Monday, January 19, 2015
In which I kick chalk paint to the curb and have a wild fling with milk paint.
I have been reading about and drooling over milk paint and milk painted pieces for a long time, and when I bought this cute dresser at a local flea market I immediately knew it needed the chippy milk paint treatment.
It had a mirror on the back of it but one of the arms that held the mirror had broken off so I decided just to omit the mirror altogether.
I ordered some samples of Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint since she emerged as the leading authority on milk paint and it's use. I bought one sample size of "Linen" and one of "Kitchen Scale", and mixed them exactly 50-50.
The cool thing about the milk paint is, if comes in a powder form, and you add water to the powder to make your paint as thick or as thin as you want/need. For this piece I wanted a thin coat of paint so I would end up with a genuine looking chippy old look. The piece had a nice grain to it, not a smooth veneer, which helped with getting the "primitive" look on it. One teeny tiny (about 1/2 cup of paint) covered the whole cabinet of the dresser, with double coats in a few places. A little of this stuff really does go a loooong way.
The main reason I liked this paint's performance so much was because of the natural way the distressing looked. You know how you can look at some chalk painted pieces and the distressing looks so fake? (I despise the fake distressed look.... distressing should only be done on areas of a piece where distressing would occur naturally, not just random spots making it look downright silly.)
As this piece started to dry, areas of the paint lifted away from the surface of the wood in large flakes. Once the whole thing was totally dry, I rubbed it lightly with a about a 120 grit sandpaper and it distressed perfectly. It was amazing. It was like it knew where it wanted to be distressed and just did it itself. No heavy handed sanding needed here. It was effortless and perfect. It looks like a authentic, primitive piece that was painted 100 years ago, not something that was just painted last week.
I left the drawers original (but cleaned and oiled them) for contrast. I also did a light wax on it but not anything too shiny.
I haven't totally cast off chalk paint, though. Chalk paint is still great for many things.
I think it depends on the piece. Something primitive like this looks great with a chippy weathered finish.
Something more Victorian style, for instance - or something MCM, would look kinda funny with a super chippy paint finish on it. In my little ol' opinion.
I tried to come up with all kinds of reasons for keeping this dresser but in the end none of them were good enough so it went to the shop where it awaits a new home.