• paint brush
  • paint
  • sanding sponge
  • rags
  • drop cloth
  • water-based poly


1. Make sure the piece you have chosen for this project is completely sanded down and dust free. I personally always choose a dark wood piece for this type of project, because the contrast is so much better. Just a little nugget of wisdom for you!

2. There are a couple key elements to this project — the amount of paint on your brush and speed! Barely dip the very tips of the brush into the paint and wipe or dab a little bit of the paint off on a rag before applying to the surface. The success of this finish depends on the wood NOT being completely covered.

3. Quickly apply the paint to the section you are working on with light-handed back-and-forth strokes. When I say “light handed,” I mean don’t insert a lot of pressure when first making contact with the surface, as doing so will leave a heavy paint spot. Continue to work your brush back and forth until the whole area you’re working on is covered. Make sure you really work the brush quickly in the corners because stopping creates heaviness. Keep your hands and brush moving!

4. Step back and stare at the area you just completed. Do you feel any spots are uneven or heavy? If so, take a rag or your sanding sponge and work those areas until they are blended. Again, remember to maintain a soft, light touch at all times. The paint will be wet during this process so you won’t have to work hard to blend.

5. Continue Step 3 until you have covered the entire piece. You will be amazed at how quickly this process moves!

6. Once you’ve finished the dry-brush technique and any sanding you feel is needed for blending, apply two coats of water-based poly to protect all that gorgeous work you just completed!

7. Add hardware and any other finishing details.

That sounds like a walk in the park right?! Now get to work!

See you all next week friends!

Note: Process shots were recreated from another piece, but the “after” photo is a piece that I just finished using this process. — Barb

Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » before and after basics: dry brush painting.