how to dry brush {white wash}

Well folks, the big a$$ tv has a new home.

You’ll remember it used to live here.
If you want to see how I upgraded an old dresser with some fun maps and stenciling, click here.

Yes, that is in our bedroom.  :/

And we had this little cutie in our living room.

Wait…is that a plain, dirty piece of plywood hanging above my tv?  Hmmm, odd…more on that another time.  :)

Why?  You ask, do we have our little tv in the living room and large tv in the bedroom?? Well, we have this great outdoor space (being as we live on an island and all) and we will often move our tv outside when we are just hanging out on the roof.  It is a space I have been keeping under lock and key…well not really, it IS outside.  But, I have yet to share it on the blog.

The outdoor space is one of the best parts of this house.  No, I take that back, the outdoor space IS the best part of this house.  :)

But, after over 2 years of living here we find we’re not lugging the little tv outside quite as often as we used to and… really people…the house is the size of a bread box so moving the little tv into the bedroom adds an extra 12 steps when we do decide we want to take it outside.  Yes, I just paced it off.  :)

But, clearly the big a$$ tv wasn’t going to fit on this gal.
No, not the dog, the cute little Ethan Allan 4 drawer I got for….wait for it…$10.  Now…where to put her, hmmmm.  A decision for another day.

But, I did have this, not real special, hutch.

Some of our neighbors actually gave it to us when we lived in MD.  They had sold their house and it was the morning of closing day and whatever was left in the house was being left…unless we wanted anything.  Hahaha…they had no idea who they were dealing with when they innocently came over and made the offer to husband and I to “take whatever we want”.  Ahhh, so many pieces of junk treasures we acquired.  :)

The hutch made the trip to Curacao, you know, along with all of the essentials.  ;)

That’s a joke about all of the items my husband gives me a hard time about bringing on our island adventure.  There may be a still un-upholstered chair and some yarn lying around.  ;)

Anyway, I figured the hutch =
1 – a piece we didn’t care about if anything happened to it, and
2 – good storage.

So, take that husband.  That’s called logic  ;)

One cool part about her is that she is two pieces.  So I thought, if I just take her top off she’d make a great tv stand.  Who needs a top, er hutch, anyway?

But, if she was unremarkable all together, now she’s less than half of that.
Those are close ups of left) cute idea…coral handles, middle) cute idea gone wrong, scratches from coral and, right) top of the bottom of the hutch.

Am I right?  She’s a mess.

I was hesitant to paint her because of the sliding doors.  Wouldn’t they just rub, scratch and get haggard looking?  No, really, wouldn’t they???

Then I saw this beauty hopping around Pinterest.  Seriously, at least 3 of my blog buddies had pinned this, including Roeshel, Kari and Sherry.
Now, it’s going to take more skill than this girl has to turn my hutch into this.  haha

But, I thought a finish like that might give the bottom of my hutch a little pizzazz.

So…how does one get that finish?  Is it a white wash, is it a dry brush, is it a stain?

Let’s say it’s white wash.

How exactly to does one white watch?

Well, if you don’t know Shaunna, you’re missing out.  Not only does she write a beautiful blog, but she has an eBook that is all about different furniture finishes.  And, she wrote a great post way back in 2010 about the difference between white washing a dry brushing.

She gives all kinds of great details and tips so definitely check her out.

Following Shaunna’s advice, I added some water to my paint.

I brushed on my watered down paint.

And then I wiped it with a lint free cloth to get rid of any paint strokes.

I ended up doing two coats and do have a few tips:

1- Less is more.  Brush on your paint/water mixture very thoroughly.  It helps with the look, dries faster and saves paint.
2- Wait a few minutes before wiping if you want a whiter finish.  I wouldn’t have needed to do 2 coats if I had learned this the first time.  :)
3- If you have a spot you don’t like, STOP wiping it.  I had a few OOPS! spots and realized that the more I wiped the worse they got.  I had much better luck just letting the spot dry and then reapplying and wiping.
4- If you put the paint/water mixture on areas to, say touch up a bit and maybe, just hypothetically, forget to wipe it off and end up with a few spots that are a little more painted then you’d like…don’t panic.  :)  I just dipped my brush in pure water and brushed over the same area and it evened out the look a bit.

It’s hard to see in the picture but the top has two coats and the side only has one.

Now, of course, I don’t ever take the time to take pictures when I’m rectifying an OOPS! moment.  Somehow my body just doesn’t react this way.  As, I was evening out my OOPS! spots I was definitely thinking, “I should have taken a picture”.  But I just can’t seem to stop the quick reflex action to Fix. OOPS. Now!

Similar to when I was balancing the one screw gallery wall.  :)  No pics of that hazardous moment either.  :/


After I had the two coats we had her in place for a couple of days before I thought…STRIPES!

I have been wanting to do stripes for awhile and thought this would be an easy little first go round.  Then I thought…DRY BRUSH!  (Yes all of these thoughts came in all caps, exclamation point strength.)

Why not dry brush the stripes in a gray color (they really are gray, I know they look blue in the night pic), over my nice new light, light gray white wash.  Or would that be gray wash?

Then I wrapped a few of the handles I took off of the mapped dresser with twine.
And then…I thought….NUMBERS!

I am clearly loving numbers right now.  So I picked a couple not-so-random numbers, the same copper stencils I used for the HOME art here, and added some numbers.
My stripes were measured at 5 inch height (the whole cabinet is just about 30 inches tall) which worked perfect when I pulled out my stencils and realized they were 5 inches high. Score!

I traced the stencil and then  painted in the lines.  You know how I roll. 

Then I sanded them down a bit…and called her done.

Pin It

Dare I say she’s nautical and beachy?  I love her.

Joel’s reaction…

…what are the numbers for?  Sigh.

You can’t please everyone. ;)

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About Karah

I'm Karah and I'm so glad you're here! I'm a small town girl from the North East who finds myself moving around with my husband and pups every few years and constantly on a journey to make the most of every space we find ourselves in. That little space between what has been and what will be. It'd be so cool if you'd like to join us for the ride.
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72 Responses to how to dry brush {white wash}

  1. Deidre~ says:

    WOW!! I just love the way you washed this piece with paint! ha Ha My husband would say the same thing to me,lol.Awesome job and thank you so much for the paint tips:) Deidre~

  2. ladyblubird says:

    Darn good job I say-I am so glad there is someone who has a blog that does try new ideas and might not be perfect (though it looks absolutely perfect) I find reading many blogs I feel a little intimidated everyone seems so talented, chic, and perfect. The numbers just make the piece adorable-very coastal chic!!! Oh my husband did not get the numbers thing either-aren’t they funny

  3. WOW, You did such an amazing job! I would love for you to stop by and link up at my linky party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  4. She’s gorgeous!! And I love the numbers!! Men….they just don’t get it!

  5. Robin says:

    Just pinned this one :)

    I’m a major horizontal stripes gal and I just can’t stop thinking about items that could be wrapped in twine. I love how perfectly this piece fits with my notion of island decor and enjoying your living space. I keep saying that I want some beachy element in our Great Room and now I really have to figure out how to make something like this happen.

    Can’t wait to see how you re-envision / repurpose the hutch ’cause I know you didn’t toss it out! Such a fantastic job Karah.


  6. oh my goodness this is gorgeous and I love the twine handles …I have a bit of a thing for twine. So here’s a random question…do you have a lot of sea glass on your beaches?

  7. marilyn says:

    WOW..this is gorgeous! You have done such an amazing job! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  8. Mary Alice says:

    The end result is a great transformation. Thanks for the tips on white washing.
    Mary Alice

  9. I get a great deal of grief over the varied numbers that I put around the house. My husband want’s to know what they stand for? Or, it would make sense if the numbers correlated to each of us …. and oh the fun he has with our numbered napkins at our weekend family dinners …

    Looks great!


  10. Meg says:

    Love it!! And your hubby’s reaction is SO what my hubby would say!! Nice work.

  11. I love it – the colors, the numbers and the dry brush technique (and I would never have known you had an oops moments)! Now you’ve got two dressers that got it goin on (I still love the map one)!! Oh, and the hubs (like mine) obviously doesn’t have your number!

  12. Aw, she’s lovely! I love the dry-brushed stripes over the white wash. As for the top of the hutch, you could hang that on the wall somewhere. I’d love to get one to put over my washer and dryer. My husband wouldn’t get the numbers either ;-)

  13. Love the horizontal stripes! This piece is so perfect for an island house. I dont know why but whitewash screams BEACH! to me :)

  14. Cindy says:

    Your cabinet is gorgeous, I love it!

  15. Sarah says:

    I LOVE this piece!! The finish, the stripes, the numbers, the colors and of course the neat hardware!! What a great job! I am your newest follower : ) -Sarah

  16. cassie says:

    LOOOVE IT!!! the colors, stripes, numbers, finish- yes nautical! and also fantastical!

  17. Dana says:

    Love love love! The twine on the handles is the perfect touch. …and I have to say… you don’t exactly pack light when you move, eh?! (Don’t tell your hubby I said that!)

  18. Tara says:

    Very cool. Good thing you didn’t leave it behind:)

  19. Love it, love it, LOVE IT! You did a fantastic job with this re-do and it’s now the perfect home for the big a$$ tv! Way to go, girl! Hugs, Leena

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  21. Amy says:

    Love the beachy feel you achieved. Nicely done!

  22. Sarah says:

    Oh it’s so fun! I love whitewashing! I feel like it’s very idiot-proof & pretty much impossible to mess up :) I need that

  23. kim says:

    I love what you did to this piece. My husband would have questioned the numbers, too. Men!

  24. Shiloh says:

    It’s very beachy! I never really knew what white wash was. Thank you so much for all your instructions. THey’re super helpful.:)

  25. Gwen says:

    Ha! I loved reading this post…you be so funny! The topless hutch turned out amazing… I’m a big fan of the white wash/dry brush… but the hubs just doesn’t get it. Go figure…

    BTW…totally followed your logic.

  26. Kristi says:

    Karah– it’s AWESOME!! Love everything about it…especially those handles!! Fabulous. So excited to have you stop by my blog. I’m happily following you as well!! Have a great rest of your week!

  27. Kimberly says:

    I love the wrapped handles!

  28. Cristina says:

    Love it! the stripes, white wash and of course the handles!

  29. FABULOUS tutorial! Definitely pinning this!! Thanks for linking up this week :)

  30. Sue Reincke says:

    Am loving Joel’s comment. ;)

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  32. This is beautiful!!! Great work!

  33. Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D says:

    Somehow I missed this post…but luckily “Creative in Chicago” referenced it in her Seaglass post. Love the white washing!

    Of course, or new bedroom isn’t beachy…yet I think I might be able to use some of your technique. The grey whitewash looks like it might be perfect for aging some wood making it look a little desert worm.

    I’m kinda excited about that. :)
    ~ Dana
    P.S. I’m not normally a stripe gal, but I love your faded stripes!
    P.P.S. Can’t wait to see your outdoor space!!!(Actually, I would love a tour of your whole breadbox ;)

  34. Sarah says:

    Love it! Thanks for all the tips.

    I love the stripes and the numbers too. I laughed out loud when I read the response from your hubby. My hubs would say the EXACT same thing. They just don’t get it, do they? Haha.

  35. Christine says:

    Karah!!! This is amazing…. like always!!!!!!

    I hope you’ll share this over at my place… PLEASE!!!

  36. Ah, this goes in my beach cottage style file! Thanks so much!

  37. Leslie says:

    WOW!!!! Love this post.

  38. This is awesome! I did a similar dresser for my boys’ room!

    I would absolutely love if you linked this up to my new linky party going on now!!!

    xoxo, Mallory @ Classy Clutter

  39. This turned out great!! I love the different paint techniques, the stripes, the handles, the numbers…wait, that’s the whole thing! Thanks for linking up.

  40. Megan says:

    Beautiful job!!! I absolutely love the final product. You must be so excited. :) ~ Megan

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  42. Mindie says:

    Looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing at Bacon Time.

  43. I love this so much!! I’m featuring it today over at 52 mantels!! :)

    Thanks so much for linking up!

  44. amy gilman says:

    Thanks for linking up. We featured you!

  45. Paola Levi says:

    LOVE THIS!!! have just found your blog and had to follow, love the things you do, i am a newbie at this home decor stuff, you certainly do inspire me

  46. So great! I love the stripes, numbers and whitewashed colors. Thanks for linking up @ Burlap & Denim.

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  49. Diane Killmon says:

    Just a thought for the leftover top: finish it in a similar fashion and hang it on the wall fairly high. Put baskets/bins in the shelf openings and add hooks for coats to use in an entrance area. Beautiful job!

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  51. Stacie Wolfe says:

    I finally feel like I could try the white washing. You make it look so easy! Thanks for the info, and your end result is beautiful!

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  54. lovelymrsp says:

    Hi Karah, I am stopping by to let you know I featured your tv stand today! Stop and link up again for this week! Great job!

  55. Karah ~ lolol! Sometimes guys just don’t “get” it, do they….??? LUV what you did with that hutch! The colors and stripes and washed out beachy look is just perfect!!! :)

    xoxo laurie

  56. love how this turned out…great job and congrats on the feature at the Whisperwood Cottage party…yahooooooo!!!!!!

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  66. That turned out beautiful, you’ve done a wonderful job painting that!! I’ve got this linked to my whitewashing DIY’s post as well today, for inspiration!

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