A number of years ago I found an old unfinished washboard in the cellar that must’ve been purchased for some long-forgotten project. When making room for the plumbers and electricians, I rediscovered it and thought it would make an excellent wall hanging for the laundry room! So I set out to make this raw, unfinished washboard look old and somewhat worn.
I started by searching for some vintage clipart and sized it for using on the board. It took several tries of printing on plain paper to get the size and crop just right. Once it was perfect, I reversed the image in my photo/graphics program.
Next, I cut out a piece of waxed paper, slightly smaller than an 8-1/2” x 11” piece of copy paper and taped the waxed paper to the copy paper so it would feed through the printer easily.
The prepared paper was then put into the inkjet printer so the printing would be on the waxed paper side. Working carefully so as to not smudge the ink, I cut around the printout so it would easily fit into the space I wanted to transfer the image.
This was a three-handed process to hold the waxed paper in place while using the short edge of a ruler to rub and transfer the ink to the wood. This process produced a nice, faded and aged image, perfect for the aged and worn look I was going after.
Once the image was transferred, I stained the wood using Minwax Vermont Maple water-based stain.
To darken and give some spots a more worn look, I burnished with American Walnut paying attention to spots where there would be more wear and darkening from use.
The washboard was finished off with Minwax Water Based Polycyclic and then rubbed down with a piece of plain paper to smooth out any raised grain. I used Minwax products since I had them out and on hand, but I otherwise I would’ve used my tried and trust stash of old, discontinued Liquitex artists stains and finishes.
The finished washboard turned out exactly as I wanted and fit perfectly in the laundry room by the shelves, right above where the washer will be placed.