Painting alone can be a little daunting for someone new to decorating, and faux painting might seem impossible. Not so! With a little know-how, and maybe a pinch of practice, some really fun faux techniques are in your grasp.
Let’s take on dry brushing today.
Dry brushing produces a streaked effect that is more casual than stripes. It can appear similar to a faux wood-grain. Some great places to try this are walls, baseboard and trim, headboards, cabinets, closet doors, and any furniture with broad wood surfaces (chest of drawers, tables, etc).
Your first decision is about subtlety. Do you want to make a bold effect, or do you simply want to soften some hard lines in the space by bringing texture in the room? This will affect your color choices. Some good places to start are a white linen/pale grey combination for a New England style effect, or a light beige with a soft tan for a country living experience. If you are unsure, your best bet is to practice. One tip, bring your practice piece into the room at various times of day, so you can check the effect of the changing light conditions on your surface.
You can choose color combinations based on their placement on the color wheel, or by shade. Picking a nearby shade from the same manufacturer will help you find a complement. Also, most home stores have consultants available for free! You can also go to paint websites and practice. Remember, no fear, it’s just paint!
Generally a lighter shade is used for the base, and a darker shade is painted over it using the dry brush technique. Often neutral shades are used for both the base and the overlay paint in “shabby chic” applications. Dry brushing works best with actual paint, not glazes, which are for other faux techniques. I recommend using matte or flat paint for both layers, but again it depends on the finished look you prefer.
Ok, so you’ve got your painted base surface. What’s next?
You will need:
Your color (this will be for the “lines” on the surface)
A very stiff paint brush
Some cardboard or newspaper
A graduated paint tray
Dip the tip of your paint brush into your color. If you want a lot of coverage, only remove a little paint from the brush by scraping it on the paint tray slope. For looser lines, brush a few strokes on the cardboard or newspaper before painting it on your surface. Giving the brush a final rub with a paper towel will produce extremely light lines that only give an impression of texture.
Vertical lines give the impression of height while horizontal lines give the impression of length. You can layer for additional effect. I prefer only using dry brushing in one direction on the entire surface. If you are playing with a cross-hatch effect, you will want to test it first. Check out TV design websites and home stores (or their websites) to see examples of some of these effects.
Most of all, remember to have fun, and don’t be afraid!