How to Dry Brush Paint

How to Dry Brush Paint

When you want to give your furniture a more pleasant look without having to do too much work, the dry brush paint technique can be convenient. This technique entails painting with very little paint, and the brush looks almost dry and hence the name.

Dry brush painting gives furniture some uneven streaks that bring out a whimsical texture which is quite attention-grabbing. But, while dry brush painting may sound simple, this is not necessarily true as you need to master the technique and have the right equipment and material.

Things You Will Need

  • Stiff bristle brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Clean rags
  • Good latex paint
  • Clearcoat

Step-by-step Guide

1. Prepare the Surface

Before you start with your dry brush painting, you first need to prepare the surface. Since this technique works best for already painted surfaces, it will be a great idea to start by painting the workpiece if it is not already painted.

Also, if you are working on wood, you will almost certainly need to sand it for a nice, smooth finish and 150-grit sandpaper is a good choice. As you do the prep work, remember to cover things like knobs and hinges.

2. Apply Little Paint on the Brush

Once the surface is ready, you should apply a small amount of paint to your stiff bristle brush. Ensure the paint is as thick as possible to saturate the paintbrush well.

You must make sure there is as little paint in the brush as possible because too much of it will not give you that light paint pattern you want. The paint from the bristle will run into itself when you have too much of it, which results in a bolder, colder pattern.

3. Wipe the Paint Off the Brush

Another critical step is to wipe off the paint from the brush, and you should do it regardless of how little you put. This step is crucial since the technique requires the brush to be almost dry.

Here a cardboard or paper plate you do not have an issue discarding is ideal. Swirl the brush into the cardboard to remove as much wetness as possible.

4. Apply the Paint

The next and perhaps the most crucial step is the actual paint application. You need to understand the exact technique to ensure you get the desired texture.

When doing the dry brush paint technique, you have to start from the top right or left corner of your material or workpiece and work towards the bottom. Also, make sure you only brush on a single coat of paint while only applying light pressure.

Another vital point to keep in mind for this technique is that the strokes should be short but as fast as possible. If you want a more irregular finish, you can use multidirectional strokes, and those that prefer more uniform strokes should follow the grain direction when brushing.

Once you finish painting, you must check the piece for paint clumps. If you notice any, make sure you remove them with a damp cloth before reapplying paint to the section.

5. Finish with a Clear Coat

The last step for the job is applying a clear coat to protect your finish. Water-based polyurethane coats are often the best since they preserve the dry brush effect better.


Dry brush painting is a fantastic technique you can use to spice up your wooden workpieces’ overall appearance. Like any other paint technique, you have to practice it for the best results.

With that in mind, it is always important to start by understanding the basics, which include keeping the brush as dry as possible and always making short and fast strokes as you paint.


  1. How To: Apply the Dry Brush Technique – Bob Vila