It’s often hard to see the potential of a piece when you first buy or rescue it. Sometimes, it’s even harder to see how you can recreate Old World finishes on furniture or decor you’ve owned for a while.
On this episode of Finish Friday, Amy walks you through a few ways to finish your pieces using Amy Howard at Home’s Legno Gesso and Toscana Milk Paint. Because the cracked gesso and milk paint dry quickly, you’ll be able to give your pieces that Old World finish you didn’t think you could get outside of Europe!
Amy is also showing off our new European Finish Bundle, which includes everything you need to recreate Amy’s refinishing magic:
How to Properly Use Cracked Gesso & Milk Paint
As Amy demonstrates in the video, before you do anything, clean your surface or stained piece. Use Clean Slate and a clean, lint-free rag. Don’t worry – it won’t take off lacquer, shellac, or stain, but it will make sure there is nothing on the surface that will prevent the cracked gesso from adhering. Once your surface is clean, you’re ready to start using Amy Howard at Home’s Legno Gesso.
Cracked gesso is an agent used crack the milk paint, and it gives you those beautiful white age marks that you usually only see in authentic old world accents.
In the video, Amy shows you how you can expect the gesso to dry, and she also recommends that you use only hot water for your cracked gesso mix.
Apply the cracked gesso thoroughly to your piece, then let your first coat of cracked gesso dry for about 30 minutes. Then, lightly sand your gesso between coats to make sure it’s smooth. You can do one coat or two; it’s just up to you and the depth you want to add to your piece. Once you’re happy with your cracked gesso, you can start mixing your milk paint.
At Amy Howard at Home, all our milk paint is food-grade, with all-natural ingredients from Provence in the South of France. That’s why, when you mix colors or even just prep a single color of our Toscana Milk Paint, make sure to blend well with a spoon or stick to get the color you want. You want to absorb all of those particles, so Amy even recommends that you mix your paint the night before a project.
Depending on how you mix the colors, it’s also important to remember that it will dry down to exactly that color (it does get darker when you add water). Then, always mix enough to paint your piece — it can be hard to find the right ratio again! Always make sure to pull foam out of if you get any at the top of either your cracked gesso or your milk paint. Make sure to tune into the video to watch how Amy mixes and applies her mixed Toscana Milk Paints using a chip brush.
Finishing Touches on European Finishes
Once your Toscana Milk Paint is dry (hint: use a blow dryer to speed up the process), it’s time to put on the finishing touches. In the Finish Friday video, Amy shows you how to apply the Antiquing Glaze to your piece using a sea sponge and a clean lint-free rag.
The idea with this glaze is to slightly pull up the milk paint, revealing the cracked gesso underneath. This gives that aged, weathered look we all love so much. She also provides a bunch of tips on how to do this properly, so make sure to watch her steps.
Once the glaze is totally dry, you can apply your Light and Dark Wax. Of course, Amy reminds us to always use individual light and dark wax chip brushes, and to always offload excess wax before applying each one to your piece. Once both the light and dark waxes have come to tack, you can also add some Dust of Ages to give it an authentic and effortlessly aged look.
Aside from the Dust of Ages, everything Amy uses in this Finish Friday video can be found in the new Toscana Milk Paint Bundle. The Toscana Milk Paint Bundle includes a milk paint in your choice of color, as well as our Antiquing Glaze, Light Wax and Dark Wax, as well as 3 chip brushes. Check it out in our online store today and buy it before it sells out!
To make the most out of this bundle — and to get the Old World finishes you’ve always wanted — check out this Finish Friday video. You’ll also find tips from Amy, our resident finishes expert, that you won’t get anywhere else. Of course, “Like” and follow us on Facebook so you can see Amy when she goes live every Friday at 12 noon Central, where you can watch Amy’s tutorial and ask questions live!