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Dry Brush Old Wood Technique

How to dry brush over a dark stain to create a weathered wood look
This table has quite the story. Three years ago, I bought it at a yard sale, for $15. Truthfully, it probably wasn't worth $5. It was in BAD shape but I was looking for a chunky, square table and it fit the description. I knew ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) would fix it up and sure enough, it did the trick. I must admit that it was quite a challenge though. The table was covered in all kinds of nail polish, glue and other mystery substances. A month ago, I decided to apply a dark wax to the entire table, just for fun. Unfortunately, it accented all those places that I worked so hard to camouflage from 3 years ago. This is what I ended up with and I wasn't happy (see photo, below).
I began by using my electric sander to rough up the top of the table.
I dusted off the chalk dust and wiped it down with a damp rag.
Then, I brushed on the wood stain (as shown).
I brushed the stain with all strokes going in one direction and then wiped away the excess stain.
Forgive the filtered photo - this was a progress picture that I posted on Instagram.
I applied a second coat to the center of the table, just for fun. I rubbed off a little more of the stain on the outside trim.
I let the stain dry thoroughly.
This is quite THE EYE SORE.
Honestly, I was questioning myself at this point!
BUT all it needed was a little TLC and a good dry brush technique.
How to dry brush like a pro:
Short bristled chip brush
Paper towels
Scrap piece of wood or cardboard
Paper plate
Polyurethane (matte or gloss)
*****I used leftover paint from my Plank Wall project.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS 6222 "Riverway" in Eggshell*****
First of all, let the stain completely dry.
Dab paint on the brush, only about 1/4 inch on the end of bristles.
Brush the paint off - onto paper plate and/or paper towels
When all of the paint seems to be out of the brush, practice a few strokes on scrap wood or cardboard.
It's better for the brush to be too dry than too wet. You can always add more paint.
Use soft strokes, barely glazing the top of the wood.
You can apply a polyurethane coating to protect the table top after it's completely dry.
Use a matte finish for an "aged wood" look.

To see more: http://www.doodlesandstitches.com

Ask the creator about this project

  • Diana Wearing
    Diana Wearing Oregon, WI
    on Mar 12, 2015

    Looks great - I need to give this technique a try!

  • Hannah V
    Hannah V Brooklyn, NY
    on Mar 12, 2015

    This is a gorgeous finish!

  • Molly Freibott
    Molly Freibott
    on Jul 31, 2016


  • Deborah Jeanne Walsh
    Deborah Jeanne Walsh Lake Worth, FL
    on Aug 11, 2016

    I am making a old dresser into a Vanity for my rental property....this is going to be perfect for the top of it!!! My renters and I are pretty excited about this project!!

  • Johnchip
    on Aug 20, 2016

    I use dry brush a lot. I prefer a good 4-6"china bristle house painter brush (not expensive). I use little paint, like you only about 1/4 up bristle, do a quick brush off first, the go to it. When I do my first wipe off, I make sure the paint is evenly distributed across the bristles by wiping it on a spare board or cloth in both directions and sideways, repeatedly until it come off even. This is very important if you want the paint to apply evenly. I use rapid 'fast and furious', "feather touching'' brisk, multiple long strokes repeatedly over and over until I have moved the paint to where I want it. Where there be patchy spots, I turn the brush sideways to move the paint off and reapply it in barer spots until I achieve a well balanced overall effect. I may have a moist brush at times, but never wet. Rarely will I use paper towel or cloth to wipe, but rather try to use the brush and it's directional bristles to move the paint. Dry brush technique can look very sloppy and amateurish if it has heavier spots of paint, or uneven directions in the strokes, this most often will happen when using too small a brush and having to reapply the paint too often. . The brush is made to give you the directional effects and pick up paint and move it for you with even spacing bristles. This is one reason I prefer a large brush. The brush is the extension of your hand and fingers, not your elbow. Speaking of elbows, most people make the mistake in painting of flexing the wrist. (This only works when writing with a pencil or pen, in painting miniatures or your nails)That will lead to a shorter curve of a stroke. Keep the wrist stable, rock the elbow or shoulder to achieve the maximum long straight lined stroke of a brush. I use this same technique with oil paint and a bit of turps. If sealing a 'vey well cured' water base, I would rely on my favorite varathane, water re sistant marine varnish good enough for a boat in water, good enough for my grandkids spills.

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