DIY Lime Wash: Step by Step Guide by Portola Paints

Last time I was at Portola Paints, I was talking to Jaime about how much I loved their sample of a lime wash finish. The style of finish added such texture to a traditional flat paint job. He tried to convince me that the technique was so easy to recreate that even the very novice painter could achieve the same look. I told him I needed proof how easy it actually is and suggested putting together a photographic step by step guide for DIY painters.


  • Roller
  • Roller Tray
  • Roller Cover
  • Blue Tape
  • 5 in. Lime Wash Brush
  • Tarp
  • Limeproof Undercoat (Primer)
  • Lime Wash (Desired Color…) * we used Portola’s Medium Charcoal

Step 1: Apply 2 coats of Limeproof Undercoat with a roller (Let dry 4 – 6 hours between coats)
Step 2: Apply First coat of Lime Wash with a brush in a cross-hatched motion. Work from ceiling to floor and across the wall. Cutting in as you go.
Step 3: Notice the brush strokes while the first coat is still wet. Also notice the Lime Wash will dry 50% – 100% lighter than it goes on.
Step 4: First coat almost dry.
Step 5: Allow the first coat to dry 4 – 6 hours. Second coat goes on the same as the first. Random cross-hatched pattern.
Step 6: Close up of second coat
Step 7: Second coat starting to dry
Step 8: Lime Wash brush
Step 9: Finished Wall. The “movement” is created by inconsistencies that come with the random brush application. The Lime in the paint is white. So, what happens is the lime “blooms” through the paint as it dries, creating the two-tone effect. *Note – darker colors will show more movement because the contrast between the color and the lime is greater. Lighter colors will give you a softer feel.

MORE INFO: Portola Paints