Monday, February 17, 2014

DIY Milk Paint Table Makeover

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!


  1. What a fun project! I've heard a lot of great things about milk paint. I'm presently looking for a new dining room table (I'll probably get it second-hand). Depending on what piece of furniture I end up with, I'm keeping milk paint in the back of my mind. ;) It looks really lovely on your table--the crackly texture looks so beautiful.

  2. Thanks Stacey! I hope you'll give milk paint a try sometime. I think it's great for a dining room table. The wax really seals it and it has cleaned up nicely! Good luck finding a secondhand gem!

  3. Thanks! I'm glad you like it! The milk paint did feel a bit chalky before using the wax. But the antiquing wax is just one option. Miss Mustard Seed also sells a perfectly clear wax (her Furniture Wax) if you didn't want the antique look, and I think she recommends using some sort of wax or oil to seal the paint and give it that nice rich luster (and to get rid of any chalkiness). I really don't know how milk paint would work on a wall but I would be really fascinated to find out. It could be amazing! I imagine it would work but only trying it would really let you know. Will you keep me posted? Good luck in the seminar :)

  4. THis looks AMAZING!! love it girl!

  5. Thank you! Appreciate the positive feedback! :)

  6. Thanks! I will keep you posted if I try it (I think it may work with certain wall types) :)

  7. Really love the look of this! It's so rustic and chic :) It feels very cozy! I'm also a big fan of milk paint--it's so much better for our health than regular paint :)

  8. I think I want to do this with an old dresser we have. It makes such a perfect whitewashed piece of furniture! I love it!

  9. I hope you do! So easy and fresh and a perfect change.

  10. Wow, your table looks amazing! I've never heard of milk paint..will definitely be looking into it for next projects. Can the wax be used on any type of paint? love the distressed finish it gives your table. Thanks for sharing!


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