Milk Paint is a very old paint… It’s been around for centuries, but I’m fairly new to using it. At Frame and Frills, I stock Milk Paint by Fusion, (along with the famous Fusion Mineral Paint!). I’ve been trying out several milk paint colors for different projects learning some fun milk painting effects.
At Redo Your Furniture, (aka Frame and Frills), I stock all the products used in this project. They will linked at the end of this post.
Here are the amazing benefits of using milk paint:
- It is in a powder form and you just add water to the amount you want to use. The rest stores dry indefinitely.
- You can simply add water to create a solid color paint, add more water and create a stain…
- On raw wood, milk paint is actually absorbed and bonds with the fibers, so perfect for outside, no peeling or flaking, even outside!
- Milk paint can be used on wood, and concrete! (Yup, my porch is going to be getting a milk paint treatment!)
- Milk Paint by Fusion is made with minerals and is UV resistant, another great reason to use it outside.
- It’s fully cured as soon as it’s dry, so like 30 minutes!
- Creating an aged, realistic distressed finish with milk paint is a cinch!
That’s what this post is going to focus on, how I created a realistic distressed finish on this milk paint cupboard.
I found this unfinished pine cupboard on Facebook Marketplace.
It’s vintage 1980’s designed in an antique primitive style. It did have the ‘1980’s hearts’ on it that found another use.
The hearts came off simple, and left the cupboard looking like a bad suntan.
The ‘other use’…
just a little ‘studio fun’.
When picking a color for a piece of furniture I mostly consider 2 things, what color suits the piece and what color suits the room. It’s a combination of those two considerations that determine the color.
For this cupboard, which I’m planning to keep and use to store workshop class materials in, I decided ‘Mod Mustard’ would be perfect for the main color.
To mix the milk paint, I like to use a small jar or mixing cup and small whisk. Just simply add some of the powder mix and water, about equal parts of both and mix it up. I let it sit, covered for about 10 minutes or so to give the minerals time to get wet.
As I was painting, I frequently stirred up the paint to keep it as smooth as possible. There are some lumps that just never dissolve, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem when painting it on. Milk paint doesn’t go on smooth and slippery like an acrylic or latex paint would. It is different. That’s the part I wasn’t used to and took me a few projects to get the hang of.
The jar or cup size works well, keeping the paint hydrated and my Staalmeetser pointed sash brush fits in it perfect. (BTW, that is my favorite brush!!)
For this cupboard, I decided to go with a couple different colors.
I taped off the countertop part because I wanted that to be a wood finish.
After a single coat of Mod Mustard.
Because the curing time is so fast, just the time for it to dry, I could recoat a half hour after this was done.
Two coats of Mod Mustard:
I moved the wooden door lock thingy back and forth when the paint was wet to add some realistic wear marks.
Next was the hutch interior part.
I decided to make a custom color.
This is super easy to do. Just add the proportions you want of each powder together then add water.
I did equal parts of ‘Sea Glass’ and ‘Skinny Jeans’.
For the hutch top interior, I actually decided that just a single coat would be sufficient.
After the milk paint was dry, I started to distress it.
First I wiped down an area, like this hutch front, with a wet rag.
After it was wet, I ‘scrubbed’ it with the wet rag with a little elbow grease.
On some places I used a sanding sponge to remove even more paint.
My goal was to remove paint where it would have naturally been worn off over the years of being used, moved and banged around a bit. I mean this piece of furniture is Early American style, so over the last 200-300 years it would have gotten some wear and tear, right?!
The shelves in the hutch top, with only a single coat of paint and after they got wet, were super easy to wipe away the paint revealing the wood underneath.
I loved how the area around the knob and wooden lock came out.
Milk paint does need to be sealed. For this project, I used hemp oil. Fusion Hemp Oil is totally natural and food grade safe.
To apply it to the dry milk painted surface, I simply poured some hemp oil in a little plastic tray and using my Fusion Applicator Pad, dipped it in the hemp oil and wiped it on the cupboard.
It goes on shiny, but dries to a satin finish. After liberally wiping it on the cupboard, I let the oil sit for about 10 minutes and then wiped away any excess.
The entire cupboard, including the wood counter received the same hemp oil treatment. Although, this cupboard is going to be used in my painting workshop, this hemp oil treatment, being food safe, would be perfect for the kitchen for wood cutting boards and butcherblock!
The cupboard sat for a day to allow the hemp oil to finish drying.
A milk paint finish dries to a sort of chalky finish, and needs to be oiled, waxed or top coated to bring out the true color of the milk paint. I loved using the hemp oil for this project.
I was so tickled with the ease to distress this paint! It allowed me to create very believable ‘wear marks’ on the painted surface. I’ve never been able to achieve this look with any other type of paint. I’m sold!
Here are the products I used for this milk paint cupboard project. You can shop in the Frame and Frills studio shop in New Richmond, Wisconsin, or online!
- Mod Mustard Milk Paint
- Skinny Jeans Milk Paint
- Sea Glass Milk Paint
- Staalmeester Pointed Sash Brush
- Sanding Sponge
- Milk Paint Mixing Cup
- Small Whisk
- Hemp Oil
- Applicator Pad
Thanks so much for stopping by! Be sure to pop over to the Frame and Frills site, and see all that’s new… I just announced some openings for decoupage and painting workshops!
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To read more painting tips check out some of these other posts I’ve written: