the aviary chair.

For quite some time now I’ve been wanting to try the newest Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint color, Aviary.

Let’s see.  I think this color came out about a year or so ago, right?  Hmmmm.  Why am I always so hopelessly behind the times?  Well, better late than never I hope.

One of my strategies when working with a new paint color is to paint a practice board first so that I can get a feel for how the color looks with different top coats before moving on to a large piece of furniture.  But this time I decided it would be more fun to paint a little schoolhouse chair to test out this color.

As you can see, the finish on this chair was in pretty rough shape.  Parts of the finish were so dried out that I really didn’t think I would get any resistance at all (and thus no chipping).  I wanted to end up with a chippy, beat up, authentically old looking finish, so I didn’t do much prep work to the chair at all.  OK, let’s be honest, I did absolutely zero prep.  I may have wiped away a cob-web or two, but that was it.

Sometimes that can backfire on you, and had this been a larger piece of furniture it would have been a mistake.  But for this little chair, it was a calculated risk.  It’s a small piece, so it would be easy enough to fix if the paint didn’t adhere at all.  Sure enough,  I ended up getting quite a bit more chipping than I expected on the legs of the chair, but very little chipping on the seat.  So I simply sanded down the super chippy legs and painted them again.  Problem solved.  The sanding helped the next layer of paint stick.

Today’s q tip:  If you’re comfortable with taking a chance and rolling the dice, you can skip the prep on your project like I did.  But if you’d prefer to exercise a little more control over the amount of chipping you get with milk paint then do proper prep first.  Sand your piece lightly all over and clean well with TSP Substitute (or similar).  For more tips on painting with milk paint, check out my milk paint basics post.

The coverage with Aviary was really good.  Two coats of paint was plenty.

Once my paint was dry I sanded heavily for two reasons; first, I wanted to be sure I removed any chipping paint (more on that in a minute) and second, I wanted a very distressed look for this vintage chair.  I still had some chipping, but it was just the right amount this time.

Once sanded, I vacuumed the chair with my shop vac.  Then I used a clean, dry, nubby cloth to wipe the chair vigorously.  I wanted to be sure that I had all of the chipped paint and dust off before applying a transfer to the seat and back of the chair.

This project was a great way to use up the leftover pieces of the Prima Marketing French Ceramics transfers that I used on a dresser that I painted last year.

When using a transfer over chippy milk paint I have found two options that work well.  Sand the chippy paint really thoroughly and be sure to remove all chips and dust first; or seal the milk paint with Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer (or another water based sealer) before applying the transfer.  If you don’t do either of these things, you may find that the transfer backing paper removes your chipping paint rather than releasing the transfer onto your piece.

Also, do not try to apply a transfer over freshly applied wax.  It will become a sticky, gooey mess as the friction from rubbing on the transfer will heat up the wax and it all just goes downhill from there.  Been there, done that.  Remember transfer first, wax second.  However, you can apply a transfer to a waxed surface that has cured for 30 days or more.

Once I had my transfer in place, I sanded over it with 220 grit sandpaper.  I wanted a distressed look, so I wanted the transfer to look worn away in spots too.

Next I wiped the chair down with a clean cloth again and then applied Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax in the special edition lavender scent.

I applied it using a new wax brush that my friend Terri gave me for my birthday.  It came in a kit with three brushes, some brush soap and a few other little things like a pair of plastic gloves and one of those sanding blocks.

I haven’t tried the brush soap yet, but it smells divine.  I’d be tempted to use it as a regular hand soap it smells so good.  I think that smaller non-tapered brush might work well for stenciling.  And the pointy brush just came in handy for getting at a hard to reach spot on the bench I shared last Friday.

I used the largest brush at the bottom for waxing this chair though and to be honest I think the bristles are just a bit too long and too soft for really effective waxing.  I prefer my waxing brushes to be a little bit more stiff.  It was hard to work the wax into the surface with this brush.  It might be better suited to painting rather than waxing (and fyi, it is meant for either painting or waxing).

I haven’t had the milk paint out in a while, and now I’m reminded of why I love it so much.  It really does provide the most authentically aged looking chippy finish.

And isn’t the Aviary a lovely shade of grey-blue?  I’ll be keeping an eye out for the perfect dresser to put this color on next!

Thank you to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint for providing the paint and wax, and to Prima Marketing for providing the transfer for this project.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing French Ceramics transfer, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy Miss Mustard Seed’s product, here is where you can ‘buy online.’

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of an adorable little chair, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.

15 thoughts on “the aviary chair.

  1. Your timing is perfect as usual. I had looked up Miss Mustard Seed dressers a couple of days ago and was intrigued by the color Aviary. I remember when it first came out and I was thinking it was a lighter shade of gray blue. But it looks fabulous with your little chair and the transfers really add the perfect touch. I have two old Windsor chairs, one adult and one child’s and I think I’m going to look at my leftover transfers (and possibly repaint) and hopefully that will be what makes them sell! So inspiring as usual. And thanks for your answer on sealing transfers last week, it’s so helpful!


    1. You’re welcome Laura! Aviary was a bit darker than I expected too, and that is with a wax finish. With hemp oil it would look even darker. Good luck with your chairs!


  2. Love this color…not the typical little boys room blue, but would look wonderful! The chair looks great…love that transfer! Glad you are getting some use out of the brushes too!


  3. What sweet little charmer. So I have a question. The transfer is blue too right? And most of the word tranfers are black or white? I do remember the piece you did with those blue and white floral drawers tucked behind doors. They really are gorgeous.


    1. This transfer has shades of blue, some white and some black (the wording). Most of the older word transfers are dark grey, and some of them come in white. Some of the newer word transfers are more of a brown color (like the Overflowing Love) or black (the Everyday Farmhouse). In other words, it varies 😉


  4. The chair is awesome! I love that color! I painted a spoon carved Eastlake dresser in Avairy about 6 months ago. This color is one of my favorites. The transfers on the chair are just charming 😊


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