Well, if you saw our recent post called “An Old Blue Chair” then you have already seen the chair we are going to talk about in this tutorial.

We painted this chair using a technique called the “dry brush” method and it really is an amazing way to add a beautifully distressed patina to a piece of furniture.

We found this old chair in a barn.  It’s a very simple laminate chair but we thought it would make a good test cases for dry brushing.

old chair before



* Chalk Paint :  You can buy the Annie Sloan version or you can make your own using the easy recipe we use.  Get the free recipe here: Chalk Paint Recipe

-You will need two colors.  On this we used a Williamsburg blue and a basic pure white latex.  You can also use additional colors if you wish.  On this one we decided on only two.

*Paint Brushes

* Finishing Wax (or other finishing material such as polyurethane).  We actually made our own dark wax on this one and we’ll be sharing the recipe in a future post.  However, you can use a basic wax like Minwax furniture paste.

*Sand paper, steel wool, electric sander, etc for distressing.  We just went with good old sandpaper on this in about 120 grit.

* Clean Dry Cloths



The first step was to simply clean the chair up of all the dirt and debris.  No other prep was needed on this piece.


Next, we painted the entire chair in our base color.  Which color you choose to put on first is up to you and according to what look you are going for but we were really pleased in how the dark color on first and dry brushing the lighter color on top turned out.

After the chair dried it was time to begin dry brushing the white on.

Now, when we say dry brush we mean it!  The drier your brush is the better.

Here’s how you do it:

Barely dip the edge of the brush just on the surface of the paint.  Using the paint on the lid of the can is a good idea also

   Wipe the brush with a paint rag of some sort.  Wipe it really good until you brush is very dry.  It’s probably best to test it on a scrap piece of wood or something similar to make sure it’s not too wet.

What you are trying to achieve with this technique is the look of old paint showing through a newer coat.  You don’t want thick, wet brush strokes or the effect will be greatly diminished or even ruined.

With the “dry” brush begin lightly brushing the piece in the areas you want it to look distressed.  Remember you can always do more later so start slow.  You will begin to get a feel for the brush as you go.

It’s always a good idea to do a little, step back and look and then go again.  You will know what looks right when you see it!

On this piece we first focused on curves and edges to really bring the white paint out.

On the back beams and legs a light up and down motion gave the best effect.


***TIP:  A great little tip for getting an authentically worn look around curved areas is to take the flat part of the brush and lightly go around the area in a downward motion as we did on the rim of the seat (see picture)


Well, after we finished with the dry brushing of the white it was time to let it sit and dry.

Here was the chair after drying and before waxing

before waxing



Next we added a little distressing to the chair to really give it an authentic look.  Just using sandpaper we went around focusing on distressing the edges, corners, ridges and raised areas.



Now, we mentioned earlier that we used a dark wax that we made ourselves.   We’ll be updating this post with the recipe in the near future but until then you can use a clear wax or buy a dark wax like the one that Annie Sloan sells.



After the wax was applied, dried and buffed out here is the newly old blue chair!

after waxing



Now it has a new home and provides a sitting area for our favorite monkey’s favorite monkey 🙂

distressed chair


Well, let us know what you think.   Please leave a comment and be sure to if you like it.

Thanks guys.   We hope you have as much fun as we did.

Angie and Chris