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Dry-Brushing Technique

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Add a touch of drama to any room with the softly textured look of dry brushing. It is a simple and affordable way to turn an ordinary space into a cozy retreat.

A painter applying paint to wall using a dry brush technique
A painter applying paint to wall using a dry brush technique
A painter applying paint to wall using a dry brush technique

Tools and Supplies



  • 3/8-inch nap Benjamin Moore roller cover
  • Three 2½ - inch Benjamin Moore brushes
  • Cardboard or newspaper
  • Rags
  • Roller cage
  • Water

Note: The amount of dry brushing paint and the tools required will depend on the square footage of your project. For guidance in calculating the size of your project, consult your local Benjamin Moore retailer.

The Dry Brushing Technique

Step 1 - Paint Your Walls
Paint your wall(s) with two base coats of Wild Rice 2097-70. Allow at least 24 hours for it to dry.

Step 2 - Tape the Ceiling
Apply tape to the ceiling and baseboard before you apply brush coats to your wall.

Step 3 - Ready Your Brush
Dip the tip of your brush in the first brush coat, Somerville Red (HC-62). Remove any excess paint by dabbing your brush on a piece of cardboard.

Step 4 - Brush the Walls
Using a stroke about 8 to 12 inches long, brush your wall at a 45-degree angle. Also make a second brushstroke adjacent to the first, at an opposite 45-degree angle, to create a herringbone pattern.

Repeat this brushing pattern to fill in a four-by-four-foot section of the wall, re-dipping your brush in the paint as needed.

Step 5 - Apply a Second Coat
Use Sandblast 2103-50 to apply the second coat over the first in the same pattern, but be looser in creating your angles.

With the second coat, the idea is to soften the pattern created by the first coat. When you finish, move to your next four-by-four-foot section and repeat the steps above.

Step 6 - Apply a Third Coat

When you have finished painting your walls, brush on the third coat with Cloud White 967, randomly in select areas to create highlights.

Helpful Hints for Dry Brushing Paint:

  • The secret to this technique is not to apply too much paint. If your brush becomes too dry and does not appear to add any paint to the surface, dip it in water and shake well.
  • When selecting colors, choose from within the same color family or those that are tints or shades of each other, to ensure they blend well together on the wall.
  • When using the dry brushing painting technique, keep in mind that you'll be using small hand-sized tools, so your project may take extra time to complete.
  • You can achieve the dry-brushing look in the corners with a few dabs of a paint brush.
  • Do not worry when the first brush coat is applied. It will be dark, but the second brush coat will soften the look.

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