to waste!
Step 8: Take a terry cloth to dab into the oil and rub generously and evenly onto the wood. This acts as a natural sealant.
Step 9: Let dry for 10-15 minutes.
Step 10: If excess oil can still be seen, go back with a dry towel and gently rub around the moist areas.
And voila! With only two coats and one afternoon we gave a pair of antique wooden doors a much needed update!
For detailed bleaching instructions straight from the manufacturer, click here.