I completed this table makeover about a week ago and I love it a little more every day! My husband and I are both very pleased with it. It's amazing what a difference a little DIY work can do on furniture that has seen better days!
This table was a hand-me-down from my parents (and I think it was a hand-me-down for them too) so it has been through a lot of use over the years. I especially disliked all of the white discoloration and heat spots that had stubbornly imprinted themselves into the finish. But the table is sturdy and has a nice design, with three separate leaves (one of which is in storage so I'll have to paint it later) and the curved legs and the warm wood.
Since the base of the table is in good condition and because the wood in that area is warm and pretty, I decided just to paint the top. I'm a big fan of contrast between wood and paint and I think the two-tone look I was able to achieve is unusual and unexpected, which I like.
So--the project itself. I used Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint for the first time and it blew me away. It's an amazing product. It comes as a powder so you add water until you get the consistency you're after. I also added the MMS Bonding Agent because I didn't want any chipping or flaking, and because by adding it I was able to skip the priming/sanding/striping that I so dislike. I simply cleaned the wood and began painting.
I chose to use Ironstone, the pure white color in the MMS Milk Paint line. Because the wood was fairly dark and the paint was light, I did have to apply about 5 or 6 coats which I've read is typical for Ironstone. I didn't mind though because with each coat I came a little bit closer to the lovely opaque white I was after.
So the milk paint was a success and a pleasure to work with. But the real revelation in this project was the completely amazing, transforming power of Miss Mustard Seed's Antiquing Wax, which I applied on top of the paint. This is an incredible product. After I had applied 6 coats of the milk paint, the finish was nice but was lacking something. It was a little bit too uniform (I had heard that milk paint has a lot of color variation and for whatever reason I wasn't getting that) and a bit too flat and chalky. The white was also pretty bright and it didn't have the worn-in antique-y look I was going for. The Ironstone is beautiful but it was such a brilliant contrast to the wood and it was a little shocking.
Horrible lighting, but this is how the antiquing wax looks in contrast to the milk paint on its own
Right before applying the wax I gave the whole table a quick sand with a sanding sponge to smooth out the paint. I also lightly distressed the corners and edges to let the wood underneath show a little. I didn't want to overdo this step but it did help to make it table look aged.
Then I began to apply the antiquing wax. I rubbed it in slowly at first, nervous to be putting such a dark-colored wax on top of white paint, but as I began to see how beautiful and natural it looked I gained confidence. This wax gave me the most gorgeous finish! As I rubbed it in the wax seeped into the cracks and crevices and imperfections in the table, giving it a really authentically aged look. I applied it with a paint brush and then used a cotton cloth to lightly rub it in and wipe off the excess. I found that by using slightly different strokes and amounts of pressure as I wiped the wax away I could get beautiful color variations, from lighter cream to deeper mocha. And while the surface feels smooth and sealed and moisturized, visually, there are many different textures that appeared when I used the wax. It's really amazing stuff. In an hour, I had achieved the patina of one hundred years.
This crackly texture is amazing! It feels smooth, but looks scruffy and rough, and I love that.
Honestly, I'm not sure I'll ever go back to brushing regular latex paint on furniture again. I think I'll still use spray paint because it's just so useful and practical for certain projects, but already I'm feeling very loyal to milk paint and the furniture waxes that Miss Mustard Seed has created. I see a lot of milk paint projects in my future!