How to Dry Brush A Door | Old World Charm

Today I am gonna show you an easy fun project for a bit of old world charm in How to Dry Brush a Door

I am never short of a project here. Whether it be inside or out, there is something that I want to put my hands to in an attempt to transform. This property is 70 years old and yet not quite as old I would like, but she has great bones and massive potential.

 I am undoing the updates and taking this house back to its earlier years. This means, I basically have to redo everything that has been “updated”. It has come a long way since moving day however there is so much more work to be done.

When attempting to “date” your home. To turn back the clock within your walls in terms of your home decor, you have to think of all the little parts. How people would have lived, how things wear over time, and what would they have decorated within those times? 

 The doors suddenly struck me as too modern. Crispy white.  So with a quick re-staining, I have an appearance of worn wood with a very minimal effort. The idea of dry brushing a door sounds much more complicated than it is.


a plain white entry door before dry brushing

I simply purchased a wood stain. A good brush. And began to paint it directly over the paint already there. No sanding. I will say, I did wipe the door down to get the dusty bits off before starting. After applying the stain, I allowed it to dry just a bit but not all the way. Using a towel I wiped it away, then brushed it with the stain again. Running the brush over areas until I had the right amount of light and dark. 

can of wood stain and a paint brush for dry brushing

When you do a project like this, the thought of how the door would be worn or where it should be worn most is helpful. I wiped the stain off more so in those heavily trafficked areas of the door, near the lock and deadbolt. I do wish I would have gotten more process shots but below I will share with you my best tips for success!

Tips for Dry Brushing

  • Wipe down the door and scrape off any debris before starting
  • In between applications be sure to allow the stain to dry for a few seconds before adding another coat. This will help give it those strokes we are going for.
  • Use the towel to wipe over the almost-dried stain. This helps to remove obvious brush strokes.
  • Wear gloves and protect your clothes because wood stain will not come out of anything!
  • Don’t be afraid to go against the brush strokes. I use vertical and horizontal strokes over the same are.
  • Dry brushing is very forgiving so if you mess up by adding too much stain simply use your towel to wipe off and redo the area.
  • Allow the door to dry completely before replacing the knob.

What You Will Need

  • a towel you don’t mind damaging
  • a water-based stain
  • a paint brush for staining
  • a screw driver to remove the doorknob
  • plastic gloves to protect hands (optional)
  • painters tape to protect the trim (optional)


an upclose shot of a dry brushed door
The door directly after dry brushing
a dry burshed door
You can make the door as light or dark as you’d like

Stepping back from this project, all I could do was smile. On a 15-minute break during a homeschool afternoon, I warmed up the room and brought in a worn wood element to both the living room and the kitchen. 

a dry brushed door that looks distressed
The brush strokes reveal just how forgiving this project is
distressed door from dry brushing and aprons hanging alongside it

Did I also mention this project cost me 20 bucks??? I’d say it was worth every cent. Remember on a project like this, the mistakes actually make the door look better. So don’t go for perfection. It is more about a worn look.

Shop this Post

Water Based Wood Stain

4 x 12 Reusable Drop Cloth

Stain Paint Brush Set

Check Out More Reader Favorites

How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware

Urban Farming, Making Due With What We Have

Ways to Create a French Farmhouse

10 Ways To Live The Farmhouse Lifestyle In The City

5 Ways To Make Your Home More Cozy

Printable Instructions

Yield: N/A

Dry Brush A Door

aprons hanging next to a distressed looking door

An easy way to make the doors in your home appear old or worn. For an old world look.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Difficulty easy


  • You will need a water-based stain, I suggest Behrs Fast Drying Water Base Wood Stain
  • a good paintbrush for staining purposes
  • an old towel to wipe
  • A drop cloth or another old towel to protect the floor and painter tape to protect the frame (optional)


  • screw driver to remove hardware from door


  1. Make sure to protect the floor and area with an old towel or drop cloth beforehand.
  2. Remove door hardware for a cleaner look.
  3. Wipe the door down to get the dusty bits off before starting
  4. . Apply the stain in an up-and-down motion and then side by side. over the same area. This will create a more worn look as the brush strokes clash over one another. Brush briskly over stained areas.
  5. Allow it to dry just a bit but not all the way.
  6. Using a towel wipe the stain away lightly,
  7. Take the brush and reapply the stain the same as before until you get the desired dept.
  8. Continue wiping it away, applying more, and allowing it to dry a bit.
  9. Make sure to do back and fourth and then side by side as you apply to continue creating that worn look.
  10. Once the desired look is achieved. Allow the door to completely dry before adding the hardware back

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

Sharing is Caring

Similar Posts