What boy wouldn’t love Tom Sawyer’s adventures?

If you’re feeling particularly Tom Sawyerish this summer, try making and using your own whitewash.

I recently did this with the youngin’s as a way to keep them busy and to spruce up a garden fence. It’s extremely simple: All you need is about 6-8 cups of masonry lime, 2-3 cups of salt, and 1 gallon of water.

At first I didn’t think it was going to be enough for the job, but the thing about whitewash is it is extremely thin. It’s not like paint, but more like gray water.

In fact, gray is just the color it will be when you mix it, which at first had me wondering if I did it right. I wondered even more when we applied it to the wood pallet slats that make up my fence. 

It went on clear. It looked like we were doing nothing more than wetting the posts. However, by the time we made it all the way back around to where we started, the whitewash had dried and the wood was a nice pale off-white.

I went ahead and applied a few more coats. Now, of course, whitewash will last longer if used in interior spaces, such as inside barns and sheds and chicken coops and whatnot.

However, I figured if Tom Sawyer whitewashed a fence – or rather tricked his friends into doing it – I’d whitewash one, too, and see how long it lasted in the elements.

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