a painting fairy tale.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away (Stillwater) I saw a beautiful painted dresser in a shop.  The color was a gorgeous, deep, dark blue-green.  I ask the proprietress of the shop if she knew what paint was used on the dresser and she said it was milk paint from The Real Milk Paint Co.  Sadly though, the evil queen had cast a spell upon her and she couldn’t remember exactly which color it was.

OK, I made up the part about the evil queen, but the rest is true.  The shop owner thought it was either Dragonfly or Peacock, but she just wasn’t sure.

So I embarked upon a quest to find that magical color and paint something with it myself.

I started with Dragonfly

But it was clearly way too blue.

Next I tried Peacock

It was much closer, definitely the same level of darkness, but it was a bit too green.

Trying to recreate a color exactly like one on a piece that you’ve seen, in person or even worse, online, can be rather difficult.  Especially so with milk paint which is far more translucent than other kinds of paint.  Sometimes the original color of the wood that you are painting over will make a difference in the look of the final color.  I’ve also found that there can be pretty wide variations from package to package of the same color of milk paint (well, that can be true of other paints too).  In addition, the topcoat you use can also really affect the color.  In the case of that Peacock dresser, I think the hemp oil topcoat combined with the orange-ish color of the wood really brought out the green.

Still hoping that I would be able to find that magical color, I tried The Real Milk Paint Co’s Blue Spruce next.  But as it turns out, this was no fairy tale.  The third color I tried was not ‘just right’.  Instead it was even more green than the Peacock.

After giving it some more thought, I realized that the original dresser I saw in that shop was probably painted in Peacock.  Maybe it just didn’t have a hemp oil topcoat?  I had enough Peacock left to give it another go, so I pulled out this dresser that I purchased at the Linden Hills sales.

Before painting it I stripped the top using Citristrip.  While the Citristrip was working its magic, I started prep on the drawers.  I grabbed my screwdriver so I could remove those wooden knobs for painting.  Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find screws on the back.

Turned out that the knobs themselves just screwed into the drawer.  Pretty cool, right?

After the top was stripped and I’d prepped the rest of the piece by sanding it lightly and cleaning it with TSP Substitute, I mixed my paint.  That’s when I had what turned out to be kind of a dumb idea.  I decided to mix a little blue milk paint into the Peacock to ensure it would be a little less green than last time.  So I pulled out some of Homestead House’s Homestead Blue.  I didn’t add much, maybe a heaping tablespoon of Homestead Blue to a quarter cup of Peacock.

And after two coats of paint and a top coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s clear wax, here’s the color I got.

Hmmmmm.  In case you are in doubt, this is nowhere near the color I wanted or expected.  How did it end up so light, and so very blue?  What happened to the green?

For a minute I even thought maybe I confused the Dragonfly for the Peacock while I was mixing, but no, I checked.  This was definitely the Peacock.

Go figure.

Did that heaping tablespoon of Homestead Blue really make that much of  difference to the Peacock?  Or was it the clear wax topcoat?  Honestly, I’m baffled.  This color not at all what I envisioned for this dresser, so I’m having trouble being happy with how it turned out.

But I’ve realized that even though this isn’t what I expected, it is a pretty color.

The moral to our fairy tale story is that you don’t always get what you wish for when mixing your own shade of milk paint, so you have to be flexible and willing to just go with the flow.

The top of the dresser turned out beautifully.  As I said, I stripped it.  Then I sanded it a bit and finished it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax.  I love that it has some dings from many years of use, but looks clean and fresh with the wax.

I staged this piece for a laundry room complete with my new dress form, Collette, and some pretty vintage linens.

I’m going to be bringing some of these linens to Reclaiming Beautiful to see if they will sell.  I’ve always sold pretty vintage pillowcases, napkins, tablecloths and sheets at my own occasional sale so I’ll see if they sell well in a shop or not.

These are all in incredibly good condition, which tends to mean that the owner received them as a gift and never used them.  I hate to see them wasting away in a linen closet, so I hope someone buys them and uses them.

I hope you enjoyed today’s painting fairy tale.  I’ve got another for you on Friday!


And in the meantime, if any of you locals need a pretty blue antique dresser be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ page!


24 thoughts on “a painting fairy tale.

  1. Well that is the joy/surprise when using milkpaint, you never know what color it will turn out once it’s painted on wood! But no matter, you created a beautiful piece and someone will love it! I think the top is so beautiful, it really shows the aged piece of wood to its best advantage. And vintage linens are such a joy. They seem to move really well for me, so much so that I bought a vintage bread rack to display them on and have been using it for a couple of months now. I’d say I sell four to five linen pieces each week. I typically pay very little for them but a lot have stains or are musty smelling. I soak them in Biz and Oxi, wash and iron them and voila they become a beautiful reminder of how women used to do a lot of gorgeous embroidery or lace making, something that would mpnever happen today. Thanks for a new inspiration!


    1. That’s awesome to know about the vintage linens Laura! I follow your same method of treatment, soaking in OxiClean, following by washing and ironing. Sometimes I will also hang the whites out on the line on a sunny day to brighten them up. I hope they do as well for me at they have for you!


  2. All the colors are lovely and the dressers turned out beautiful. Collette looks very pleased with how she turned out. She’s seems happy you rescued her.


    1. I think Collette must be happy to be out of that musty attic where she had been collecting dust for decades! I paired her up with Lula, my other mannequin, and they make a great duo!


  3. Beautiful color! You might not ever be able to replicate the color in your head, but I know you will keep at it. The piece is beautiful…hopefully it will go to a good home. Love the screw in knobs!


  4. I really like the way your project turned out.I think its a perfect color! I enjoy all you colorful make overs. Also those linens are beautiful. I love old linens,especially table cloths.,pillowcases. Have you noticed no one manufacturer s
    Pretty linens. Anymore?Great job.


    1. Thank you so much Charleen! I think the thing about these linens is that they were all embroidered by hand, and that is something that no one does anymore. They also were made out of a much better quality linen than what is available now (unless you want to pay big money). Handiwork like embroidering, tatting and Hardanger are becoming a lost art.


  5. Well…..I absolutely love that color! I know its not what you envisioned but it’s gorgeous nonetheless. I know what you mean about the milk paint and trying to mix to get that color that’s in your head and it just doesn’t come out that way lol. By far though, and even though it’s so unpredictable, milk paint is my absolute fave! I love this piece! :))


    1. I’d have to say that milk paint is my favorite paint too! Although I do have a couple of Fusion pieces coming up, and another piece in Dixie Belle chalk paint. Who am I kidding, I love them all!


  6. I REALLY like the color you ended up with even though it wasn’t exactly what you were after. Beautiful makeover Linda… and cute fairy tale. 😉 I also find matching milk paint nearly impossible… even using the same color and the same package! I used MMS Dried Lavender on a couple of pieces and one turned out blue where the other was more lilac. Maybe I didn’t mix the powder well enough? Who knows? That said, I really like both pieces regardless. 🙂 Love your makeover. xo


    1. I remember seeing the piece that you did that looked more blue. At the time I could hardly believe it was Dried Lavender! It was a gorgeous piece nonetheless! But yes, you are so right, even using when using the same package you can get different results on different pieces. Part of the charm of milk paint 🙂


  7. Love the fairy tale. Pretty, pretty piece and that color works regardless of whether it matches the one in your mind’s eye. I am assuming you didn’t snap a photo of said dresser? How can that be…I mean you are take photos all the dang time. Love, love, love those knobs. What craftsmanship!
    Those linens are charming. And you’re right it’s the hand done embroidery that makes them special.


    1. I know, right? How is it possible I never even bothered to take a photo of that dresser?! And honestly, it was so long ago now that I’m probably imagining what it looked like v. remembering.


    1. I’m no longer having sales. They just got to be too overwhelming. I may pick it back up again some day, as I like to say ‘never say never’, but for now I don’t have any sales planned.


  8. Hi, I follow your blog and think your creations are amazing. You have inspired me to do some projects with my “inheritance “, but there is so much. I thought you might be interested. I have no idea if you ever reply to emails, if you don’t that’s fine I understand. But I thought I’d give it a try. Jill Oberg

    Jill Oberg

    Check out what’s new at Jillian Designs Handcrafted Jewelry go to: http://www.jilliandesigns4u.etsy.com Like Jillian Designs page http://www.facebook.com/jilliandesigns4u Sent from my iPad



  9. I love the color! I love the style of the dresser. I bet it sells fast. The linens are beautiful also. Great story 😊


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