The process of whitewashing is known by various names, such as " calcimining." " kalsomining," etc., most of them derived evidently from the latin name for lime, which was the principal ingredient of all the older forms of whitewash.
Professors of the "Art of Kalsomining" affect a great deal of mystery, but the process is very simple. It consists simply in making a whitewash with some neutral substance which is made to adhere by means of size or glue. It contains no caustic material like lime. Several substances have been used with good results. The best is zinc white. It gives the most brilliant effect but is the most expensive The next is Paris white or sulphate of baryta. This, when pure, is nearly equal to zinc white, but, unfortunately, common whiting is often sold for it, and more often mixed with it. It is not difficult, however, to detect common whiting either when alone or mixed with Paris white. When vinegar, or better still, spirits of salt, is poured on whiting, it foams or effervesces, but produces no effect on Paris white. Good whiting, however, gives very fair results and makes a far better finish than common lime as ordinarily used. When well made, however, good lime whitewash is very valuable for out-houses, and places where it is desirable to introduce a certain degree of disinfecting action. One of the best recipes for lime whitewash is that known as the " White House " whitewash, and sometimes called " Treasury Department" whitewash, from the fact that it is the recipe sent out by the Lighthouse Board of the Treasury Department. It has been found, by experience, to answer on wood, brick and stone, nearly as well as oil paint, and is much cheaper. Slake one-half bushel unslaked lime with boiling water, keeping it covered during the process. Strain it and add a peck of salt, dissolved in warm water; three pounds ground rice, put in boiling water and boiled to a thin paste; one-half pound powdered Spanish whiting and a pound of clear glue, dissolved in warm water; mix these well together and let the mixture stand for several days. Keep the wash thus prepared in a kettle or portable furnace, and, when used, put it on as hot as possible with painters' or whitewash brushes.
Kalsomine, as distinguished from lime whitewash, is best suited for the interior of rooms in the dwelling house. To kalsomine a good sized room with two coats, proceed as follows:
Select some very clear colorless glue and soak 1/4 lb. in water for 12 hours. Then boil it, taking great care that it does not burn, and this is best done by setting the vessel with the glue in a pan of water over the fire. When com}uetely dissolved add it to a large pail of hot water, and into any desired quantity of this stir as much of the white material used as will make a cream. The quality of the resulting work will depend on the skill of the operator, but we may remark that it is easier to get a smooth hard finish by using three coats of thin wash than by using one coat of thick. If you have time for but one coat, however, you must give it body enough, In giving more than one coat let the last coat contain less glue than the preceding ones.
The following is recommended as a good kalsomining fluid for walls: White glue, 1 pound; white zinc, 10 pounds; Paris white, 5 pounds; water, sufficient. Soak the glue over night in three quarts of water, then add as much water again, and heat on a water bath till the glue is dissolved. In another pail put the two powders, and pour on hot water, stirring all the time, until the liquid appears like thick milk. Mingle the two liquids together, stir thoroughly, and apply to the wall with a whitewash brush.
It is often desirable to "kill" old whitewash, as it is called, as otherwise it would be impossible to get new whitewash or paper to stick to the walls. After scraping and washing off all lose material give the walls a thorough washing with a solution of sulphate of zinc (2 oz. to 1 gallon of water). The lime will be changed to plaster of Paris, and the zinc will be converted into zinc white, and if a coat of kalsomine be now given it will adhere very strongly and have great body.