Friday, May 27, 2011

Lime Washing My Factory Cart for a Belgian-Furniture Look

Several months ago I bought a factory cart and wanted to use it as a coffee table on my screened porch.  Let's just say the price was right but the colors weren't.  It was only $100.  I've seen them as high as $600.   Ever the bargain hunter, I decided I could do something with it to make it work for me.

Here's what it looked like.  Red, green, and a touch of yellow.  Yuck.

The equally attractive under side.  It looks like a dead bug.

First,  I bought some environmentally safe paint stripper to remove the Christmas colors.  
Either I wasn't patient enough or it didn't work.

Plan B.  I used a stainless steel paint in a flat finish.  It was something my husband had on hand.  His hobby is working on vintage cars and this paint was manufactured by Eastwood, an auto parts restoration company, and is sold for painting cast metal.   I liked its flat finish.  I sanded and cleaned the entire cart and applied the paint to all metal surfaces. Yea, colors were gone.
I think that any gray paint in a flat finish that can be used on metal would work just as well.

Next, the liming.  I went on line and was ready to buy a very expensive liming kit.
I read a little more about liming and found out that all a liming finish is is diluted white paint which settles into and accentuates the wood grain.
Oak is the type of wood you most see with a lime wash because of its very deep and visible grain.

How lucky am I?  The wood on my cart was oak.   I decided I wanted to use some very light gray paint.  The closest color would be Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray.  Or, you could just use white.

Instead of mixing the paint with water, I saturated the boards with a wet cloth, painted on the gray, then followed with another wet cloth, wiping off the paint.  It worked!  The paint stuck in the wood grain and lightly coated the rest of the surface.

Here's what it looked like when I finished.  The paint accentuated the grain and gave a translucent finish to the smooth  surfaces.  It didn't even take an hour.

This is the wood top.  The paint very easily filled into the grain.
I need to mention that this was a raw wood surface that I sanded.

In place in the screened porch.

A  View from the Top

Give it a try.  Easy Peasy.


Completed Porch

If you missed the original screened porch post, go here.  If you missed final results of the posts on the screened porch, go here for view one, here for view two, and here for view three.


  1. What a transformation. It looks really great!

  2. This is my first visit to your blog. Its really wonderful. I'm loving your factory cart. The finish is perfect. You did a fantastic job.

  3. That looks really good. My husband is restoring vintage cars, too.

  4. Fabulous! I love finding things and using them for entirely different purposes. I once found an old Singer sewing machine bottom that had a new top on it, which I used as a side table for awhile.

    I didn't do anything fancy to it, but I can see the possibilities....

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. That looks great Kathy! I have one and I can't decide what to do with it, paint, stain..... I think I'll paint it. Did you brush on the metal paint or spray it? I was thinking about using flat black rust-oleum and just brushing it on the wheels. Its a project I've been putting off!

  6. Great idea! I also love the dramatic pillows on your header. :)

  7. what a cool piece, Kathy! I liked it when it was the bad colors but now it looks fantastic!! you did a wonderful job.

  8. Great transformation!! I love the pillows on your couch too!

  9. i somehow totaly missed this post before... love it, kathy! it looks awesome!

  10. Oh, I love this! Really great job--thank you so much for explaining the process so well. I am new at upcycling goodies like this so I appreciate the great tips!

  11. WOW! That factory cart looks AMAZING! Great job lime-washing it! :-D

  12. Love, love, love your cart turned coffee table! Great transformation! The metal bed/sofa is beautiful as well! Very charming! :)

  13. Love the cart and the daybed is fabulous! I am off to look at your archives.

  14. How lucky were you to find that fabulous cart??!!! Wow! And the price was certainly a bargain, too, Kathy! Thanks for the tips on lime washing, too. Hubby and I were just discussing that tonight, so I'm happy to hear that it's really just watered down white paint. :) Great job, girl!

    xoxo laurie