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How to Use Milk Paint

How to Use Milk Paint

, by Mary Kate King, 8 min reading time

We take you through the entire process of this thrifted $12.50 furniture flip using Toscana Milk Paint. We start with a damaged and outdated chest and show you how to breathe new life into it using this popular and eco-friendly paint technique. Follow along as we guide you through each step of the process, from finding your piece, to prepping it, to applying the paint and finishing touches. You'll learn how to create a beautifully distressed, old world finish that will give your furniture a whole new look. Whether you're an experienced DIYer or just getting started, this tutorial is packed with tips and tricks to help you achieve stunning results and start Enjoying the Bragging Rights!  

Products Used:

Additional Supplies Needed:

  • Bleach
  • Lint free rags
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • 320 or high grit sandpaper
  • Natural sea wool sponge
  • Containers
  • Hair dryer (optional)

    Want to recreate this exact look? Shop our Milk Paint Refinishing Bundle


    Amy and Gene found this chest at the Haven House Thrift Store in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. It was damaged and worn, but worth saving. We will show you the entire process from repairing the damage to giving it a whole new look!
    Step One
    Apply a generous amount of bleach over the top surface of the piece. Allowing it to sit outside in the sun will speed up the bleaching process. Be careful not to splash on your clothes or let the bleach drip down to other areas of the you don't want bleached. Repeat until you get the desired effect.
     Once completely dry, lightly sand with 320 grit sandpaper to settle any fibers that have been raised due to the liquid bleach. Be sure to sand with the grain and lightly around edges. Wipe all sanding residue off with a clean lint free rag.
    Once clean of debris, take the Cerusing Wax and apply to a second lint free rag. Wipe in a circular motion across the grain of the bleached top, pushing the wax down into the wood. Let the wax dry for about 1 hour and then buff with a lint free rag. 
    Step Two
       Remove any hardware, and repair any damage or holes that need to be filled. Take the putty knife and apply wood filler as needed to build up any gauges or holes. Allow to dry for 2 hours or according to wood filler directions. Once dry, lightly sand with a high grit sandpaper until the holes or gauges are even with the rest of the area. 
    Once finished, use the Clean Slate and a lint free rag to wipe down the piece thoroughly, removing any dirt, grease, and invisible debris. Allow the Clean Slate to naturally flash off the piece, about 15-20 minutes.
    Step Three
    Take the One Step Paint in Italian Silver and shake for one minute. Be sure to use a stir stick to mix well, making sure the contents at the bottom are well incorporated. Using the Wedge Specialty Brush, load with paint and begin painting the non-bleached base of the piece until fully covered. TIP: Begin painting any inside areas of the piece first, so you're working your way to the outside. This technique will help you avoid getting paint on your clothes.
    Once fully dry after 30 minutes to 1 hour, apply a second thin coat of paint for optimum coverage and protection.
    *Note: Continue to stir the One Step Paint as you work so it remains well mixed. Also note that thin coats of paint are best. 
    Step Four
    Take the Central Park Toscana Milk Paint and mix one part Milk Paint to one part water (ex. 1 cup powder to 1 cup water). Mix well but not vigorously so as to avoid foam. TIP: If using already mixed Milk Paint from the refrigerator, allow to sit out and come to room temperature before using. Using the Natural Chip Brush, load your brush with paint, off load, then begin painting in long strokes. Continue painting until the base of your piece is fully painted. TIP: Milk Paint is much thinner than regular paint. For the best application, you will want to work on a horizontal surface, so turn your piece each time you begin a new section if possible. If you're not able to turn your piece and work with the surface horizontally, use a hair dryer to dry the milk paint and keep it from dripping as you work. Once fully dry, lightly sand with a high grit sandpaper to smooth out any bumps or rough patches. 
    Step Five
      Take two containers and add water to one and Antiquing Glaze to the other. Immerse the Sea Wool Sponge into the water and squeeze out the water, then immerse into the Antiquing Glaze and squeeze out the excess glaze. Lightly pounce the sponge onto the dried milk paint (if you're not able to turn your piece and work with the surface horizontally, use a hair dryer to dry the glaze and keep it from dripping as you work). Tap and dab the sponge, do not drag or pull. The Antiquing Glaze is meant to wear down the Milk Paint so the One Step Paint underneath shows through, giving a chippy look and variances in the color. 
    Use the Antiquing Glaze in a pouncing motion with the sponge over your whole piece or as desired. Every so often or after each section, dip your sponge into the water and clean ,squeezing out any excess. Dip back into the Antiquing Glaze, squeeze out, and continue to the next section. Some Milk Paint will naturally transfer to your sponge, and this is okay. Just be sure to clean the sponge so it's not too loaded with paint and the glaze isn't coming through.
    Step Six
    Once the piece has fully dried from the glaze, use the Natural Chip Brush and load it with the Light Wax. Offload onto a piece of cardboard or wood. Lightly feather the Light Wax over the piece, concentrating on edges and trim that would naturally show the most wear from touching. Feather over the whole piece, loading (and then always offloading) as needed. Now use the same technique for the Dark Wax. Load your Natural Chip Brush, offload onto cardboard, and feather over your piece, focusing on edges, corners, and any trim. TIP: Do not add too much wax. You need very little amounts feathered onto your piece. 
    Enjoy the Bragging Rights!
    Now you have a unique piece of the old world for your home.
    Look at this gorgeous antique piece!  What was a $12.50 thrifted damaged chest is now a darling old world piece you can add to your home, gift to a friend, or even sell. You can do it too!
    Watch the tutorial to see the full process from start to finish.
    Want to see more stunning transformations? Join the Before and After Facebook Group to see how people just like you are flipping furniture, saving money, and Enjoying the Bragging Rights. You can also follow us on Facebook and get alerts when Amy goes live with her next project!
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