The sneaky secret of dry-brushing
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 ... dry-brushing.
I’ve talked about this a few times before, in passing, but it really deserves more. Dry-brushing is exactly what it sounds like: painting something with a dryish 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 paintsplattered 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 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 art perspective, though, out- lining in black is usually a no-no.)
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 dry-brush 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. Drybrushing 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 grey paint onto her orange wicker drawers and doesn’t mind that they’re not perfect.
Heather dry-brushed light blue paint over a navy frame.
Heather dry-brushed the frames for these gallery ledges and loves how they turned out.