In its first sense, pickling — such as whitewashing — is a means to preserve wood by coating it with caustic lime. The coat creates a translucent finish that enhances the grain whilst providing the wood an general whitish or grayish tone. You can achieve a similar effect on fake wood paneling using latex paint, but a high-solids latex primer includes a flat end more reminiscent of everything you obtain from pickling substances. Another advantage of using primer rather than paint is that it sticks better to this plasticized surface of artificial wood paneling. You can tint the primer to get an off-white shade.
Cover the floor with plastic sheeting, and remove all furniture in the room or cover it also.
Mix a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate detergent per gallon of warm water in a bucket. Put on a pair of rubber gloves, and clean the wall with a sponge. Together with removing dirt and grime from the wall, then this strong detergent will etch the plasticized surface.
Let the paneling dry, and then mask any parts of the wall you want to guard with painter’s tape and masking paper. You need to mask more thoroughly than you do if only painting, since the procedure involves wiping the walls using a paint-laden rag. Press the tape tightly on the edges to get rid of bubbles.
Scuff the paneling gently with 220-grit sandpaper. Avoid over-sanding — should you wear the end, the seams may erase a few of this wood pattern under.
Pour some high-solids latex primer to your paint bucket and thin it using 1 1/2 times the same amount of water. It’s ideal to begin with a very thin mixture — it is possible to add more primer if necessary. Add universal pigments to this mixture if you want an off-white shade. If you add color, be sure to mix in enough to perform all of the paneling at once so you don’t end up needing to complete the work with a different color paint.
Paint the mixture on a part of the paneling that is about 2 feet square, using a synthetic-bristle paintbrush. Wipe off the paint quickly with an absorbent rag, moving with the wood grain pattern, and examine the colour of the wall. When it isn’t light enough, this is the opportunity to add more primer and pigment to this mixture.
Paint all of the paneling, working in sections and wiping the primer off, until the wall is covered. Let the primer dry immediately.
Brush the wall using one coat of waterborne polyurethane to fix and protect the color. Use a flat or satin sheen to best simulate pickling.