How to Dry Brush Paint: Info Guide

If you’re tired of the solid-paint job on your furniture, then you should consider dry brushing it. Dry brushing is a technique that many people use to add a layer of depth and. It’s a simple technique that requires no special painting tools. The result is a worn, rustic look that adds an entirely new dimension to your furniture.

How to Dry Brush Paint

In this article, we’ll describe how to dry brush your furniture (tables, desks, doors, and even their handles), and we’ll also include a couple of helpful tips for you to consider.

1. Pre-Paint the Surface

The only way to produce a satisfactory dry-brushed piece of furniture is to ensure that the final product doesn’t reveal the rough wood under the coat of paint. The only thing you want showing between the dry brush strokes is the solid paint underneath. To produce this effect, you first need to pre-paint your furniture with the desired color. Let the piece rest for at least one hour (overnight is better) or until the paint has dried completely.



2. Prepping for Dry Brushing

Dry brushing can be a bit meticulous, so it’s a good idea to get everything ready before you begin dry brushing the surface of your furniture. What you’ll need is a paper plate or tray (or your paint can lid for pouring paint onto), a dry chip brush (long, semi-stiff bristles), paper towels, and a can of paint of the desired color.

First, pour out a small quantity of paint onto the paper plate or tray. Next, take your chip brush and dab the edge of the bristles into the paint. Now rub the bristles along the paper towel to remove a majority of the paint. The brush should have an extremely small amount of paint left on them; just enough to leave the slightest mark when rubbed against the paper towel.

How to Dry Brush Paint Guide

3. Dry Brushing the Surface

After the brush has been fully prepped, now you can take it to the surface of your furniture. Begin the painting process by using light, quick strokes in one direction. Repeat the process repeatedly, making sure never to venture off onto another part of the surface until you’re satisfied with the look of one particular area.

If you find that the strokes aren’t leaving any mark, feel free to go back to step 2 and put more paint on the bristles. However, if you find that you’re leaving too much paint with each stroke, rub the painted surface off with a damp towel and repeat step 2, this time making sure that the bristles are carrying less paint than before.

After you’re satisfied with how the piece is painted, move to the next portion of your piece and repeat the dry brushing process all over again.

4. Revel in Your Masterpiece

After you’ve dry brushed all of the surfaces of your furniture, give it some time to dry. It shouldn’t take long since you’ve only introduced a very small amount of paint with each quick stroke.

Dry Brush Paint

Dry Brushing Tips

Easy, right? It’s not difficult at all, provided that you follow our quick and easy guide on how to dry brush correctly. The key is essentially not to saturate your brush with heavy loads of paint. Here are a few tips you can follow to produce perfectly dry brushed surfaces.

1. Choosing Colors

Since dry brushing doesn’t coat the surface of your furniture entirely, it’s a good idea to give some contrast between the dry brush strokes and the base coat. We recommend choosing a lighter color with the base coat being a darker color than the dry brush strokes. They should be the same base color; for instance, the base coat should be a darker brown than the dry brush brown.

2. Applying Painter’s Tape

Most of the time, you want most parts of your furniture to remain a solid base color while only the corners to tapered ends are dry brushed. To prevent accidental dry brushing, simply take a strip of painter’s tape to cover the edges of parts that are adjacent to the corners. This will preserve their solid base coat and add to the rustic look you’re aiming for.

3. Stiff Bristles

You don’t necessarily need a chip brush to dry brush, but it’s the most effective tool to use. If you have another brush, just be sure that the bristles are stiff and dry. Avoid using brushes with bulbous bristles since they’ll absorb too much paint and won’t give you the dry brushed effect.

Dry Brush Paint Guide

4. Correcting Mistakes

If you’ve accidentally left a solid coat of paint in your brush stroke’s wake, you don’t need to stress out. Just take a damp cloth (lint-less or microfiber if possible) and wipe the excess paint away. Wait for the surface to dry completely before attempting to dry brush again.

5. Replace Paper Towels Often

When dry brushing, you shouldn’t use water to rinse away the paint unless you’re switching between colors. Even then, we recommend using different chip brushes for different colors to avoid accidentally muddying any colors.

Since paper towels are used to wipe away excess paint from the brush, you have to replace them frequently. Once again, we’re trying to avoid muddying up the brush, but we’re also trying to keep a minimal amount of paint between the bristles. Using paint-saturated paper towels to wipe off the paint can introduce more paint into the brush.

Dry Brushing Paint Technique

6. Let the Paint Dry Completely

If you plan on going giving your furniture another quick dry brush coating, be sure to let the previous layer dry completely. Oftentimes, the color of paint when wet is much darker than after it’s dried, giving it a false hue. To quicken the drying process, leave your furniture in a dry part of your home or even let it sundry outside for 30 to 40 minutes.

7. Using a Detailer Sponge to Apply Clear Sealer

After you’ve dry brushed your furniture to give it a weathered look, you’ll want to preserve its appearance by applying a clear sealer. This will give the piece a glossy finish while keeping the dry brush from chipping.

We highly recommend using a detailer sponge to do this. It’s a super-fine sponge that won’t scrape the surface of your furniture and also won’t leave unsightly streak marks. You may also get the same results using a brush, but it’s much quicker and more effortless to buy and use a detailer sponge.

How to Dry Brush Furniture