I just finished up a pair of French nightstands for my friend Deb who just finished building a new home. Unlike her old, mostly colonial-styled home, Deb’s new home features warm grays and a touch of modern romance. Quite the contrast in styles. So in an effort to re-purpose her old nightstands and fit them into the new decor, they received a soft, romantic finish with this metalic and dry brush painting technique.
While much of her old home had a rustic, colonial flare Deb did have these two white French nightstands. A little refinshing and the shape will work well for her going forward.
Here’s how this pair of French nightstands looked when I received them. Well, the photo was actually taken after I removed the handles and filled the screw holes and the bottom edge with wood filler then sanded them back a bit. Deb is planning to add her own, new, embossed cup pulls.
The pair was also coated in bright white spray paint which meant they had to be primed to ensure any paint finish would adhere.
Tip: Alway let the primer dry for 24 hours to ensure maximum adhesion.
Here is the inspiration photo and warm, romantic look Deb was hoping to achieve. If you look closely there appears to be a warm gray over an off-white with horizontal striations and champagne metalic highlights.
We started with a Dove White base. I simply tinted the primer and added three coats for full coverage. HERE is the Zinsser primer I used.
Once the primer was fully dried and set for 24 hours, it was time to add the warm gray topcoat.
Deb brought me this brushed metalic paint in Champagne to use for the highlights. This was purchased at a local craft store, but THIS is a similar paint.
I brought the metalic to my local Benjamin Moore retailer and they were able to color match it almost perfectly to their color Himalayan Trek. That would be the top coat that was applied using a dry-brush technique.
Dry Brush Painting Technique
To dry brush on paint, start with a large, natural bristle paint brush like THIS one. Apply a tiny bit of paint to the tip of the brush. I actually never dipped the brush into the paint can. Instead, I tapped the brush only onto the wet cover of the paint can then dabbed the brush onto a dry rag to remove 90% of the paint.
Then take your brush and swoop it across the wood surface in long horizontal strokes. Back and forth. Back and forth. But never landing in one spot or you’ll apply too much paint to a single area.
With dry brushing you have one shot at getting it right. If you add to much paint to your brush or have to add more color with a second coat, you risk getting too full of a coverage in spots. So you have to be sure you have VERY little paint on your brush.
Add to that, trying to get an exact match on two separate pieces of furniture, and it’s a challenge.
Here you can see the left-hand nightstand is primed in Dove White and the right-hand nightstand is primed plus has the dry-brushed Himalayan Trek applied.
The light pink swatch shown below is Deb’s master bedroom wall color and the bottom gray swatch is her adjoining master bath (Revere Pewter). The final finish on the nightstands will coordinate nicely with both.
Once the top coat was dry, I used a small artist’s brush like THESE to apply the champagne metallic paint in the recessed groves and along the trim. This added a very subtle sheen for just the right amount of reserved glam.
Next, two coats of Minwax matte polycryilic were brushed on to protect the paint finishes. But since the clear-coat was a matte finish, I felt like it dulled the metalic just a bit. So once it was dry, I applied another round of the metalic paint.
This certainly is not a mass-produced factory-finish. Instead, these nightstands now have an original, hand-brushed finished.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I use myself.