Getting A Weathered Look | Antique Chest Dry Brush Makeover

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Craigslist has been very kind to me lately.  I haven’t been able to make it out to as many flea markets and estate sales as I usually like to hit, so I have been having to make up for it by hunting down finds on CL.

Two weeks ago, this great antique gentleman’s chest showed up as a listing for really cheap.

Antique Chest Makeover

My husband was kind enough to drive 2 hours round-trip to get it for me, and once he got it back home it became apparent why it was priced so cheaply!

I couldn’t tell from the listing photos, but it was obvious in person that the upper doors were not original to the piece.  Darn.



Also, there was a good bit of veneer damage, which isn’t a huge problem, but needs to be fixed when it’s big spots like this on the top (this is a great example of why it’s good to keep that wood filler on hand like I talked about in my last post!)

Structurally though, it was a sturdy piece.  Once the repairs were made, I decided to try a new finish on it.  I was hoping to give it weathered look, sort of Scandinavian-inspired, so I went for the dry brush technique.

I have walked through this technique before, but here’s another quick recap of the process.


When dry brushing, you use very little paint.  Dab just the tip of your brush into a small bit of paint (this is a mixture of some chalk paint I had on hand, watered down a little).

NOTE: Although I now almost exclusively use Fusion Mineral Paint, the dry brush technique works the same. 

Dab just the tip of your brush into a small bit of paint (this is a mixture of some chalk paint I had on hand, watered down a little).

Dry Brush Makeover

You can see how little paint is actually on the brush, and that’s key!  Next, blot the brush on a rag or paper towel.

Dry Brush Makeover

Then you’re ready to brush the piece.

This process takes a little while because the little bit of paint on your brush doesn’t go far!

You spend a good bit more time dipping and blotting your brush, but here is the look you’re going for:

Dry Brush Makeover

See how much of the wood is still coming through?  If you get too much paint on the piece, keep your rag handy and wipe it off immediately.

After dry-brushing the whole piece in a gray, I added on a little white it strategic places, using the dry brush technique again.

Dry Brush Makeover

I wanted to produce a very subtle layering of color.  It’s hard to even tell the difference, but the edge of the chest has been painted with the white also, while the drawer and bottom trim have not.

Even though dry brushing itself may take a little longer than regular painting, your paint dries super fast and you can move through the project quicker because you don’t have to worry about your paint strokes being a little messy.

I was finished dry brushing the two colors on this whole piece in about an hour.

It was hard to find a good spot to photograph this in my house, so bear with me on these photos!

The chest really needs a cool colored background to show it off well, and unfortunately, my yellow walls wouldn’t provide that.

But hopefully, you can get the general idea of how it turned out!

Antique Chest Makeover

I’m so happy with it!  I know it may not be everyone’s taste, but it really does make for a neat and unique finish.

Antique Chest Makeover

Antique Chest Makeover

All of that lovely detail can still be seen so well, and the piece has so much visual depth to it now.



Original hardware, always a score!

Antique Chest Makeover

And a little surprise for the inside top:


The drawers also needed some veneer repair, so I decided to patch the spots and give the drawer fronts a coat of creamy white with a little dark wax.


I hope you like it! And I hope you decide to try the dry brush technique yourself to create a great weathered look.

It’s easy, quick, and best of all uses only a tiny bit of that expensive paint!

This piece will be up at my ACM space for sale next week for $285.



Monday 15th of September 2014

Hi Melanie. I love this piece & your tutorial is so well thought out. I'm definitely going to have to try it on one of my next projects. I can't wait to see what you do next.

Kelsey @ the Vintage Storehouse & Co.

PS- Would love to have you share & link up at ReLoved Fridays! The link party is open until Monday!


Monday 15th of September 2014

Thank you Kelsey! You should try it! It's really so easy. Thanks for stopping by :)


Thursday 11th of September 2014

Very nice indeed! Have not tried this technique so far. . Just wondering - do u put any kind of finish afterwards ? I use clear wax a lot to help protect the finish. . Enjoy your blog tremendously!


Thursday 11th of September 2014

Thank you Sandra! Yes, I applied clear wax onto the finished piece, did I forget to say that? Thank you for pointing that out--it's an important step!

Kathryn Griffin @TheDedicatedHouse

Tuesday 9th of September 2014

Melanie, I love this piece!! Thank you for sharing! You are one on of the features at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link to this week's bash. I hope to see your prettiness again at the party! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse


Tuesday 9th of September 2014

Thank you Kathryn! I so appreciate the feature :)

Gigi Harlan

Sunday 31st of August 2014

Your dry brush technique really added some depth and uniqueness to the chest, so pretty!

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