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 makeup 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.

An honest review of milk paint on an old and tired armoire

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Materials Used

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 sandpaper. This will create something for the paint to adhere better. Shiny finishes may need more prep and sanding. Take the 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 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!

My first experience with milk paint. An honest review.

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!.

My first experience with milk paint. An honest review.

My first experience with milk paint. An honest review.

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 sandpaper 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 πŸ™‚

An honest review of milk paint

Love the chippy, distressed look.

My first experience with milk paint. An honest review.

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.

Using milk paint and hemp oil to revive an armoire

And that is it! Finished πŸ™‚ I am so glad I didn’t give this away!

Renovate an old armoire using milk paint and hemp oil

Renovating an old armoire with milk paint and hemp oil

Renovating an old armoire with milk paint and hemp oil

Renovate an old armoire using milk paint

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!

Armoire Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint. An honest (non paid) Review of this brand of milk paint is included!

I hope you will stick around and check out our gallery of beginner wood projects!  

Have fun DYI- ing! πŸ™‚


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!

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Janice| Sawdust Sisters

Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to "dare to try". Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Janice I am cheering right now!!!!!! This turned out ridiculously amazing!!!! Are you in love with hemp oil? Are you ready to try Miss Mustard Seed’s paint next?

    I apologize for the abuse of exclamation points this morning. I just love this.

    1. Janice

      Haha! Lisa I just love your enthusiasm! I wanted to use Miss Mustard Seed from the beginning but I couldn’t find it locally, and I was too impatient to wait for an online order. I will definitely plan ahead next time and try it.

      1. Janice

        And yes, hemp oil is the bomb! My hands were soft after painting which never happened before πŸ™‚

  2. Sarah

    What a gorgeous piece and fantastic transformation!! Great job!! ??

    1. Janice

      Thank you Sarah!

  3. Anika

    What an awesome transformation… You gave it a totally new lease of life πŸ™‚

    1. Janice

      Thanks Anika!

    1. Janice

      Thank you, Sam!

    1. Janice

      Thanks MarΓ­a!

  4. Chloe Crabtree

    Love, love, love this! Come by the Celebrate Your Story party with this one, too (because I would LOVE to feature it next week). This is my inspiration for painting my old black armoire that I have been putting off as a project! Thanks for the inspiration and the detailed information!

    1. Janice

      Awe! Thank you Chloe! You are so sweet! I just linked. Im on my phone so I hope it worked ok πŸ™‚

  5. Melanie

    Lovely makeover!! I’m glad you didn’t give it away either πŸ™‚ I have never used the GF milk paint, didn’t realize it came pre-mixed! That’s interesting . . . I love the color layering and subtle distressing. And, Yes! Hemp oil is awesome stuff πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing at Friday’s Furniture Fix!

    1. Janice

      Thanks Melanie!!! Happy to share! Im hooked on hemp oil! πŸ™‚

  6. Great job, ladies… Love the colors and the finish. you guys are totally hip to this refinishing gig!! Looking forward to seeing more of your fab pieces! Thanks so much for linking to Friday’s furniture Fix.

    1. Janice

      Thanks Susie! πŸ™‚ I hope to do more too!

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