October 22, 2012

Reimagined Monday: If Milk Paint Freaks You Out...

Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed, is nothing if not open and honest -- if you read her blog you know exactly what I mean, and if you don't, it's a great place to visit.  Today's Reimagined Monday entry is no exception as Marian takes us through the process of working with MMS Milk Paint as she reimagines a beautiful antique wardrobe.

Taking the worry out of working with this traditional style paint and aptly titled, here is Marian's project, compiled from several posts on her blog...

If Milk Paint freaks you out…

…this post may help prevent that.  Hopefully.

Let me start by saying that I love Milk Paint and I’m currently selling Milk Paint under my own brand.  That doesn’t mean that I think everyone else will love Milk Paint as much as I do or that I think it’s perfect for every painting situation.  I love it, but I can love it realistically.  So, when people tell me they are scared to try it, I understand.  It comes in powder form, which is different.  It has a different texture, which is…well…different.  It doesn’t behave the way modern paints do.  All of those things can freak people out.  BUT, it’s an amazing paint.  Everything that makes it different also makes it special.

I think the key to loving Milk Paint is understanding it.  I think it might help to show a piece in progress, so when your milk paint starts to look different from the other paints you’re used to, you don’t freak out.

This is my subject.  A 100+ year old wardrobe.  She’s a beauty.

One of my readers sent an amazing picture to me showing a fireplace surround she painted in Tricycle, Typewriter, then Shutter Gray.  It looked amazing, so I’m ripping her off.  :)  I told her I was and I’ll show you the piece she sent me.  (By the way, she doesn’t have a blog or I would link to her.)

Anyway, here is how the piece looked with one coat of Tricycle.  I decided not to paint the door panels, since I’m going to paint those in Grain Sack and they won’t get distressed a lot.  I did add the bonding agent, because I didn’t want chipping.

I used a fairly thin coat, since the final color isn’t going to be Tricycle.

I then painted on a thin coat of Typewriter over the Tricycle, again leaving the door panels unpainted.

…and now Shutter Gray…

See.  This is the stage of the game where some people might freak out.  It looks streaky.  The finish is uneven.  I’ve said it before…there is almost always a point as I’m working on a piece of furniture when I hate it and want to haul it to the closest thrift store just to get it out of my sight.  I resist that urge, though, knowing it’s going to look amazing in the end.

Now, I have no idea how this cool texture happened.  It looks like crackling, but it’s smooth.  That’s just how it happened and I’m sort of digging it.  It just goes to show how unexpected furniture painting can be.  I am afraid I’m going to lose it with the second coat, but we’ll see.

So, if you’re working on a piece and it looks like this about halfway through, don’t fret.  It’s going to look much, much better once it’s done.  Just get through the ugly stage.

I also wanted to show what the paint I was using looked like.  This is paint that was mixed up about ten days ago with the bonding agent added.  I left it sitting on my workbench covered with plastic wrap.  It was thick and the pigment was separated, but I added more water and stirred it around.

 It was a little lumpy, but went on smooth.

So, if your paint looks like this, it’s okay.  If latex paint looks like this, something is wrong, but it’s okay for Milk Paint to look a little funky.  Just remember it’s different.  And the differences are what make it a great paint.

I applied a second coat of Shutter Gray Milk Paint and painted the door panels and side panels in Grain Sack.  It doesn’t look a lot like Grain Sack, though, because some yellow from the original wood seep through  That doesn’t have anything to do with the Milk Paint, but the piece of furniture.

If it really bothered me, I could seal it with poly and paint it over again, but it doesn’t bother me in this case.  I then sanded the finish with a fine grit sanding sponge…

…then a medium.  With a fine sanding sponge, I was able to wear away some of the paint to reveal the layers underneath.  It’s very subtle, but looks great.

I used the medium grit sanding sponge to scrape away some of the paint.  I did get some chipping, but that’s because the finish underneath chipped and took the Milk Paint along with it.  Again, I just went with it.

Distressing really brought out the character in the old wood.  I then waxed the piece in Furniture Wax followed by the Antiquing Wax, which settles in the nooks and crannies, but isn’t too heavy.

I especially worked it into little holes and grooves….

 …and wiped away the excess, leaving the Antiquing Wax just in the recesses.

Here it is…

 I purchased this wardrobe from an antique furniture store and it was beautiful to begin with, but it felt very dark and heavy.  The wood was also not in the greatest condition, so I didn’t feel too bad about painting it.  This one is an oldie.  It was originally a wardrobe that would easily break down into flat parts, so it could be moved in the days before we had U-Hauls at the ready.  Someone glued/screwed it all together at some point, though.

This is the fireplace surround that was my inspiration for the finish…

Mary and her husband painted it in Tricycle, followed by Typewriter and lastly Shutter Gray.  I love the layering and how the distressing and the antique wax made this surround look authentically aged.  It’s just gorgeous.  (And speaking of gorgeous finishes…check out the corner of the table shown on the far left of the before picture!)

I used the same paint colors on my piece, except I added Grain Sack in the door and side panels.

You can just see hints of red and black in the distressing…

I kept the original hardware, but removed the back plates, which looked a bit too ornate for the piece in my opinion.

I really love how this piece turned out.

I hope walking you through the process of painting and finishing this wardrobe will make you a bit more comfortable with giving Milk Paint a try!
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