Dry Brush Technique for Faux Painting


Faux painting uses various techniques to create the appearance of stone, texture, and leather. You can use these techniques to paint furniture, cabinetry and walls. Although faux painting is a project that requires a considerable amount of your time, the end result will be well worth the effort. Your faux painted walls will give added character and luxury to the rest of your room's decor.


  • Many of the techniques used in faux painting date back to the early Greek and Egyptian cultures. But the Italian masters during the Renaissance were able to bring the art of faux painting to its height of expertise. They were able to create the appearance of wood, stone and metal to their painting surfaces in such expert fashion that one could not tell if it was indeed the real thing or merely painted to appear to be wood, stone or metal.

    Faux painting has seen a rebirth within the last 10 years. Its popularity and resurgence is obvious through its use in many do-it-yourself decorating projects. The techniques are easy to learn and add charm and sophistication to a room.

Additive and Subtractive Techniques

  • There are two types of faux painting techniques: additive (positive) and subtractive (negative). In the additive technique, color or paint is added onto the wall or painting surface. Dry brushing is an additive technique.

    In the subtractive technique, color or paint is applied and then it is taken off the wall or painting surface before it dries. An example of a subtractive technique is ragging. The majority of subtractive or negative techniques require the application of a glaze and glazes dry quickly. Therefore it is important when using a subtractive technique and glazes that you move quickly before the glazes have had a chance to dry.

Dry Brushing

  • Additive techniques in faux painting include color meshing, crackling, marbleizing, patina, striping, wood graining and dry brushing. The dry brushing technique can be used to create two different looks to your wall or painting surface. One dry brushing technique will create texture to your painting surface. The other dry brushing technique will give a faint or muted color to your painting surface.

    To achieve texture through dry brushing you will put a small amount of paint on your brush and then apply the paint to the wall or painting surface in a herringbone pattern to create texture. To achieve the best results you will need to apply two or three colors.

    To achieve a faint or muted color to your painting surface you will dip your "dry" paint brush into the glaze or wash and then take most of the paint off of your brush. You want your brush to be almost "dry." You then paint the wall or surface with this almost "dry" brush to get that faint or light muted color.

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