hello old friend.

I found this lidded stave bucket at a garage sale last fall.

It’s obviously old, and seems genuine rather than a reproduction sort of piece (although I’m definitely no expert on antique buckets and it could just be one of those 80’s look-a-likes).  It is constructed of wooden staves that are held in place by the metal band that goes around them.

I suspect there will be some of you who think I should have just spruced it up and left it unpainted.  Sort of like I did with the recipe box a few weeks back.

But I really wanted to paint it.  I love the look of an old, worn paint finish on these wooden buckets.  So I headed to pinterest for some pinspiration and I found this …

Isn’t that a gorgeous shade of blue?  There were actually quite a few examples of wooden buckets and/or firkins in similar shades of bright blue.

So I was pondering how to recreate that look, or at least something similar, when I remembered the gorgeous color of Soldier Blue milk paint by Homestead House.

I used this paint on a small chair in January 2020 and I absolutely loved the color.

As I was digging it out of my stash of milk paint, I realized that it has been quite some time since I’ve used milk paint.  I did attempt to use it on a large cupboard last summer, but ended up painting over it with Dixie Belle chalk paint.  In fact, I think the last time I used milk paint was when I painted that chair last January.

I have to confess that I have been seduced by the ease of using Dixie Belle paint.  No mixing required, no clumps of undissolved pigments, no variations in color from one drawer to the next, no worries about whether or not the paint will stick.

All of that aside, I went ahead and mixed up some Soldier Blue.  And you know what?  It mixed up beautifully despite having been stored for over a year.  I always leave my mixed milk paint to sit for 10 minutes or so before using it to make sure that all of the pigments have had a chance to dissolve.  For more tips on using milk paint, check out my milk paint basics post:

While letting the paint rest for 10 minutes, I prepped the bucket for painting.

The metal ring that holds the staves in place slipped off quite easily, and then I taped off the metal base of the bucket.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t drip any paint onto it.

Next I added a bit of the Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish around the edges to encourage chipping and/or distressing.

I’ve shared this technique before, so if you want more details check out this post.  The Salad Bowl Finish is a beeswax finish that is food safe (so you could use it on cutting boards or wooden salad bowls, hence the name).  It’s very similar to the Miss Mustard Seed 100% beeswax (which is also food safe).

Once that was done, I gave my paint another good stir to make sure it was mixed well and then painted the bucket with two coats.

Once dry, I added one of my favorite stencils from Maison de Stencils to the lid.

That’s not white paint by the way, it is Dixie Belle’s French Linen which is a greige sort of color.  I rarely use white (or black) to stencil.  Using a shade of grey gives you a more subtle look.

Once that was fully dry, I sanded the lid and bucket with 120 grit sandpaper.  I wanted a worn look around those edges where I had applied the beeswax, and that is exactly what I got.  I think it looks quite authentic, don’t you?

Ahhh, hello old friend.  I have missed you, milk paint.  You just can’t beat milk paint for creating a worn over time finish that looks authentic.

It was easy to sand the edges of each of the staves before putting the metal ring back in place to hold them together tightly.

I topcoated the milk paint with clear wax.  I had also pulled out my antiquing wax thinking that I’d need some of that to give it a more aged look, but in the end I thought it looked perfectly aged even without it.

The Soldier Blue brings out the pretty blue color in my bluebird china.

Milk paint was the perfect choice to recreate the look from the inspiration piece from pinterest.

Now, I know some of you may still think I should have left this stave bucket unpainted, but I beg to differ.

I think it needed this brilliant pop of Soldier Blue to fully bring out its character.

If you’re looking for Homestead House Milk Paint, you can find it here.

22 thoughts on “hello old friend.

  1. I absolutely love milk paint. Every time I use it I fall in love again. Your bucket is definitely enhanced by the blue milk paint, just know that as a fact! And your staging with the bluebird China is so charming. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Gorgeous! I go back and forth between the two paints as well. But for some pieces you just can’t beat milk paint!
    I’m using it today as well.

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  3. Oh my goodness so pretty! Wow that color is just the ticket to put a smile on your face. It turned out so charming .And totally agree with Laura’s comment the staging with the bluebird China perfect.

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  4. Gorgeous. I’ve really missed your milk paint posts. I agree it’s a bit more work but you just can’t beat it for making a piece look like it was always painted!

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  5. What a wonderful result on your project Miss Quandie…….you’ve got “the hands” for making something look GENUINELY old, not just randomly sanded and beat up “old” (-: Also, your memory for color is pretty dang precise and that’s a talent!

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