I am building a shelf similar to the one here, but mine is going to be against a dark wall. I think it would look nice if I could paint the wood white, but still allow the texture to show through. (I will be using a plank instead of plywood.)

  • Is white "stain" available for this?
  • Is it just a whitewash that I need?
  • Will a lighter or darker piece of wood give better results?

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3 Answers 3


You want a semi-opaque stain. The lighter the wood, the whiter it will end up looking.


you can water down white primer/paint and rag it on to do it. That is the cheap n sl-easy way to do it.

Much of it depends on the type of wood though. Red oak can become pink, pine usually works out okay etc...

With any finishing it is often best to test a few options before getting "sold" or fixated on a certain technique because you saw a picture somewhere that looked good. If you are going to DIY it is better to practice a few techniques before committing and getting all bummed out because it didn't turn out how you wanted it to.


You can also bleach the wood if you don't want to hide any of the texture at all, but it won't be as stark white as semi-opaque stain. It's a trade-off between opacity and whiteness. Check out this forum thread: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?62132-Bleaching-Wood-To-quot-near-White-quot

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