D.I.Y. Drybrushing – How to turn an Old Piece of Furniture into Your Own Unique Piece

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Do you have a piece of furniture that is old, outdated, or just doesn’t fit with your decor?  A dresser, desk, side table, etc?  Here’s a super awesome way to update it and make it your own.  Its a technique called “Drybrushing”, and can turn this…

 ...into this! ^ …into this! ^

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Dry brushing is this awesome technique you can use to give your project a little extra “POP”. You can make your project look Shabby Chic, Distressed, or Vintage-Like with just one little “Chip Paint Brush”.

What you’ll need

  1. Furniture
  2. Chalk Paint
    (Here are the paints we used… Top Coat and Bottom Coat)
    Pick your colors.
  3. Chip Paint Brush
  4. Regular Paint Brush
  5. Paper Towels/napkins

here’s how we did it

1.  Grab a piece of furniture you can restore.  We needed a desk, but being the savvy savers we are, didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a brand new one.  Hello, Garage Sales! We found our desk at a yard sale, for $10!  Score! But of course, red wasn’t in our decor, so it was a perfect piece to fix up for our weekend project.

2.Go find your paint. You can get paint almost anywhere, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s,
Amazon, etc. We chose
THIS CHALK PAINT because you don’t really need to do any sanding with chalk paint… (I know, we were a little lazy.)

Pick up 2 colors that suit you. We picked 2 complimentary but contrasting colors (Charcoal
and Yesteryear) so there would be an obvious color “splash” if you will. We grabbed a regular paint brush for the base, and this
“Chip Paint Brush”, for the top/drybrushing coat.

3.  Start painting!  We painted the desk with the base coat and made sure to paint the sides of the drawers and underneath as well.  (You don’t want a random red panel under the desk when the rest is all grey.)  Then let your base coat dry.  Depending on your project and what you are covering, you may need to do a second or sometimes third coat.  Two coats worked great for our project.

4.  Now time for the DRYBRUSHING!!
After the base coat has dried completely, it’s time for the fun part.

*This is the part I had the toughest time with.  Not because it was difficult, but because you’re creating your own look and the options are endless.  Did we want more of the light color on top?  Or less?  Paint the outsides? Or not? Leave the panels and paint the trimmings or vice versa?  In the end, we ended up dry brushing the whole thing, and it turned out exactly how I wanted it!

 We played with the idea of just dry brushing the drawers, but decided against it.  We played with the idea of just dry brushing the drawers, but decided against it.

When you start the dry brushing part, you may want to test it out first in some places that will be hidden or hard to see.  I started on the sides of the drawers for practice (and ended up painting each drawer differently, trying to decide on the look we wanted).

  • To start your dry brushing, grab some paper towels, napkins, or a rag you don’t mind getting (lots) of paint on.
  • Open up your paint and pour some into a container, or just dip the tip of your brush straight into the paint container like we did. 😉
  • Dip your brush in the paint and dab it on the paper towel until there isn’t much left on the brush.
  • Lightly glide the dry brush, (with barely any paint), across the surface of your furniture, (kinda like you would brush a feather across). Do this very lightly, but for more intense strokes, add more pressure.

  • For more color/thicker strokes, keep a little more paint on the brush.  But do a little at a time, cause it’s hard to “erase” after you’ve added the top coat.
  • And repeat, remembering to dab your paint on the paper towel each time.

  • We recommend going light all the way around and then adding to it, if you decide you want more.
  • Also, it was better for us to do it quickly and kind of messy, rather than having it completely uniform.
  • NOTE: Wherever you start the brush, that’s where most of your paint will go, so be sure to mix it up. (You don’t want your starting point to be on the same edge all the way down, or else you’ll end up with a much darker line going straight down.)

After we finished the desk, the knobs didn’t quite go together with the new paint anymore.  I was ready to go but some new ones that matched, but we decided to try and dry brush those with the same color paint and it turned out perfect! It doesn’t scratch off of it either! (Which is what I was expecting.) Money saved! Cha-Ching!

Mess with it, decide what type of look you want, and don’t be afraid to just go for it.  Every piece will have your unique print to it and that’s the beauty of drybrushing!

We’re ready to go start drybrushing our other furniture now too…we’re loving the unique look!

Want another super awesome and totally unique project for your house?

Check out this D.I.Y. Wine Cork Backsplash!

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