This DIY Staple Will Take Your Projects To The Next Level

For when you want to get that coastal look, without actually going to the coast.

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If you’ve ever wondered how big of a difference a coat of paint can truly make, allow us to introduce you to Saltwash. This uniquely-designed paint additive is a DIYer’s dream, and in the few years it’s been around, it’s easy to see why.

Saltwash is an organic powder additive made with sea salt. It surfaces a sun and salt air-soaked look, instantly making any furniture piece or decor item look like it spent a decade on the coast. Ideal for those looking to incorporate a rustic or beachy element into their homes, it’s an easy and totally customizable DIY tool that will save you the time of scouring antique markets. Use it to repurpose old favorites or to personalize a new purchase. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, non-toxic, and VOC-free.

What begun as a passion project in 2010 by newlywed couple Carol and Jaime Hunter, officially launched in 2015 and has since achieved international attention. You can now purchase the product online and at retailers across the country.

We caught up with Carol to get her tips on using Saltwash like a pro!

Where did inspiration for Saltwash come from?

The inspiration came from the old chippy paint that we see on the historic beach cottages in our coastal community.  The paint often has years of layers and texture and just really has a unique and appealing look. We wanted to recreate that look in our artwork and furniture so we set to it in our small garage by the sea and five years later, Saltwash was born!

What is it 


Saltwash is a paint additive in a powder form that is designed to be mixed with your base coat (first coat) of paint. It’s formulated to be mixed into any type of paint and maintain the color of the paint that it’s mixed with. Once properly mixed with paint (we recommend a consistency similar to cake batter) it creates a thickened, textured mixture that can be applied to any surface. The Saltwash mixture will not settle out like regular paint and it will create that unique layered and weathered look that you often see on old beach cottage porches or furniture.

Is there an ideal surface for Saltwash? 

Saltwash adheres to any paintable surface from wood, laminate, glass, fabric, plastic and a variety of other surfaces. The chemical make-up —and yes, we use real sea salt— gives it incredible adhesion to any surface without priming, cleaning or sanding! If we find an antique piece of furniture that came out of a dirty old barn that’s covered in cobwebs and dirt we don’t even clean it, we just Saltwash right over all of it!

What are your best tips for using the product?

Have fun with it! Consistency is also key. When mixing Saltwash powder with paint, it is best to try and get the mixture to an icing-like consistency, which helps form the desired look. Another important thing to keep in mind is the sanding step. To really create an authentic look, you want to ask yourself ‘how would this piece or surface naturally wear over time?’, and maybe give a little extra attention with the sander to those areas.

What differentiates Saltwash from other paint additives?

Other paint additives are just aggregates, like sand or popcorn ceiling texture, that are just thrown into paint. These additives do not change the way paint dries, so the paint will do what it is designed to do and settle out flat. The end result will just look like someone put sand or some other texture into paint and brushed it on, and in our opinion it doesn’t fool anyone. Saltwash is a patent pending product, formulated to make the paint it is mixed with thicken and dry consistently, so whatever texture the user creates will then dry in that shape.

It’s best to think of Saltwash as a paint accessory because it isn’t paint at all. It is designed to be mixed with any paint and make that paint stick to surfaces better, be more durable, and thicken that paint to allow the user to create beautiful textures. Also, since Saltwash plays so friendly with any brand or type of paint, it can be used easily by a variety of loyal paint brand customers of any DIY experience level.

What’s the most unique way you’ve seen someone use Saltwash?

Jaime, my husband and co-owner of the company, can recreate the look of a 100-year-old door by simply using Saltwash on a pre-fab door from Home Depot. The look is amazing!

One of my personal favorite ways to use Saltwash is to use it to build textures on canvas for a mixed media art form I create, which I call “Saltwash Colorscapes”. The Saltwash allows me to build fabulous textures that stand off the canvas and really create a unique bold look.

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Published on April 25, 2017

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.