The sneaky secret of dry-brush­ing

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - Heather Laura Clarke chron­i­cles the trans­for­ma­tion of her fam­ily’s builder­ba­sic house into a per­son­al­ized House of Dreams – us­ing paint, fab­ric, wood, and her trusty glue-gun.

It’s not that I’m lazy. I’m ac­tu­ally one of those peo­ple who is al­ways do­ing some­thing. I can’t even watch TV with­out also knit­ting or quilt­ing or em­broi­der­ing or some­thing.

But ... I ad­mit to be­ing a lit­tle lazy (and sloppy) when it comes to paint­ing. I love any­thing that speeds up the process of paint­ing fur­ni­ture or ac­ces­sories or walls — ugh, have yet to find a way to speed up wall paint­ing, un­for­tu­nately.

So, to­day I’m go­ing to share the DIY secret that is ... dry­brush­ing.

I’ve talked about this a few times be­fore, in pass­ing, but it re­ally de­serves more. Dry­brush­ing is ex­actly what it sounds like: paint­ing some­thing with a dry-ish brush that has hardly any paint on it.

Wait, that makes it sound like it would make the paint­ing process longer, doesn’t it? Less paint on the brush equals more time and ef­fort to cover the thing with paint? That’s why dry-brush­ing is sneaky. Hang onto your paint-splat­tered project pants (Do they have holes? Mine have holes), be­cause here are the three sit­u­a­tions when I tend to break out the dry-brush­ing ...

I need to high­light edges or de­tails.

I used this tac­tic when I made our (very pop­u­lar) sofa ta­bles that slide over the arms of our liv­ing room sec­tional. I painted the en­tire ta­ble base a soft greige Heather dry-brushed the frames for these gallery ledges and loves how they turned out.

colour (Putty by Fu­sion Min­eral Paint) and wanted to show off the an­gled de­tails of my de­sign. So in­stead of paint­ing the whole thing a dark colour, ap­ply­ing wax, and go­ing over it in a lighter colour — So. Much. Ef­fort. — I cheated.

I dabbed a dry paint­brush

in a tiny amount of dark navy paint (Mid­night Blue by Fu­sion Min­eral Paint) and feath­ered it along all of the edges. You wouldn’t look at the ta­bles and say ‘Huh, why’d she put blue paint there?’ It’s more like draw­ing a picture and us­ing a black marker to out­line it. (From an Heather dry-brushed grey paint onto her or­ange wicker draw­ers and doesn’t mind that they’re not per­fect.

art per­spec­tive, though, out­lin­ing in black is usu­ally a nono.)

I want to com­bine colours (or spice up a colour that’s al­ready there).

When I was round­ing up items for the photo ledges I was build­ing for a tween girl’s bed­room, I was mostly us­ing thrifted frames. The bed­room’s colour scheme in­cluded a mix of soft blues and pinks, and none of the frames were the right colour.

In­stead of spend­ing a long time ap­ply­ing mul­ti­ple coats of paint to each frame — which wouldn’t have been a good use of my time — I de­cided to dry­brush them in­stead. I brushed pale pink onto a white frame, light blue onto a dif­fer­ent white frame, and light blue onto a navy frame.

Dry-brush­ing is es­pe­cially cool when you’re paint­ing some­thing with a lot of tex­ture be­cause the light, dry strokes don’t get into the nooks and cran­nies.

I want to paint some­thing but

I’m too lazy to paint the whole thing.

Some­times this is the hon­est truth. While I was paint­ing my ugly or­ange-y shelv­ing unit a nice dark grey, I re­al­ized paint­ing the wicker draw­ers was go­ing to be a huge pain. I couldn’t leave them or­ange, though, so I dry-brushed the wicker with a lighter grey.

This likely isn’t a DIY for per­fec­tion­ists, but I’m not one. It didn’t mat­ter that you could still see bits of or­ange be­cause the ef­fect was ca­sual and beachy. Dry-brush­ing two coats on the drawer fronts (and just one on the sides be­cause they’d hardly be vis­i­ble) made the whole thing look so much bet­ter.

Let’s hear it for dry-brush­ing, the un­sung hero of the paint­ing world, and the lazi­est way to make some­thing look re­ally cool and in­ten­tional.

Heather dry-brushed light blue paint over a navy frame.

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