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How to white wash old furniture
Whitewashing, sometimes called pickling or liming, can be applied quickly and easily to give wood furnishings a distinctive appearance. It creates a wax-like coating that protects wood and brings out the luster of wood grain. Tints and dyes can be added during the whitewashing process to achieve a frosted or "French Cottage" look - info: http://www.ehow.com/how172593whitewash-furniture.html?ref=fuel&utmsource=yahoo&utmmedium=ssp&utmcampaign=ysspart
A good way to white washing old furniture would be to place a newspaper or old cloth below the furniture. Then, remove the exterior dirt using a dry cloth or napkin.
Next start drywashing and finally leave it to dry in the sun! :D
You might wanna have a look at some whitewashing videos if you're new to it.
Read 'Tom Sawyer', follow advice listed there...