Liming 101

Lime has been used for centuries both in the United States and abroad as an easy and affordable option for covering masonry surfaces, plaster and bare wood. It was only a few years ago that I discovered much to my delight that it can also be used on drywall with the correct primer. In this post I’m going to show you how we limed my sisters walls to give them a subtle depth that cannot be achieved through paint.

If you desire to give liming a try, you will need these supplies to get you started: a bag of Hydrated Lime Type S, a five gallon bucket, a large paint brush, and if you desire a color then you will need pigment. If you do not use a pigment, you will get a bright and vivid cool white.

Lime is unfortunately VERY tricky with pigment because of its high alkaline PH. I have been successful mixing a Prussian blue when I mixed Activated Charcoal with lime, a buff with instant coffee and a beautiful pale blush when I added cinnamon. For my sisters living room we mixed up a lovely lavender shade by mixing Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Curio and a few pinches of Turmeric. We were not expecting to get lavender but that’s what we got and since she liked it that is what we decided to use.

The consistency of the lime wash should be somewhere between milk and cream. You will start by putting your lime into the five gallon bucket, somewhere between a quarter to half full and then adding water till the bucket is nearly full. If you’re adding pigment you will want to add that before the water. Then mix away! I always test the color on a paper plate before I begin and use my blow dryer to see what the color will be dry since the wet lime is ten times darker then the dry…that’s a big difference so do not skip this step.

The first step in liming is having the right surface so that the lime will adhere. If you are liming drywall you will need to first prime with an acrylic primer (a water based primer) or a homemade milk paint. We chose to use the acrylic primer as it can be rolled on rather quickly. I have used both with success.

Lime is applied by making a quick criss cross pattern. Don’t worry about uniformity as the strokes look best on the finished wall when they are somewhat random. This is not as daunting as it may seem because the lime is very thin and applies easily.

Continue until the whole wall is covered. It is best to work in small sections going from floor to ceiling so that you always have a wet edge to work off of, this keeps a seam from forming.

As you can see we were not concerned about a perfect pattern!

The first coat may have you wondering what you have just done! Do not worry friends, the second coat will usually even things out, but sometimes three coats will be necessary if you’re using a medium to dark shade. Grab a cup of coffee and reassure yourself that your walls are about to be really really neat!

Here is the second coat.

And at this point we are noticing we are going to need three coats which is not very exciting as our arms are a bit sore.

Here is a close up of the wall after three coats, it’s just so lovely! You cannot achieve this with paint and though we are suffering with sore arms now, my sister and her family will enjoy the beauty of this room long after the soreness wears off!

Here is a view from her kitchen and it is just perfect! Oh how we love making things look beautiful! There’s lots to be done in this room and there will be plenty of posts coming with updates on her living room.

Have a wonderful week friends!

Until Next Time,


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