I created a short little survey so I can find out what you want to see more (and less) of on the blog. There are 7 questions and you can also leave questions or comments on the survey. I would really appreciate it if you would take a minute to fill it out (it won't take long). Leave me a few suggestions of some posts you want to see in the future! Just click the link below.
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I'm currently working on a buffet and hope to get it sealed and photographed, so there will be a new post in a few days. I also got this pretty antique cabinet (I love this type of piece!) last week and I'm excited to work on it, but I've got a lot of prep work ahead of me before I even get to painting... it shall be fun ;)
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I almost wasn't going to show this project. It just didn't turn out how I wanted... and cutting the paper did not go as planned! It was in a sad state before. I removed some veneer off of the drawers and sanded the whole piece. I've been wanting to add paper to something for a while, and since the style of this piece is funky to begin with (in my opinion, it's not a piece I would normally go for), I chose to experiment on it.
It's painted in General Finishes Coastal Blue. The paper is from Rifle Paper co. It's gorgeous, quality paper with a pretty design. I used spray adhesive to adhere the paper, then laid the drawers on a piece of wood with the drawer front and paper facing down. I then used an exacto knife to trim the paper so it fit perfectly (instead of cutting it to the drawer size beforehand and trying to adhere it without putting it on crooked and getting bubbles. It does fit perfectly, but it tore when I cut it. I don't know why. I had a thick piece of wood I laid them on and a fresh new razor blade. Now it's going to get some distressing to help with the rugged edges of the paper. I'm also still considering adding some knobs to the piece. The paper is already busy enough, so I might just skip it. Even thought this didn't come out exactly as I planned, I think it looks much better with some fun paper on it. It helped add interest and pattern to the piece!
Monday, July 14, 2014
I'm really proud of myself for switching it up with the paint on this project. I'm all about Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company's milk paint and General Finishes paint, but on this little table I used Country Chic's Chalk Paint. The color is called Elegance, and I love the soft tone of it.
I originally began painting this table in Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint in the color Eulalie's Sky, but it wasn't covering well and no matter what I did, I couldn't get rid of the clumps in the milk paint. So, I moved on to CCP. Since I already had 1 coat of MMSMP, I only used 2 coats of Elegance. It went on well, and after letting it cure, I sealed the table in wax. Normally I try to seal pieces in poly, but I don't know how poly would go over chalk paint or what it would do. In order to get into all of the detail, I used a brush to apply the wax, then buffed it once dry. Such a elegant piece! I guess the color suits it ;)
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
This makeover was 4 years in the making! It took long enough ;) I originally purchased this chair from craiglist when I was redoing my room my Junior year of high school. I paid $35 for it (of course that was the price I negotiated) and it was the first piece of furniture I ever purchased. It all started here, folks! Here's a middle-before shot (stained, not upholstered). And to show you the lovely fabric, there's a close up, too.
After we picked it up my mom sanded and stained it darker (this was before I began refinishing pieces). I knew the worn fabric needed to be changed, so I didn't take off the fabric or cover it when she stained it, so for the last 4 years there has been some very dirty, worn and stain covered fabric on it. Finally, a year ago I found and bought a fabric I liked. I'm a sucker for blue and white, plus I love ikat. I bought the fabric from Joann's, but it's not one they have in stock, so I placed the special order during one of their big sales. You can also find it online, it's Khandar Ikat Indigo by Robert Allen. I found it online here.
The fabric sat for a year (seriously, I'm terrible at sticking with projects), but I finally ordered a good staple gun that has some powered to it. It made the job much easier! I'm not going to go into every detail about how I went about upholstering it because I did write a post on how to upholster a chair last year. This one definitely came out better (probably because it wasn't the first chair I did, and we had practice, so we knew what to change). My mom is always the one to help me with upholstery type projects. I honestly don't know how people do it alone. Here's what we did. I took off the trim, fabric and as many of the staples as I could. We then cut and stapled a piece of batting to the chair (only used 3-4 stables on each side just to hold it in place).
The chair had a piece of muslin over it, but it was off-white and we didn't want anything to show through the light fabric. Next, I chose what area of the pattern I wanted centered on the chair, then cut a piece the approximate shape as the piece I took off, leaving 3-ish inches extra all around. Then, we put the fabric on, made cuts where it had to fit around the arms, made sure it was centered, then put a staple in the front center, back center, and then the center of each side. If you every upholster a chair, make sure to start stapling in the center of each side, then work your way to the corner. This is how you avoid having pleats in you fabric. It really just takes some playing with and pulling the fabric different ways to get a smooth look. Once everything was stapled on, I trimmed the excess fabric. Neither my mom or I knew of wanted to attempt sewing doubled welted cording, and we just so happened to find some trim the matched one of the blues perfectly, so we went with that. (Check out this post to see what we used to adhere the trim and seal the edges of the trim so they won't fray). Once the trim was glued on, this chair was finished!
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
This is just a quick little post of a table I freshened up with some white paint. It was previously painted an antique white, glazed and distressed (by someone else, I was given it that way), but I am not one for creams and I wanted to use it next to a chair I recently finished upholstering [I'll have that post up tomorrow, but if you want to see a sneak peek, head over to facebook or instagram] so it needed some new paint.
I lightly sanded it, then painted on 3 coats of General Finishes Snow White Milk paint and sealed in their HP satin poly. The areas that were distressed with the wood coming through needed all 3 of those coats to get full coverage, but now it nice and crisp!
Thursday, June 26, 2014
After some color inspiration from my friend Christina of Phoenix Restoration I settle on the bold option of Klein Blue. Christina and I did a paint swap with some General Finishes milk paint colors we had and I swapped for this blue. It's definitely bold, but I also think the color screams mid century. It also matched my shoes which I found quite amusing.
So after all the prep work I had done to stain these puppies, painting them was a breeze :) They were sanded down to raw wood so the paint went on so well and they have a super smooth finish! It took 3 coats to get full coverage, and once the paint cured for a few days I sealed them with General Finishes poly in satin. 2 coats was enough for an even and durable finish (love their poly, you should try it!). One a side note, while I was applying the first coat of poly (at 12:30am, I'm a late night worker, what can I say!), our dog started getting sick after eating some non-pet safe slug bait, so my mom and I had a fun late night emergency trip to the vet which resulted in staying up until 4am! That's what I think of, when I think of these nightstands! ha!
I kept the original hardware on these because it's awesome, fits the style of the pieces and would be incredibly hard to change. I painted the handles the same blue and shined up the previously gold-ish chipping finish so now it's a nickel color. Like I do with campaign hardware, I used Bar Keeper's Friend and the scrubby side of a sponge to shine these up metal parts of the hardware. It took a while and my hands were cramping up, but it was worth it! If they didn't clean up well I would have painted them, but I think this is a better option that painting. The color appears incredibly bright blue in these photos, but I assure you, it's not this bright in person, but a deeper blue :)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Unique pieces of furniture are hard to pass up. The style of this piece isn’t necessarily out there, but I like that it has a different shape and silhouette that I normally go for. The curved doors in between the drawers is fun, and it has a hepplewhite shape going on as well. I purchased this piece off of craigslist and it was used as a buffet by the previous owner.
I wasn’t a fan of the light color so there was no doubt I was going to paint it. I did sanded before with a 180 grit sanding sponge and removed a lot of the previous shiny finish it had. I also removed the hardware and patched the holes with wood filler since I knew I wanted to use bone knobs on it.
I sprayed a thin coat of shellac over the piece before I began painting. For the color I used Tavern Green by The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. This color has been sitting on my tool cart for over a year and a half waiting to be used, and I finally got around to it. Good thing milk paint last for so long! I mixed it up along with the bonding agent to help it adhere. It only took 2 coats to cover. There is still some variation and wood tones coming through since the color is not perfectly opaque, but I love that about milk paint. It’s such a unique look.
Once both coats were dry I waited 24 hours before sealing it with 1 coat of General Finishes high performance flat poly. I then took a 320 grit sanding sponge to it really lightly once the poly was dry. I don’t sanded between coats of paint usually or before sealing, but in between the 2-3 coats of sealer I choose to use. I’ve figured out how to mix the paint to get a smooth consistency, which leads to a smooth finish with minimal sanding to even out the finish. After I lightly sanded I then chose to do a coat of wax. It helped even out the finish and give the green a richer look. Finally, I measured and drilled new holes and added the bone knobs.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Real milk paint (that comes in powdered form) is one of my favorite paints to use. It’s not the most widely used form of paint and I often get questions about it and how I use it so here is some helpful information I’ve figured out in the last year and a half of using milk paint. When I first began using it I knew very little about it so I learned a lot from information I read about and even more from my experiences using it.
Brands, Prices, and what I use
There are multiple brands of milk paint. The 4 most known brands that I have used are The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. (OFMP), MissMustard Seed Milk Paint (MMSMP), The Real Milk Paint Co., and Sweet PickinsMilk Paint (SPMP). All of these are great brands to choose from. The main differences you will find are the colors that are offered from each company and line of paint as well as the price. I almost solely use OFMP because I like their colors and all of the colors seem to have this earthly, natural color. None of colors I have used by them are too bright for my personal taste. I also love the color options from The Real Milk Paint Co. Both brands have the best prices from what I have found. A quart runs just under $17. Here’s a little cost breakdown for each line of paint as well:
OFMP: Pint- $10.95 Quart- $16.95 Gallon- $45.95
MMSMP: Pint: X Quart- $22.00 Gallon- X
Real MP: Pint- $10.95 Quart- $16.50 Gallon- $46.00
SPMP: Pint- $15.50 Quart- X Gallon- X
I love the blues in Miss Mustard Seed’s line. I’ve used 3 colors from that line and they are great. As I mentioned before, OFMP is the milk paint I use most, and I would probably say my favorite. The Real Milk Paint Co. has many color options as well and they also offer some unique, bright colors in different lines. The prices of those colors are more than their regular line, but if you are looking for something bright, check out what they have to offer. Sweet Pickins Milk Paint is manufactured by The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co., so all of the OFMP colors are also available through her line, but SPMP also has a few (with more coming!) custom colors that are not offered by OFMP.
Prepping when using Milk Paint
As with all paint, I start by removing hardware from a piece, filling any of the hardware holes and other spots. I then sand the piece. Most of the time I sand by hand with 150 or 220 grit sandpaper. Sanding sponges work great for the flat areas. I fold the sandpaper to get into some of the crevices and details, or on curved parts of a piece. I don’t tend to use an electric sander, but if I do it’s usually on the top of a piece that has a chipped or peeling finish that needs to be smoothed out. Once I’ve sanded, I vacuum the piece and then wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust particles.
***Tip***If you are filling hardware holes, use a wood filler that is as close to the color of the wood you painting as possible. Most of the pieces I paint have a medium to dark wood finish, and a light wood filler will show through even after 3-4 layers of paint. I use a wood filler that is tinted darker and it solves this problem.
Now, one thing I’ve learned with milk paint is that the paint can leave a lot of variation. That’s on of the things I love about it, you get lighter and darker streaks since it is make from natural pigments. Milk paint will also soak into wood (which is why it leaves such a durable finish), but if you have a piece that is sanded to raw wood in certain areas and not in others (either from the prep you did, or just from wear over time), this will most likely come through the paint. Those areas (scratches, water rings, dents, stains) will appear lighter or darker, so even though they have been covered, they will still be noticeable. I don’t mind this to a certain extent. Obviously when restoring or painting old furniture there is wear and tear, but that’s part of the story and history of a piece. Other times, a piece is just abused and has problems you may not want to show. To deal with this, I would recommend sealing the piece with shellac.
To get an even finish before using milk paint, or to stop and prevent bleed through, seal the piece with Zinsser clear Shellac. This stuff is a lifesaver! It comes in a can (quart or gallon) as well as a spray can. I have and use both of these. The can is super easy to use to spray a piece down, but to me it’s more cost efficient to purchase shellac in a quart. I do have to use a foam brush or throw away the brush once I’m finished since this product is oil based. The reason I love this stuff is because it blocks out stains and smells, it dries super fast, and it’s clear. If you want that chippy look that milk paint can offer, this stuff can act as a primer (to stop bleed through), but you don’t have to worry about seeing a white layer of primer when the piece chips or you distress it. I’ve also found that the shellac also helps the milk paint to stick and adhere more then if you just apply milk paint with no bonding agent to previously finished wood. If it does chip, the chips and flakes are smaller than when I have not sealed a piece first with shellac.
Also as a side note, I don’t just use shellac with milk paint, it’s great with other paints as well. I use it when I need to prevent bleed through on a piece that I’m not painting in white, so if I distress, I don’t have the white primer showing through.
One of the attractive properties of milk paint is the authentic chippy finish it can offer. Milk paint was originally made and used on unfinished wood because it would soak in and sit on a piece, which created a durable finish. Nowadays it is used a lot on old furniture that has already been finished and sealed. When used on a previously sealed piece, milk paint has a tendency to resist, which leads to random crazing (looks like a crackle finish) and chipping. It can look like the wear and chips happened over the years, but really, the milk paint just recreates that look with minimal effort.
I personally think this chippy look is great on certain pieces, but since it’s random and uncontrollable how much and where the chipping occurs, I usually add the bonding agent. The bonding agent is sold separately and is added to the first coat of milk paint. It helps the paint adhere to previously finished surfaces. Most brands of paint say to use 2 parts paint to 1 part bonding agent. Sometimes I use less if I am open to having some chipping. I do want to point out that even if a piece is prepped (sanded) and the bonding agent is added, it can still chip. Most of the time the chipping occurs in the recessed and detailed/carved areas where the paint naturally pools. Factors than can increase the amount of chipping are how many layers of paint (and how thick each layer is, more layers usually = more chipping) and how fast it dries (putting a heater on it will probably cause of increase chipping). To some extent you have to give up some control when using milk paint and know that as much as you may try to have the piece turn out exactly as you envisioned, milk paint has a mind of its own and can do its own thing J
Mixing Milk Paint
If milk paint is stored properly (in an airtight container), it can last indefinitely, but once mixed it does have a shelf life. Milk paint has casein in it, which will spoil. After mixing it, the paint can be stored up to 3-5 days in the fridge (covered/sealed), but try to mix as much as you need and can use within 24 hours or so.
I like to mix milk paint in small, disposable plastic cups. I also have a box of tongue depressors someone gave me a while ago and always use them to mix milk paint since they are the perfect size. I start by pouring in as much of the powered milk paint as I need. I then add warm water. I don’t measure, but one part powdered paint to one part water is the ratio that works best. I do like my paint thinner rather than thicker, so I mix it and add more water until I get the consistency I like. Make sure to add enough water, do not add just a tiny bit and mix it into a paste first because it can be hard to get a smooth consistency after that. I use the tongue depressor/paint stick to smash the clumps against the side of the cup and mix for about a minute or so. Then add the bonding agent if you want a cleaner look, skip it if you want a distressed or chippy look.
Once mixed, and here’s the tough part, leave it. The pigments need time to dissolve, and letting it rest also gives it time for the clumps to absorb water and mix in. Mix up the paint and then leave it for a good 20-30 minutes. The paint will be much smoother and give you a better painted finish. It also allows the foam and bubbles that form on the top to go away. I think a problem people have is mixing it and using the paint right away. I usually mix it, go change into my painting clothes and finish any prep work (although I usually do that before mixing the paint) like taping off the sides of the drawers to get clean lines and taping off around the inside of where the drawer fits. I also give the piece once last wipe down with a paper towel (not damp or wet) to get any particles off of the surface that have settled. I then go back and mix the paint some more and try to get rid of the last of the clumps. The paint may have thickened during this time, so add a bit of water if needed to get it back to the consistency you like. While painting, mix the paint every 10 minutes or so to keep the color uniform and the pigments evenly dispersed.
Colors and Painting
Another great thing about milk paint is the colors can be easily mixed. I personally mix the powder together to make the color I want, and then add water, but you can also mix each color with water in a separate cup, and then pour them together until you get the specific color you are after. I mix up the color in a large cup and once I get the color I think I want, I put a very small amount into a Dixie cup and add water just to make sure it is the color I expected, if it’s not, I add other colors until I achieve the right one. The only negative thing I have to say about mixing custom colors is sometimes I have a hard time judging how much paint I will need and I mix too little. Obviously this is a problem because if you run out you have to try and mix more that matches the color you originally mixed.
***Tip ***If you find a mixture you like, make sure to keep a sample and write down the ratio and colors you used so you can create it again if you want! Saving the paint stick you use and writing on that is the easiest.
I just use a regular 2” angle brush to paint (I use the same type of brush with all paints I use) and most of the time I use 2 coats (if I am okay with the variation and some wood coming through) and 3 or 4 coats if I want more of a clean, opaque looks. Some colors take more coats, some take less. I think I use more coats of paint since I mix and like my milk paint to be thinner rather than thicker.
I like to paint on the first coat (in the evening) and then try to wait until the next day to do the second and/or third coat. If you can’t or don’t want to wait overnight, I recommend at least 6-8 hours in between the first and second coat. If you try to paint on the second coat without giving the first one enough time to cure, it can take off the first coat in some spots which will create more work in the end when you have to do an extra coat to even it out. It’s worth it to wait.
After all of the coats of milk paint are on the piece, it’s time to smooth out the finish and distress if you want. If you skipped the bonding agent and ended up with a chippy finish, take a spackle knife and get as much of the flaking paint off as possible. Then, take a vacuum (I have a brush attachment for out shop vac that is great) and vacuum the piece off. Next you want to take a high grit sandpaper (anywhere from a 320-400 grit) and smooth out the finish. Make sure to sand in long strokes all the way from one end to the other of an area in order to get an even finish. If you don’t the sanding marks can be visible even after the piece is sealed. Once it is sanded and smoothed out, vacuum it again and wipe the piece down.
Sealing Milk Paint
With milk paint there are 3 main options when it comes to sealing it: wax, poly and oil. I’ll break down what I think the good and bad of each are and tell you which one I recommend for different pieces and finishes. (this is just my opinion and what I like to use)
Wax: Wax is a great option, but it may not be the most durable or the most carefree. I don’t necessarily love applying wax, it is kind of strenuous and while it does protect against spills to some extent, there are better options. Wax is also supposed to be reapplied every 6 – 12 months which is not great if you are welling pieces (customers want a more care-free finish). I have spilled water on a nightstand I painted in milk paint and sealed in wax for myself, and even after wiping it up right away (within 20 seconds), and getting it all soaked up it looked like the paint color deepened in the area where the water was. It did dry a few hours later, but it left some color variation and just didn’t seem like the wax is the most durable, especially for pieces that see a lot of traffic. I will use wax as a final coat over poly if I need to even out the finish (more on that in a bit). With wax, 2-3 coats are recommended to build up a durable finish. The wax I have and use is Maison Blanche clear wax.
Poly: This is what I use most often. It’s durable and does not need to be reapplied often like wax. I am a big fan of General Finisheshigh high performance poly and use it on almost all of the pieces I paint. If you use poly, I highly recommend you use a flat or matte finish poly over milk paint. I have used satin and it leaves a streaky finish. This can happen a bit with flat poly as well, but it far less noticeable (if at all on lighter colors). Milk paint is a very flat and porous paint, so when you apply poly (I just use a 2” angle brush) the paint soak in the poly. You want to apply a nice coat of poly (don’t try to do thin coats, a bit thicker is better) and make sure you apply in it in strokes from one side to another. Don’t go over an area again and again. Brush it and let it be. Overworking it results in an uneven finish. Also make sure your brush strokes all go in the same direction.
Once I’ve applied the first coat of poly (and it’s dry), I take a 320 grit sanding sponge or just a piece of sand paper and very lightly go over the whole piece. [As a side note, when I paint a piece with milk paint and it does not have a chippy finish, I do not sand the piece between coats or before sealing it, I sand after the first coat of poly] This evens out the finish and leaves it extra smooth. I then wipe it down with a damp cloth, and apply 1-2 more coats of poly. If the finish (sheen) still seems uneven after 2 coats of poly, I like to finish it with a coat of wax. This adds another layer of durability and evens out the finish a bit more (especially on darker colors). I notice an uneven finish on darker colors more than with lighter colors (it looks streaky if you see it at the right angle with the light hitting it). Most of the time I don’t use wax over the poly, but it’s a good tip if you are having trouble getting an even finish.
Oil: Hemp oil is a common sealer for milk paint as well. Miss Mustard Seed sells a hemp oil sealer in her line of paint. I’ve never used that specifically but I have sealed a piece with different oil before. Oil definitely deepens the color more than wax or poly. It seeps into the paint and the wood to really seal it. Hemp oil is food safe (it’s also good to seal wood that isn’t painted). This is another good option for a sealer. Like with other sealers, you need multiple coats to build up a good finish.
So, all these options work, you just have to figure out which you prefer to apply and which will work with how the piece will be used. Any pieces like a kitchen/dining table, dresser top or coffee table I would highly recommend using poly on. If you don’t like applying or using poly, try just using one coat on the tops of pieces (the top is the area that will see the most traffic) and then use wax over the whole piece.
Hopefully this didn’t scare anyone off ;) Milk paint is a really great option for painting furniture. I use milk paint on most of the antique pieces and some of the vintage pieces I paint. The paint just gives this unique look and finish with minimal effort on my part, and I love that about it. Hopefully this post gave you some tips (or maybe you knew it all) and insight into how I use and work with milk paint. Maybe it even gave you the push to try it out! I’d love to hear how it goes.
If you have any further questions, leave them in the comments below. Most of the time I respond directly to your comment by emailing you back (so use a valid email). Don’t think if you don’t see a response that I’m ignoring you or that person ;)
Sunday, June 15, 2014
First I had to take the whole top off in order to get access to the screws that help the organizer on top. It was simple and straightforward. Next, I filled all of the holes left in the top and the holes from the previous hardware on the drawers. I used a dark walnut colored wood filler and had to fill twice to get a smooth and level fill. I lightly sanded the rest of the piece and wiped it down before giving a coat of Zinsser Shellac. I sprayed it on (that's easiest and saves time and brushes), and I chose to shellac the piece to prevent any bleed through or variation on the top where I filled the holes. Milk paint often shows a lot of variation in color especially in spots where the previous finish is uneven or a different texture.
For paint I used OFMP's Driftwood with some of the bonding agent added. It took 2 coats (I did use 3 on the drawers and in a few other ares). There is still some variation where a tiny bit of the wood shows through, and I love the dimension it gives to the finish. Once it was dry I sealed the whole piece in General Finishes high performance flat poly. And of course a piece isn't complete without some gorgeous hardware. I added some pretty knobs from Anthroplogie. They are blue on the sides and base, have scalloped edges and a fun blue swirl on the front with some red-orange dots.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Hello! I've got a mustard beauty to share with you today. I bought this empire dresser off of craigslist a while back thanks to a tip from Christina of Phoenix Resoration. I love empire style pieces, and knew yellow was the right color for this piece.
I did my usual prep of sanding the pieces down. The top was really scratched and has random spills on it, but using the electric sander took off the previous, thick coat of sealer which helped get rid of all of those marks. Once sanded, vacuumed and wiped down, I sealed it with a coat of Zinsser Shellac. I bought a can of it and just sprayed the whole dresser down with the drawers in place. This was to stop any bleed through and make sure my paint went on more evenly. Also, for some reason I've found that shellac actually seems to help milk paint stick. That's the opposite of what I've always assumed (since it's shiny and seems like it would cause chipping with milk paint), but if the piece does chip after being coated in shellac, it is light and very small chips, which is what I got on this dresser. I did use some bonding agent, but just a small amount.
This piece took 3 coats of mustard milk paint. The color I used is Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in Curry, which is the same as OFMP's Mustard. I've used it before and just really love the shade of yellow it is. Once it was dry I sealed the piece with General Finishes high performance poly in Flat. Just a tip, if you seal milk paint (the real stuff that comes in powder form), I would recommend a flat poly. Milk paint is very absorbent and in my experience, satin or gloss poly can leave an uneven, streaky finish depending on how the paint soaks it up. With flat poly, it has very little sheen, so you won't get a streaky finish. I also added some white knobs that have a gold little pattern on the front. I tried a couple sets of hardware, but white is really the only color that I liked with mustard.