If someone had predicted that I was going to be stenciling purple flowers on a green dresser I would have said they were absolutely cray-cray.
But never say never is a good motto!
In this case it was sort of a custom job. When my niece, Kristine, mentioned that she wanted a dresser for her new apartment and that she wanted one with doors at the top rather than all drawers, I began the hunt on craigslist. I found one relatively quickly, and it was just over in Stillwater so not far away.
Fits the bill perfectly, right?
It had a little flaw. Some of the trim above the left front leg was missing.
Ken took care of that in short order.
Kris wanted green, so I lobbied heavily for In a Pickle milk paint from Sweet Pickins. I just love that shade of fresh green, and I thought it would add a modern twist to a vintage dresser. But no. She wanted MMS Luckett’s Green. I’ll admit I cringed a little. I’ve had trouble with Luckett’s before so I was reluctant.
But this dresser was for Kris, so I decided to suck it up and get out the Luckett’s. I mixed up my paint and started prepping. Then I got sidetracked. I can’t even remember what now, but something came up and it was another two days before I started painting. I’ve certainly used two day old MMS milk paint before, so I didn’t think anything of it. However, shortly after I began painting I noticed something strange. The blue pigment in the paint kept rising to the top in my cup of mixed paint. I kept stirring, and it would blend back in for a few moments, but then rise again. To make matters worse, I noticed it was also rising to the top on the surfaces I’d already painted. I kept painting and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, that was a bad plan. When the paint dried it looked like this.
Can you sort of see how the blue pigments were floating to the top?
I was puzzled, so I emailed Jennylyn Pringle, the President of Homestead House Paint Co, the manufacturers of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint. She very kindly got back to me right away and explained that the blue pigments are lighter (in weight, not color) than other pigments, go figure, and the best way to solve the problem was just to mix a new batch. So, I did. Here is a comparison of how the paints looked in my cups.
See that blue film in the “bad” cup, sort of like an oil slick? That was my problem and it just wouldn’t go away.
So, another lesson learned. Some of the milk paints can’t be kept hanging around for two days once they are mixed! I know there are a lot of you out there that believe that milk paint just isn’t worth the effort because of issues like this. I will totally agree with you that it can be finicky sometimes. I certainly have run into my fair share of problems with this paint. However, I still go back to it over and over as my favorite. There is just something about the end result that makes it all worth it for me. And on the bright side, I am learning these things the hard way and sharing them with you so that you don’t have to!
Anyway, I mixed up a new batch and painted one last coat and it looked fab!
Back to the custom paint job. My niece wanted Luckett’s Green, but she also wanted a creamy white on the doors with a flower stencil in purple. Well, it’s her dresser! If she wants purple flowers, that’s what I’ll give her. I painted the insets with Fusion’s Casement and the purple was an acrylic craft paint that Kris picked out.
Kris also purchased the stencil herself. I’m not sure where she got it, but I can tell you that it definitely was not of the same quality as the stencils from Maison de Stencils that I am used too. It was rather warped, which made it difficult to get nice crisp lines. But Kris is very happy with the end result, and that is all that matters!
You may have noticed that I changed out the hardware on this one. That came right after Kris made ‘that face’ when I asked if she wanted to keep them. You know ‘that face’, the one that says “gag me with a spoon”. OK, maybe people don’t use that expression anymore, but you know what I mean. When I asked her “what don’t you like about them?” in an attempt to figure out what direction to go in, she said “they look old.” Oh boy. That’s usually precisely what I do like about things. Hmmm. I wonder what she thinks about me! I’m pretty sure I look old.
Fortunately I had these ivory ceramic knobs on hand though, and once I held them in place we both realized they were perfect. They even mirror the shape of the stenciled flowers.
They definitely gave it a newer, more updated look.
I thought I would have trouble finding the right props to stage this one for photos, but as it turned out I had some great vintage purple and green books. And at the last minute I threw in my potted lavender. The purple was a perfect match.
I certainly never pictured using a green and purple color scheme anywhere else but in the garden when I potted it up last spring, but hey, you just never know.
Kris seems very happy with her new dresser, and I’m certainly happy I was able to pull it together for her. We brought it over last night and she’ll have just enough time to get it in place before their house/apartment warming party this weekend!