Distressing  Painted Chairs using Dry Brushing

Distressing Painted Chairs using Dry Brushing

There are so many ways to give painted furniture a vintage distressed look without having to take out the sander. There are times when I do not want to sand away layers of paint to reveal the wood. Perhaps the wood is not the right color or the piece is made out of MDF. Mid Century French provincial furniture is popular right now, but many were made with melamine surfaces and not suitable for sanding. So, if you want an antique weathered finish, dry brushing is a simple and easy way to paint!

Today I am painting a set of vintage chairs. They were painted a glossy black and had outdated upholstery. I want them to mimic the aged patina seen in old painted Swedish furniture.

The chairs have been painted with a tinted primer. I am a big believer in starting with a quality primer. The primer is a soft grey color. Next, I painted the chairs with one coat of a cream latex paint. I did not mind if any of the grey peeked through. Just adds to the aged look. The next step was painting a cool blue grey in random spots all over the chairs. Then follow with another dry brushed layer of the cream base coat. In the photo, you can see the slight difference between the two colors. It is subtle, but I think it adds to the final finish.  I don't use fancy brushes for this. A chip brush is perfect for what I am doing. Now the fun part of this project, dry brushing! I mixed a brown and black to get the right 'dirty' wood color. Load  the brush and then, using a paper towel, off load most of the paint. Angle the brush to gently hit the hard edges. Then as the brush gets drier, use the tips and sides to paint wherever you want an aged look. Don't worry about being precise. I really wanted these chairs to have a heavy distressed look so I dry brushed all over. If you wanted a more subtle look, you can use lighter colors and only hit a few areas. The next step is where the magic really happens! Applying tinted glazes to tone down the colors and give the chairs an aged look. I do not use waxes. I find them unpredictable and limiting. I like glazes because I can make them any color I want. And in this case, I add two glazes to give add more colored interest. Cool grey vs warm brown, as in the two paint colors I used, the cool blue grey and warm cream. Brush the glazes on thick, then wipe down with a clean cotton rag. A good quality glaze will give you plenty of open working time to play around. Close up of the finished look. Give the glazes at least 24 hours to dry before you apply the sealant coat. I use water based polyacrylics that do not yellow, like oil based polyurethanes. For these chairs, I used a matte sealant, giving the chairs a flat finish. I reupholstered the seats using new materials such as foam, batting and a linen blend upholstery fabric. I love this fabric. Since it is a linen blend, it has a nice French linen look, but with the durability of upholstery fabric.

The chairs are available in my online shop. If you are interested in purchasing, please click on Dining Chairs to purchase!


Till next time!


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