DIY Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique

Distressed wood furniture is perfect for rooms decorated with a rustic, cottage or farmhouse style.  Distressed Technique is also perfect for flea market finds, thrown away pieces or even those you might have kept from grandma around the house.

How to Create Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique

Create Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique

I don’t know about you but there’s something so irresistible about pieces of distressed furniture or chippy painted wood that stirs up our imagination and takes us to another time and place.

Distressed wood looks beautiful in so many styles of homes from farmhouse, shabby chic, and country, cottage to even industrial and modern.

The great thing about this wood painting technique is that If you can’t find authentic reclaimed lumber for your project, you can use new materials and apply surface distressing techniques to simulate centuries of use and wear.

The best part?

Most of the times you won’t need to spend a fortune since you can use normal paint, stain, and brushes. Also, the piece you might want to transform probably didn’t cost much either.

I’ve started my wood addiction journey a couple of years ago and I’ve fallen in love with all the possibilities. By all means, I’m no expert but the experience I’ve had have taken me to achieve pretty nice furniture pieces.

Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique Details

After I published my Rustic TV Console Table I got many questions about how I painted it. I thought the best way to explain was through a detailed tutorial and a video.

Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique for a TV Console Table

I used this technique for the bottom part of my tv console table and then simulated a Limewashed technique for the top part which you can find here.

So let’s explain a few details here first before moving on.

What does distressed wood mean?

Distressing (or weathered look) in the decorative arts is the activity of making a new piece of furniture or object appear aged, worn and older, giving it a “weathered look”, and there are many methods to produce an appearance of age and wear.

What is Dry Brushing?

The dry brushing painting technique is a coloring technique used to finish any surface in an uneven way that creates irregularity associated with aged materials.

I’ve used it in so many different craft projects. Clay painting is one of them and the, of course, wood which is my favorite medium.

What I like the most about dry brushing is that, even though it takes time, you have control over how much you cover your piece. As you go applying coats, you get exactly the finish you want.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I created distressed wood look applying dry brush painting technique to a wood board and a crate I used for my TV Console Table.

So, let’s get started.

Distressed wood supplies:

  • Wood board.
  • Dark wood stain (I used walnut)
  • Cotton white latex paint
  • Brush.
  • Plastic or paper plate
  • Paper
  • Sandpaper
  • Steel Wool (grade 2)
  • Gloves
  • Brass-bristle scrub brush
  • Piece of cloth
  • Spray Mate Clear Varnish
  • safety glasses.

How to create Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique

I made this video tutorial for you of my painting process. If you are more of a step-by-step written detailed tutorial, just scroll down a little bit and keep reading.

Firstly, let’s avoid splinters from getting into our fingers. Sand all the edges. Only the edges because we don’t want the surface of our board to get too soft.

Once the edges are done, let’s enhance the whitening effects of dry brushing by opening the wood pores with the brass-bristle scrub brush before applying it.

Work the brush along the wood grain to avoid unsightly cross-grain scratches, and clean the dust off thoroughly before applying the wood stain.

Stain your wood board and let it dry overnight.

I like to rub a piece of cloth so the wood suck the stain up more easily.

Then dribble a mall amount of paint on the plastic or paper plate.

Then very gently dab the tip of your dry paintbrush into the paint and dabbed it on a piece f paper or paper towel to remove excess paint.

You want to keep the tip of your paintbrush “almost dry” and not oversaturated with paint, so I suggest starting off with just a tiny bit of paint and adding more as you get comfortable with the technique.

Use short, quick brush strokes in both directions (along the wood grain and across them) to give it a textured and accent the wood lines.

There’s no right or wrong way to dry brush; so get creative with your painting, you might discover looks you didn’t even know you could love!

I kept brush stroking until I got the coverage I was looking for.

The thing about this technique is that you already get a distressed look without even sanding yet. At the same time, you are leaving your wood grand visible; which in my opinion is what makes the wood look weathered.

So, keep brush stroking until you get the finish you love.

Let it dry once finished at least 2 to 3 hours (overnight is best).

Finally, when your piece is completely dry, sand your pieces.

What I did was:

  • First, I sanded with steel wool harshly all over the piece. You definitely want to use gloves and safety glasses here.
  • Then I used sandpaper to distress edges and imperfections.

Once you are happy with the distressing grade, clean your pieces to remove dust.

Spray your clear matte varnish to protect and finish your masterpiece.

Why spray?

Because if you use a brush, the applied dry brushed paint will start blending. Even though it looks pretty too, it’s not the final finish you are looking for in this case.

Let it dry and you are done!

Your distress look effect is ready to rock!

Isn’t it super easy and look amazing?

Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique Finished Pretty

Gorgeous Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique

Create Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique for a TV Console Table

Now, it’s your time to get creative and bring your crafty and creative side to use!

Other Wood Painting Techniques from my favorite bloggers:

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you did don’t forget to share with friends!

How to Create Distressed Wood Look with Dry Brush Painting Technique Easy and Fun

If you liked this tutorial, you might also love these too:

DIY Limewashed look with Dry brush painting technique

DIY Easy Rustic TV Console Table Tutorial

Gorgeous DIY Rustic Wooden Headboard

Cute and easy DIY Painted Pallet Headboard

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My name is Camila Rojas but everyone call me Cami. I'm a mommy, blogger, baker, do it yourselfer, crafter and graphic designer. Owner and founder of The Crafting Nook {formerly TitiCrafty} and TCN Design Studio: web design for bloggers. Join me on my crazy adventures!