Learn how to give new life to a wood surface with this grain whitening technique. Its unique waxy finish gives furniture a beautiful vintage appearance.
refurbished table with accented grain

Whether you choose to paint, stain, or pickle your wood furniture, there are plenty of options to get the look you desire. Now, you can add the ceruse technique to that list. This unique application enhances the natural grain of wood. A waxy coating works its way into the pores of the wood and highlights the grain for pretty patina. Learn how to ceruse, and give it a try on a side table or coffee table in your own home.

  • Working time 2 hrs
  • Start to finish 3 hrs
  • Difficulty Kind of Easy
  • Involves Staining

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

Strip Paint

Remove the existing paint or stain from the furniture by applying wood stripper with a disposable foam brush. Wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Allow stripper to penetrate the surface for the amount of time recommended by the product instructions. Use a plastic scraper to remove the old finish, pulling in the direction of the wood grain. After the finish is removed, use a cloth to wipe off any excess residue, and allow to dry.

stripping and staining supplies
Step 2

Brush Wood Plank

Before applying the new stain, scrub with a brass-bristle brush in the direction of the grain. This helps open the wood's pores for the liming wax. Be sure to brush evenly and along the edges as well. 

Step 3

Stain Wood

Stain the wood in your desired color. Use a cloth to generously wipe gel stain onto the surface. Allow the stain to penetrate for about 15 minutes, or according to the stain's instructions. Next, use a clean cloth to wipe off excess stain. Allow to dry four to six hours. Repeat the staining process one or two more times until desired color is achieved.

Step 4

Apply Wax and Buff

Sparingly apply liming wax with a clean cloth in the opposite direction of the wood grain, working the wax into the wood's pores. Allow to set for five minutes. Then use a clean cloth to buff off the excess wax across the grain. The liming wax should stay trapped in the wood grain, highlighting the dynamic oak.


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