caviar with a vodka chaser.

Have you ever tried caviar?  I’ve tried it a couple of times.  The most memorable was when Mr. Q and I were in St. Petersburg, Russia where we we tried on fur hats, ate caviar and then washed it down with shots of vodka.

But even with the vodka chaser, this delicacy is pretty much lost on me.  Give me a bag of potato chips instead any day.

But there is one kind of Caviar that I just can’t get enough of …

Dixie Belle’s Caviar!

I’ve shared several pieces painted in this color over the past year starting with a pair of Windsor chairs that I painted back in February.

They were followed by a lovely vintage dresser.

Then in July I painted a gorgeous vintage bed in Caviar.

And more recently I painted the simply beautiful hutch in this color (although the inside is painted in Fusion’s Coal Black which is a pretty good match, just a little different sheen).

On Monday I shared the latest collaboration between me and my handyman Ken, the black bench.

And I still haven’t had enough Caviar!

In addition to the bench, I painted several more items in Caviar recentlyAnd I played around with some other ‘chasers’ including clear wax, black wax and black glaze.  I started with this vintage train case (do you call it train case?  or a vanity case?  or a makeup case?) …

  

I cleaned the case first with soap and water.  Then I painted it with two coats of Caviar and stenciled it with craft paint.

I finished it with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Black.

I find it easier to apply an appropriately thin coat of wax using a brush rather than a rag.  Once applied, I go over the waxed surface with a clean cloth right away to remove any excess wax.  You can then wait 10 or 15 minutes and buff to a shine, but I’m not a super shine lover so I don’t do very much buffing.  The brush pictured is one that I reserve exclusively for use with dark wax.

Today’s q-tip:  usually I advise adding a coat of clear wax prior to adding dark wax, but with pieces painted in black that isn’t necessary.

Next I painted a library chair in Caviar, and then finished it with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Clear.

I have to admit that I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between using the clear wax versus the black wax over the Caviar.  Also, as an FYI, I used Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax in Brown on the vintage dresser above which worked beautifully as well.  So if you have a particular color of wax on hand already you could just use that over the Caviar, no need to buy a special wax.

Next I painted this rather heavy wooden tool box in Caviar, stenciled it and then tried something different for the topcoat.  I used the Dixie Belle Black Glaze.

I applied the glaze using a cheap foam brush.

It went on so easily and the glaze seems to add just a tad more sheen than the wax does.

I actually finished this toolbox before I finished the bench that I shared on Monday.  It was my guinea pig for the glaze.  It went on so easily and looked so good that I went ahead and used the black glaze on the bench too.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of the water based poly’s are not recommended for use over black because they can become streaky.  For that reason I tend to stick with wax, glaze or hemp oil when adding a top coat to black.

If you haven’t tried Dixie Belle’s Caviar, you absolutely should.  And although I wouldn’t recommend following it up with a vodka chaser, I do think clear wax, black wax or the black glaze are all great choices!

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!

 

peony season.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a couple of years or so, you probably already know that peonies are one of my favorite flowers.  They have just two downsides; first, their blooming season is way too short (I wish they would last all summer) and second, ants love them.

I have quite a few old fashioned pink double peonies.  When we purchased our house about 30 years ago there were two of these plants in the existing garden.  Since then I’ve divided them many times, shared them with friends, and moved some back to the cutting garden behind the carriage house.

They are very reliable bloomers and really don’t require much care back there.  I find that the old fashioned varieties of most plants are usually less temperamental than the newer hybrids.  I like to have these out of sight in the cutting garden because then I don’t feel guilty about cutting them all off and bringing them in the house (shaking off the ants first).

I’ve also added a few other varieties to the garden over the years.  The white are definitely the most fragrant.

But my absolutely favorite peony is this gorgeous bright pink variety that I planted about 4 years ago.  I think this is going to be the first year that I get a really good quantity of blooms on the plant.

The color of these peonies just glows from the garden in the evening.  They are so vibrant!

And I think that is exactly what drew me to Dixie Belle’s paint color called Peony.

I wonder if whoever created and named this color also has these peonies growing in their garden.

By the way, I’m faking you out a little with all of the peony photos.  They are from previous years because this year’s peonies aren’t blooming quite yet.  Although they will be soon with this ridiculous heat we’ve been having!  But even though my peonies aren’t quite here, this gorgeous paint color is!  Dixie Belle was kind enough to provide me with some of this paint for a dresser makeover I have planned.  But whenever I try a brand new paint color that I haven’t used before, I like to test it out on a smaller piece before I put it on a large piece of furniture.

So I pulled out one of the chairs that I purchased at the Tangletown sales.

It’s another bottomless chair that is destined to become a planter chair.

So why not go with a vibrant pink!

Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, first I went with Rachel Ashwell chalk paint in a pale blue which was very pretty, but then I opted to try sealing it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer and the original stain on the chair bled through the paint.

This brings me to a good q tip.  If you aren’t familiar with this phenomenon, sometimes even though a pre-existing stain didn’t initially bleed through your paint, once you add a water based sealer over it, the sealer will draw the bleeding stain through the paint.  This can be a huge bummer when you’ve painted your piece and it looks amazing and you’re at the final step of sealing it and bam!  Bleedy stains all over the place.  I don’t really have a great tip for preventing this (unless you want to pre-seal every piece just in case, but that seems extreme to me), but if this happens to you there are a couple of options for dealing with it.  1)  seal the piece with a stain blocking sealer (like Dixie Belle’s BOSS for example), re-paint and then add your water based sealing top coat.  2)  continue on with the water based sealer and once dry paint again, and then add a wax topcoat.  Waxes will not pull the stain through like a water based top coat will.

Or, you can do what I did.  Go with an entirely different color and then seal it with wax.

Speaking of wax, you know how chairs are so much easier to paint if you spray them?  Well, when I went to wax this chair I remembered that a while back Dixie Belle had sent me some of their Easy Peasy spray wax.

It occurred to me that … duh … this stuff would be perfect for chairs!  And it was.

Simply spray it on, wait 10 to 15 seconds and then wipe away any excess.  It truly is Easy Peasy.

So I’ve tested the Peony and I love it, but you probably won’t see that dresser for a couple of weeks.  In the meantime I’ll have a lovely buffet and a couple of other fun projects to share with you first.  So be sure to stay tuned!

I just can’t help myself.

First a quick update.  I sold both the flip top bar and the Millennial Pink dresser this past weekend.

I had to laugh when chatting with the couple that purchased the pink dresser.  They knew all about Millennial Pink!  Apparently they are fans of John & Sherry over at Young House Love , and YHL is all about the pink.  Their beach house is painted in it.

And they even have a vintage Millennial Pink stove in their beach house kitchen.

So my Millennial Pink dresser was a big hit.  I’m sure you’ll see more pieces in this color from me this year.

But for today I’m going back to my other proven seller, Fusion’s Park Bench.  In case you are keeping track, the credenza that you are about to see is the fifth mid-century piece that I’ve painted in this color since January.  But seriously, I just can’t help myself.  These pieces are selling so well.  People are loving this gorgeous green on the mid-mod stuff.  I’m so sorry if I’m boring you with yet another one, but this is what I’m working on at the moment.  So it’s this or nothing.

I’m also going to share the non-chemical process for stripping paint off metal hardware in this post so be sure to keep reading if you’re interested in that.

Mr. Q picked up this mid-century credenza at the same time he picked up the Millennial Pink dresser.

I’m still working on training Mr. Q in the fine art of furniture purchasing.  The ad for this piece said it was in excellent condition except for the finish.  It neglected to mention that one of the drawers behind that center door was missing!  Although Mr. Q has really improved when it comes to noticing other details such as bad smells, loose joints and missing hardware, it never even occurred to him to look behind door number one to make sure all of the drawers were there.  Well, to be specific, he didn’t even realize there might be drawers behind that door.  He thought it would be shelves.

Keep this in mind if you are ever purchasing furniture on Craigslist.  Open all of the doors and drawers!

Well, no use crying over spilled milk.  I decided to ask my handyman/neighbor Ken to finish off the uppermost section as a shelf instead of a drawer.  There was already a hole cut at the back to feed electrical through, so I suspect the reason the drawer was removed in the first place was so that someone could put a DVD player in this spot so why not make it official?

Once Ken had the shelf in place, I sanded the piece thoroughly, cleaned it with TSP Substitute and then painted it with two coats of Fusion’s Park Bench.

Initially I’d planned to keep the hardware silver on this one, even though I used gold hardware on all four of my previous Park Bench pieces.  I threw the handles in some soapy water to clean them up first though and that ended up removing some paint.  Turns out they were originally an aged brass color and had been painted silver (I’m guessing with spray paint).  That nixed the idea of leaving them as is.

I’d never stripped paint off metal hardware before, but I’d heard that simmering it in a crock pot of water first will loosen up the paint leaving it easy to remove.  Well, I didn’t want to wreck my crock pot (adding ‘cheap spare crock pot’ to garage sale shopping list), so I grabbed an old crusty pot and tried simmering them on the stove.

And you know what?  This worked exceptionally well.  No dangerous chemicals required.

Here is the method that worked best for me.  First, simmer the hardware for about 30 minutes.  I never brought the water to a boil, just a low simmer.  Remove one handle at a time using tongs.  Run it under warm water until you can touch it without burning yourself (important precaution).  That only took a couple of seconds.  Finally, rub off the loosened paint using one of those green scrubby pads.

I show a paint scraper in my photo above, but using that lasted about two seconds.  The green scrubby did a much quicker, better job and didn’t scratch the finish.

Today’s q-tip:  Leave the remaining handles in the simmering water until you’re ready to work on them, just take one out at a time and scrub it.  If you pull them all out at once the paint hardens up again before you can get to all of them.  If the paint isn’t coming off easily, pop them back in the simmering water for 10 to 15 minutes and try again.

Once I had the paint off, I really didn’t like the aged brass look of the handles so I added my favorite metallic wax, Prima Marketing’s Metallique Wax in Vintage Gold.

I like to apply the wax with a q-tip, let it dry overnight and then buff it to a shine.

 So there you have it.  My latest Park Bench green mid-mod piece.

If you’re just not a fan of mid-century modern, don’t worry.  I’m moving on to some different styles next.  I have a few pieces underway in the workshop, plus I ordered some Sweet Pickins milk paint to play around with.  So be sure to stay tuned!

the millennial pink dresser.

Have you heard of Millennial Pink?  Did you know it was a ‘thing’?

As is typical for me, I am only just discovering this trend while the cool kids are already saying it has to go.

Seriously, I am never on top of these things.

But before we get to the Millennial Pink, I first have to admit with some embarrassment how I learned about it.  You see, I have a secret guilty pleasure.  I watch the Trackers on YouTube.  I can hear many of you now asking, ‘um, who?’

Tim & Jenn Tracker are YouTube vloggers.  They live in Orlando, Florida and they mostly vlog about the various theme parks in that area including Disney World.  I came across them while looking for Disney info prior to our trip down there last October.  I started watching a few of their vlog posts and bam!  I was hooked.

I really can’t explain why.  Of course, I enjoy watching their excursions into the parks.  And I love that they share insider tips as well as honest reviews of everything from the food to the rides.  They share the real thing, not doctored up versions designed to look good on camera.  But I have to confess that I also sometimes watch their vlogs about shopping at Target, or cutting up left over pizza, adding it to eggs and frying it up in a pan to make ‘pizza eggs’.

They are just so darn adorable!  Somehow I now feel like I know them and am invested in their lives.  So I’ll admit it, I’m a vlog lurker, and apparently so are about 364,000+ subscribers to their YouTube channel.

And this brings us back to Millennial Pink.  Lately Tim & Jenn (see?  it’s as though we are on a first name basis) have been frequently mentioning Disney goods that are available in Millennial Pink, especial the Mickey ears.

So the last time this came up, I turned to Mr. Q  – because, oh yes, he sometimes indulges in this guilty pleasure with me, even though he’d rather poke his eye out with a sharp stick than go to Disney World – and said “what is this Millennial Pink they keep talking about?  Is it just a Disney thing?”  So he googled it for me and said, “I guess it’s just a color thing, and it applies to home décor too.”

Who knew?

Well, probably everyone but me … and Mr. Q.

Obviously the next step was to paint something in Millennial Pink so I could be one of the cool kids, so I started keeping an eye out for just the right piece.

And then I found it …

a beat up mid-century piece that I thought would look amazing in Millennial Pink.

Luckily I already had a jar of Fusion’s English Rose on hand.  I hope they don’t mind that I took the liberty of renaming it just for this post.

Before I started painting though, my handyman Ken and I shored up the base of the dresser because it was a little wobbly.  Ken is one of those people who like to do things the right way.  So we removed the base, re-glued and clamped the cross piece, and then once that was good and sturdy we re-glued the base back onto the dresser.  Now it’s rock solid.

Once again, the top of this mid-mod piece was plastic laminate so I painted that with a coat of Fusion’s Ultra Grip and let it dry overnight before moving on to the rest of the painting.

It took three coats of the English Rose to get good coverage on this one.  I’d already used about 1/4 of my jar of paint on something else, so it took every last bit of paint I had left to complete the job.

I used Prima Marketing Metallique wax in Vintage Gold to add a little glam to the original drawer pulls.

If you haven’t tried this stuff you should.  I use a q-tip to apply it, wait overnight for it to dry and then buff with a clean cloth.  Easy peasy, and it looks amazing.  It’s also super affordable (it’s available online for about $6).

It comes in a tiny little tin, but a little goes a very long way.  I’ve barely made a dent in mine and I’ve used it on countless knobs.  I much prefer the packaging of this version over others like Rub ‘n Buff.  The tin it comes in has a screw on lid that is easy to open and close tightly, so your wax doesn’t dry out.  I had nothing but trouble with those little tubes that the Rub ‘n Buff comes in.

I pulled out some vintage mid-century wallpaper, some aqua and cream pottery and my cream colored Remington Ten Forty for staging.

Isn’t this dresser much prettier in pink?

Let’s talk for a moment about the (pink) elephant in the room.  You may have noticed that I seem to be doing more mid-century pieces these days.  That’s because I’m finding that mid-century is selling really well for me while many of my more farmhouse style pieces are taking a bit longer to find the right buyer.

I feel like I’m walking a bit of a thin line between producing pieces that will sell and producing pieces that my blog readers want to see.  I hope that most of you enjoy seeing the mid-century makeovers even if it isn’t quite your thing.  There are going to be more of them to come, I brought home two more mid-mod pieces last weekend.  But don’t worry, I’ll still mix it up with some of the chippy, farmhouse style pieces that I love.  And hopefully they’ll start selling a little better now that the weather has improved here in Minnesota.  I did sell both the spring fling dresser and the indigo desk this past weekend, so I think that’s a good sign.

That being said, what do you think of Millennial Pink?

This dresser is available for sale, so if any of you locals are interested check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

milk paint basics.

Welcome to day 1 of milk paint madness week, milk paint basics.

For those of you who might be entirely unfamiliar with milk paint, this post is for you.  But everybody, be sure to read to the end for details on today’s giveaway.

  First of all let’s just establish that when I’m talking about milk paint, I’m talking about paint that comes in powder form and you mix it yourself with water when you’re ready to use it.  Some of my favorite brands of milk paint include Miss Mustard Seed, Homestead House, The Real Milk Paint Co and Sweet Pickins.

Don’t be confused by General Finishes Milk Paint which is really an acrylic paint and not a milk paint at all.

Also, don’t be confused by The Real Milk Paint Co’s packaging.  It looks more like a traditional paint can, but there is a bag of powder inside.  There is also a marble inside which is a very clever tool for mixing your paint, but I’ll get to mixing in a minute.

Milk paint is made with only a handful of basic ingredients including milk protein, lime and pigment.  It is non-toxic and has zero VOC’s.  In other words, it is a very green product that is not harmful to the environment or to you while you’re using it (go here to read more about the green quality of milk paint).  Since I paint a lot, I’m exposing myself to the products I use on a regular basis and I bet you are too.  Don’t forget to take this important quality into consideration when choosing which products you’re going to use.

Milk paint in powdered form can be stored pretty much indefinitely as long as it is in a sealed container and stays dry.  It doesn’t take up very much space on your shelf this way, which is an added bonus.

Although these days most of us use milk paint over a pre-existing finish and are delighted when it chips and crackles because of that resistance, historically milk paint was intended for use on raw wood.  When used on raw wood, milk paint soaks into the wood much like a stain rather than sitting on the surface like other paints.  That makes it incredibly long lasting and durable.  When used on raw wood milk paint won’t chip or peel away.

So let’s talk about mixing your milk paint.  The basic rule of thumb is to mix equal parts water to powder.  However I like to mix darker colors a little thinner (more water, less powder) and lighter colors a little thicker (less water, more powder).  But half and half is a good starting point.

You can also mix your paint really thin and use it as a wash.  Or leave it thicker if you want to add some texture to your piece.

There are all kinds of methods for mixing your milk paint.  Unlike Mr. Bond’s martini’s, it can be shaken OR stirred.  This is where that marble comes in from The Real Milk Paint Co.  If you like to shake your paint in a jar, throw the marble in the jar as well and it helps mix the paint beautifully.  You can also choose to use one of those battery operated milk frothers to mix your paint (reserving it for paint use only of course).  I’ve even heard that some people use a blender, but that seems like overkill to me.

I used to always shake my milk paint in a glass jar and the marble is pure genius for that.  It was also a very environmentally sound practice.  However, Mr. Q eventually got tired of washing out those jars for me (he does all of the dish washing in our house, we don’t have a dish washer).  So I switched over to stirring my milk paint in a disposable solo cup with a plastic spoon.  I purchased what may prove to be a lifetime supply of plastic spoons at a garage sale for a dollar and I haven’t run out yet.

Do you put the water in first, or the powder in first?  Some say one and some say the other, but I don’t think it makes that much of a difference.  However, if you put the powder in first, just be sure to mix all the way to the bottom.  It’s sort of like making hot chocolate from a powder, you don’t want to get that overly chocolaty last swallow because a bunch of the mix was stuck at the bottom of your cup.

Should you use cold water or warm water?  Again, I’ve heard both.  I suggest meeting in the middle and using room temperature water.

I’ve also heard that sometimes well water may cause problems with milk paint.  When I was in high school a friend of mine had orange hair from washing it with well water.  So if your well water turns things orange, you might want to try using bottled water instead.  But city water from the tap should be perfectly fine.

One thing to keep in mind about milk paint is that once it’s mixed with water it has a limited shelf life (no longer than one week).  So obviously you don’t want to mix way more than you are going to need.  I think this factor stresses people out unnecessarily.  Over time you’ll develop a feel for how much paint you need, but in the meantime I have a little trick for you.  For a typical piece of furniture like a desk or medium sized dresser, start with about a 1/2 cup paint mixed with a 1/2 cup water.  Then start the first coat of paint on your piece and pay attention to how much of the paint you use.

Did you use all of it for the first coat?  If so, mix the same amount again for the 2nd coat.

Did you run out?  If so, mix a bit more the next time adding enough to finish the first coat and complete the 2nd coat.

Did you have way too much?  You get the idea.  As long as you have enough paint mixed to paint your final coat all from one batch you are going to be OK.

That being said, you can not mix a new batch of milk paint just to finish that one last drawer and expect it to match.  It most likely won’t.  So be sure your final coat of paint is all mixed at the same time (see an example of that here) .

Speaking of mixing, be sure to stir your milk paint frequently as you use it (that plastic spoon really comes in handy for this).  Because this paint is all natural, the heavier pigments will sometimes fall to the bottom of your cup as you’re painting.  This can result in some fairly obvious color differences between the beginning and end of your piece .  The best way to prevent that is to give your paint a little stir every 10 minutes or so as you are painting.

Here’s one of the best milk paint tips I ever got; mix your paint first and then let it sit while you are prepping your piece to be painted.  That gives the milk paint ingredients time to dissolve and blend while you are removing knobs, lightly sanding and then cleaning your piece.

Speaking of prep work, I recommend not skipping this step when using milk paint (actually, I recommend taking the time to prep your piece no matter what paint you are using).  Especially the cleaning step.  If there are any oils (or furniture polish) on your piece of furniture it will resist the paint, possibly by a lot.  I like some chipping, but maybe not quite this much (check back later this week to learn how to get the perfect amount of chipping).

When buying a piece of furniture always ask the seller if they cleaned it up with anything recently.  I often find that Craigslist sellers will put a coat of furniture oil on a piece to make it look good for pictures.  If that’s the case, you want to be sure to clean that off before you start painting.  I like to use TSP Substitute for that.

Also, don’t panic if your piece looks like the one above after the first coat of paint.  If this happens to you, get out your shop vac and vacuum off the flaking paint.  Sand the piece thoroughly, you don’t have to remove all of the paint just the lose stuff, but you also want to give the wood underneath some more ‘tooth’ to hold the paint so you don’t repeat the same result.  Vacuum again after sanding, wipe the piece down and start over.

OK, so you’ve mixed your paint and you’ve prepped your piece.  The next step is painting.  This is the simplest part of milk paint.  Because it’s thinner than most paints you don’t have to worry about brush strokes (although do keep an eye out for drips).  You really can use just about any kind of paint brush and still get good results with milk paint.  This may sound odd, but I find it less physically taxing to paint with milk paint versus other kinds of paint because it’s much lighter on your brush and it doesn’t really drag as you’re painting it on.  I don’t think I can really explain that properly, but if you’ve ever gone from painting with milk paint to then painting with another paint you’ll know what I mean.  It just feels like less work.

Another big bonus to milk paint is how quickly it dries.  When painting a dresser I generally remove the drawers and paint them first, then move on the body of the dresser.  By the time I’ve finished the body, the drawers are usually dry (unless it’s a super humid day).  Because the paint dries so quickly, I often am able to complete a piece from start to finish in one day.

Milk paint coverage can be variable.  It will depend on how thick or thin you mixed your paint, what color you are using and what color you’re covering up.  I’ve gotten away with as little as one coat when using black or other very dark colors, but I’ve also needed at least three coats when using white over a dark wood.

Here’s a great tip regarding coverage.  If you’re painting over a dark finish with a very light color, like white, start with a coat of paint in a mid-tone shade of grey first.  Then move on to the white.   You’ll get better coverage in fewer coats.

Don’t worry if you feel like your first coat of milk paint looks terrible.  The first coat rarely looks good (with the exception of those dark colors).  Move on to the 2nd coat and you’ll be amazed at how much better it suddenly looks.

Once your final coat of paint is dry you might notice that milk paint is a little rough to the touch.  Get out your sanding block and some 220 grit sand paper and hand sand over the entire piece (I say you can count this as your cardio for that day).  The finish will become smooth like butta’ and it will be time to move on to the topcoat, which is the subject of our post for tomorrow.

By the way, if you are a visual or auditory learner you can click here for a link to a great milk paint basics video by Marian Parsons, a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed.

Now it’s time for the fun part, the prize!

Includes:  Miss Mustard Seed Look Books 1 & 2, paint brush, whisk paint mixer, 4 colors of milk paint, Miss Mustard Seed’s Beeswax, Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer.  Thank you to Miss Mustard Seed, Homestead House and The Real Milk Paint Co for providing items for today’s giveaway!

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post telling me whether or not you’ve tried milk paint.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  But I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I’m guessing that I’ll get many more comments on these posts so I’m going to warn you up front that I won’t be answering each one.  That helps make it easier for me when it’s time to pick a winner too, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that this week.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the stroke of midnight.  You are eligible to win each day, so if you leave a comment on each day’s post, your name is eligible to be drawn for each prize.

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $140, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, April 13, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next segment of milk paint madness, and in the meantime remember to pin today’s post for future reference.

milk paint madness.

One of the things that you may have noticed about my blog is that I like to use different types of paint, as well as different brands of paint.    Although I do receive free product to use from several different paint brands, I don’t sell paint myself.  I like to think of myself as the Switzerland of furniture painting blogs, able to remain neutral.  I love trying new things, but I only promote the products that I truly love working with.

I love the ease and simplicity of using acrylic paint for some projects, especially mid century pieces.

 And I also love the beautifully smooth finish and the gorgeous coverage you can get with chalk paint.

And sometimes I even resort to using spray paint on certain pieces like wicker and cane items, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone about that little dirty secret.

However, in the end, the paint I love the most for pieces I’m keeping is milk paint.

Just for fun I took a little walk around my house and counted my own painted furniture pieces.  I have 1 piece painted in Fusion, 1 piece painted in latex from way back, 3 pieces painted in chalk paint, 4 cane backed chairs that were partially spray painted, and 19 pieces painted in milk paint!

My guest bed below is painted in Homestead House milk paint in a color called Ochre and finished with the Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat finishing cream.

One of my favorite pieces is my rooster cupboard.  It’s painted in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, a base layer of Artissimo and a 2nd layer of Flow Blue, then finished with Miss Mustard Seed Antiquing Wax.

The bed in our master bedroom is painted in Homestead House milk paint in Coal Black with Homestead House black wax as a topcoat.

I love the look you can achieve with milk paint, especially when it crackles …

or gets chippy in just the right places.

There is just simply an authentic feel to a distressed milk paint finish that you can’t get with any other kind of paint.  Sure, you can come close, but to me the others always look a bit more faux.

That being said, I thought it would be fun to write a blog post sharing all of my favorite products from the various brands of milk paint that I’ve used over the years.  I’m hoping that I can inspire some of you to break out the milk paint yourselves.  And what better way to do that than having a giveaway?

So I reached out to my favorite Fab Four milk paint companies, Homestead House, Miss Mustard Seed, The Real Milk Paint Co and Sweet Pickins, and asked if any of them would like to offer some product for me to give away.

And you know what?  They all said yes!  And then sent me piles of stuff to give away.

Not just paint, but also different top coats, brushes, books and even some stains.

In fact, they were so generous with the free stuff that I’ve decided to break it down into five prizes!

One for each day of the week, Monday – Friday.  So just for next week, and next week only, I am going to return to posting each weekday.  Five days in a row of posts all about milk paint.  We’ll start with the basics and work our way up.  I’ll post about different techniques such as layering with other types of paint, how to get your paint to crackle, how to achieve perfect chipping every time (and how to fake it if not), what kinds of topcoats to add and how durable they are and any other subject I can think of.

And each day there will be a giveaway!

Details on how to win will be included with each post.

So be sure to check back on Monday for the start of Milk Paint Madness!