How To Make Orange Wood Look Bleached (without harsh chemicals)

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Turn that old orange wood into a “bleached or weathered” wood look with this simple method!! (AND without harsh chemicals) 

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Hello sweet friends!

Guess what? I have finished the oak table and chairs set and hope to share it soon. Trying to get that back porch finished too. (that’s where it’s going to live)

AND, I also finished this pretty little oak end table from my recent haul too.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

It was very orange.

But SOLID! And for $10 how can you beat that?

Plus, I needed a little end table just like this for our beach house.

Win-win!

So, since it’s going to live at the beach, I knew I was going to make it “beachy” with a weathered, bleach looking top.
I actually worked on it at the same time I finished up the oak table this weekend. If you follow along on Instagram, you might have seen some sneak peek photos I shared of both. I love sharing as I’m doing my makeovers so keep an eye out in my stories over there.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

How To Make Orange Wood Look Bleached (and/or weathered, without harsh chemicals)

Here’s how this one looked to start…

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Minus that little corner where I started sanding. Oops.

But just look at what’s underneath all that orange.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Yes, yes, yes.

I don’t love sanding but you sure can’t beat revealing that gorgeous wood underneath.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Before we get too far ahead let me first mention that I did a similar project that you can see here >>> How To Get The Bleached Wood Look
But I did change a tiny bit this go-round. One thing that’s different is I ended up using the stain almost full strength (because the wood was more orange in color), I used paint to create the “white” instead of white wax and I finished up with poly instead of wax. 

MATERIALS LIST

I used a lower grit to remove the finish and then finished up with a finer grit to smooth it out. Once that was done, I watered down a bit of the stain color, Riverbed, and applied it with a chip brush.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Oak will always look more orange when wet.
For this particular piece of wood, I ended up going back over it with almost full strength stain but wiping away almost immediately.

That worked very well to neutralize those orange wood hues. (the green will neutralize reds/greens)

Here it is wet after applying the stain and wiping away…

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Once it was fully dry, I mixed up a little water/Drop Cloth (Dixie Belle) paint mixture and applied it with a soft rag. (I used a baby washcloth)

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Simply wipe it on and then lightly wipe away the excess. You need to do this part fairly quickly.

But once you are done and it is dry (remember the oak will “whiten” as it dries), you are left with this…

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Isn’t that the coolest? 

I do think the key is using the “green” stain to help counteract all of that orange.

That’s it! That’s all there is to this process and no harsh, bleachy dangerous chemicals. Yuck.

Once it was dry I finished up with two coats of Flat Out Flat (linked above in the box), sanding lightly in between with a fine-grit sandpaper. (I used 220)

Up close…

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

For the bottom, I simply sprayed it white with a satin finish spray paint. Easy!

Oh, and I also filled in these…

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Much better…

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

I love that this table has that bottom shelf. It’s great for baskets and such.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

But especially great for our purposes because we are putting this on one end of our sectional at the beach house.
And that happens to be where the modem, etc, equipment is currently sitting on the floor. The bottom shelf will be the perfect spot to hold those items.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

I can’t wait to get it over there.
Watch for my Insta Stories because I’ll be sharing a picture or two of how it looks in its new home.

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

Have you considered trying “bleaching” wood furniture to give it old orange wood a new look?

Let me know! I’d love to hear about it. :)

PIN it to save it!

Turn that old orange wood into "bleached or weathered" wood with this simple method!! (without harsh chemicals) artsychicksrule.com #bleachedwood #howtobleachwood #weatheredwood

 

Missed any of the rest of the haul’s makeovers? Check them out here:

Stay tuned for this one next…

brown wood shelf with arch

UPDATE!! See it now, here!

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay safe!

xoxo

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40 Comments

    1. 😍 Beautiful!! The link to the ‘Riverbed’ stain says unavailable. 🥺 Will you provide the Brand? Hoping to find it elsewhere or a close substitute.

      1. Thanks! It looks like it might’ve been discontinued. I was able to find a very close substitute, Minwax River Stone water based stain.

  1. Hi Nnlancy! I love these old, solid pieces. Now I know how to turn orange into this. Thank you. Pinned

  2. Nancy, when I saw the photo of the top after you put the Riverbed stain on it, I said “wow” out loud. Then, after the white wash, I said “WOW!!”. It is a wow makeover for sure. Love the white base with the beachy top. Beautiful job!! I know it looks great at your beach place.
    Enjoy!!

    1. Oh, haha, I love that, Christina! I can’t wait to get back down there and see how it looks where I plan to use it. Excited! :) xo

  3. Love the end table. I have one almost identical. Question: I am having trouble finding the Riverbed Water-based stain. The link doesn’t show this color option. Varathane is by Rustoleum and I don’t see it there as an option. Do you have more info for finding the Riverbed color?
    Thanks – love to see the great things you do!

    1. Oh fun, Kim! What are you going to do with yours?
      And no, the Riverbed is a color it comes in and you have to have it mixed at the store. (I hope they still offer that color…it was in store that I bought it) Okay, I just clicked over to the link and if you click the bottom collection of colors (the colorful ones) you will see it. It’s all the way on the bottom row in the middle…and it looks GRAY! LOL Which is why I chose it in the first place at the store. But when mixed it looks much more green which I was not happy about BUT it’s worked out so great for these other projects. :) xo

  4. Turned out beautiful! Could you please clarify or repost the flat out flat top coat you used. When I click on it, the dixie belle drop cloth paint comes up instead. Thanks!

    1. Hi Catherine! I’m so sorry, I had several messed up links today. OOPS! I usually proofread better than that. It’s by Gen Finishes and I have fixed the link so it should be good to go! :) xo

  5. Hi Nancy – always happy to see “orange-y” go away – excellent job.
    What brand of Poly Topcoat do you use? (the link goes to DB paint)
    Thanks,
    Sheila

    1. Oh yes, you and I both, Sheila! And yes, I’m sorry about that! I didn’t proofread as well as I usually do. It’s by Gen Finishes and I actually had several links goofy but they are all fixed now! xo

  6. I don’t why, but at first glance of the make-over picture, my brain refused to believe it was the same table. I knew it was, but my brain kept saying. I had to go back to the original picture and actually compare the the tables to believe it.

    For the first time you wow’d me so completely, I did not believe you! LOL
    Awesome job on this one. I love it!

    1. Aw, yep! Same table!! Isn’t that the most fun thing about making over old finds? And haha…that’s great! I am so happy to hear I have wow’d you that much! Yay!!! :) xoxo

    1. Thanks, Marty! Yes, I do! But keep in mind, all varieties will turn out a little differently. Some will be lighter and some with be darker, etc. But you can control that a little too with the finish white wash coat and you’ll see why when I post my oak table and chair set. ;) xo

  7. I love your table what a transformation! I have two pine end tables that need a redo..how did you prepare the bottom half ? Did you sand it first ?

    1. Thank you, Denise! :) I cleaned it up well, then quickly ran the fine grade sandpaper lightly over it by hand, then spray painted it.

  8. Hi! I am late to the party and the link for Riverbed stain no longer shows any info, even brand. Any chance you could tell me what brand it was, and whether it was transparent, semi-transparent or solid? I’m sure I can find something similar if I know what I/m looking for. Thank you for this awesome information – I have a whole wall of dark orange wood bookshelves.

    1. It was Varathane water-based stain mixed in the color “Riverbed”. I can’t seem to find it anywhere online, I wonder if they discontinued?

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