Hello there my DIY friends!
Milk paint is used quite a bit these days. Today I am going to share with you my first DIY project experience using milk paint! I will give you my honest (non paid) review of the General Finishes Milk Paint brand. This past weekend I had my hubby and son-in-law take our old and tired armoire outside, so I could try my luck at painting it! Guys, I was considering giving this piece away! The inspiration to try milk paint on this DIY project came from my friend Lisa from The Purple Hydrangea. She is amazing at painting and restoring furniture. Through her Facebook Live videos , I was able to learn a thing or two about milk paint and I was anxious to try it.
First of all, let me be honest, I am a little afraid of painting furniture (I’d much rather build it and let someone else finish it…ha!). Seriously though, I was always told to “love the wood grains” and not “ruin nice wood with paint”. Can’t you just hear your parents and grandparents saying that?! I can!…Oh the voices in my head. But, after this experience, I feel like maybe, just maybe, I would be willing to give this a try again! I realized that “beautiful furniture” is a very subjective term. There is so much furniture out there that can come to live with a little paint. I mean, I look much better with a little make up on. You get what I’m sayin’.
Here’s my old armoire. Good bones, but I was tired of the yellow wood tone. It was time to do something about it.
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- Liquid TSP Substitute Cleaner (or a mix water and vinegar can be used to clean the piece)
- General Finishes Milk Paint in Persian Blue and Lamp Black (only 1 pint of each color was enough). Read on for my honest (non paid) review of this brand of milk paint.
- Cat Sander or 220 grit sand paper (I use the sand blocks)
- Foam Brush
- Foam Roller (optional)
- Hemp Oil (to seal the paint, you can use polyurethane if you prefer)
- Lint Free Cloths
Step 1: Take any hardware off, clean the furniture piece with TSP or a vinegar/water mixture using a cloth. Dry excess.
Step 2: Lightly sand the entire piece with 220 grit sand paper. This will create “tooth” for the paint to adhere better. Shiny finishes may need more prep and sanding. Take dust off with dry cloth. Steps 1 and 2 should take about 10 minutes. Then you get to the fun part.
Apply the Milk Paint
Step 3: Apply the base color of milk paint. I applied black first because I wanted black to “show through” the blue. You may choose to use only one color. It’s cheaper and less time consuming. For this piece I applied 2 coats of the black milk paint using a foam brush for the perimeter and a foam roller for the flat areas. I let it “dry” overnight before I applied the blue. This paint dries fast!
General Finishes Milk Paint Review
This paint comes pre mixed and is pretty thick in consistency, which is different from the watery consistency of other milk paints that come in powder form and need to be mixed with water. It dries very fast which is good (quick finish) and bad (hard to fix the boo boos before the paint dries). It has no odor and it is non toxic. A little paint goes a LONG way. I only used 1 pint and gave this piece 2 coats. I liked it overall, especially because the color was exactly what I wanted and it was also very easy to clean off my hands and brushes. The finish is matte and after the second coat I couldn’t see any brush marks.
Step 4: Apply top color. The next day I applied two coats of the persian blue color and let it dry just a couple of hours then I proceeded to distress!.
Step 5: Distress the piece in random areas allowing the black to show through. I used my Cat Sander but you can distress by hand if you don’t have a sander. I used 220 grit sand paper to avoid overly distressing or taking all of the finish off. Some areas did go all the way through the wood, but it looks good, I think. I concentrated on the areas around the edges and then I did a few random spots all over where furniture normally wears. Have fun with this part 🙂
Love the chippy, distressed look.
Step 6: Seal with Hemp Oil. This is something I had never heard of until recently. I always use polyurethane but decided to try the hemp oil. I applied it all over the armoire with a lint free cloth. It was sort of like putting lotion on. It felt really good on my hands too! I followed up with a dry cloth and wiped off the excess. Once dry, the finish was very smooth as opposed to the dry/crusty feeling milk paints and chalk paints leave. The oil looks dark in the pic below, but once you spread it on it goes on clear. I only applied one coat. You can apply multiple coats for added shine with no need to sand in between coats as you would with polyurethane.
And that is it! Finished 🙂 I am so glad I didn’t give this away!
I hope this motivates you to take that old piece of furniture and give it a facelift using milk paint! If you like furniture makeovers check out Beverly’s Vintage Vanity Update. And don’t forget to pin this for yourself!
I hope you will stick around and check out our gallery of beginner wood projects!
Have fun DYI- ing! 🙂
Ps…Hindsight moment: I wonder if using cheap black matte spray paint for the first coat would have achieved the same look for less money. I actually asked the lady at the paint store and she said she wouldn’t recommend it. Hmmmm… Maybe I’ll have to try it on a scrap piece.
What is YOUR experience with milk paint? Tell me in the comments!
Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials for novice woodworkers and DIYers. She also works as a university professor in the health care industry. Have a question for Janice? Feel free to send her a message here!