DIY Refinishing Furniture Using Milk Paint
Have you ever played around with milk paint? I’ve used it a few times before and I’ve got to tell you, I’m officially hooked. It’s so easy to
work play with. Here’s an easy DIY project that gives new life to old furniture, like this coffee table.
Joe’s coworker Steve dropped off this table for my garage sale and I thought, “Hmmm, this would look great downstairs!” It wouldn’t be the first time I found something to keep from my own yard sale…
Like I said, this isn’t my first time working with milk paint, but I’m no expert either. I think it’s a great paint to start with, whatever skill level you consider yourself. If you have never used it, I’d do a little research beforehand because it’s way different than most paints. I’ve listed a few resources in this post to get you started.
- Milk paint
- Round pure bristle brushes such as Annie Sloan’s
- Resist puck
- Fine grit sand paper
- Furniture wax
Getting Started: DIY Milk Paint Table
I knew I wanted to paint it white, so first thing I did was pull out all the drawers and take off the glass surface. Then I unscrewed all the hardware pieces and put them aside in a ziplock bag. I’ve lost plenty of screws before, so this is my advice whenever you’re trying to keep little pieces in one place. I’ve definitely learned from my mistakes here.
Our only hesitation was that it would be a little too big for our tiny downstairs area. Worth a try, right?
It definitely has enough storage. So much potential!
I tried my best to visualize what I wanted and how it would look downstairs. I sold a table and chairs set that I painted using the Miss Mustard Seed linen color, and really liked that. I had some leftover so I decided to use it for this one too! Except with a twist.
I’ve already mastered one color, so this time around I’m layering two colors. Linen and Farmhouse White. They’re both whites, but I wanted to get a little more depth and patina.
What you need to do to get two colors, is use a wax puck like this in between your layers. This “resist” will let some of the bottom layer show through when you sand down/distress the final layer. Otherwise the original wood would be showing through.
Here’s a great tutorial I found.
She demonstrates a few techniques for getting this look, plus she has a pretty cool Australian accent.
Once the first layer dried (I did two coats of linen first), I rubbed the wax puck along all the surfaces and corners of the table.
In effect, the second layer of paint won’t stick to wax. So think about where you’d like more of the bottom color to show through when deciding where to wax your piece.
Once I did this, I jumped right into my coat of farmhouse white. I did two coats of this as well. You can really see the difference in color here.
Coming along pretty well, I’d say.
Once it’s all dry, take a piece of fine grit sand paper like this and sand it down by hand. This is where you can decide how weathered and distressed you want your piece to look. Once it’s exactly how you like it, seal everything with a variation of furniture wax, beeswax or antique wax. I used a clear wax, but there are many options. You can put your hardware back on and pop those drawers back into place when you’re all finished.
Before and After DIY Milk Paint Table
Here’s the finished product. From start to finish, I’d say it took 5 hours (not including drying time). It fits perfectly downstairs and I think it’s going to make a great addition to the space once we get down there. That’s our next big room to tackle.
At the time, I was seeing a bunch of marble coffee table hacks, so I cut a piece of faux-stone contact paper to fit on the surface underneath the glass piece. I love that I can change it out for another material later, or just remove it altogether.
Here’s a closeup of the texture. You can see the stark white, then a subtle off-white underneath. I also wanted the wood to come through in spots.
I also kept with the original hardware. I’m digging it.
There is so much storage, it’s amazing.
You guys, don’t even laugh at me when I tell you what I’m about to write. See that little handle-looking piece in the top right in the photo above?
It opens up! I swear I did not know it even opened until I had it in the basement. The whole side comes down for magazines and remotes! Glorious. I may just have to go back and paint in there now. But who’s to know?
Here’s a better angle looking down.
And another one from the top.
I wanted it to match the whitewashed fireplace, and I did accomplish that. But that leaves us with the rest of the mismatched neutrals in this room. Hardwood floors may be in our future!
Notes on Milk Paint
There are a bunch of great tutorials on this website, and you can also buy this specific paint directly from there. You can also check out Youtube tutorials from people who have been there, done that. Or do like me and buy some paint and play around :)It’s tough to mess up with this stuff; it’s very forgiving paint. I look forward to doing a bunch more projects in ALL the colors. Maybe I’ll walk you guys through a tutorial if you’d like that too. There’s another table in my garage workshop waiting to be loved.
So thanks, Steve for the gem of a table! Sorry, you can’t have your table back.