Monday, January 21, 2013

Milk paint part deux/Meet Chester

In my last post I said I had another project lined up and ready for round 2 of MMS milk paint. 
Meet Chester....
Found him on Craig's list of course, and I couldn't walk away.  Such an awesome piece with great curves.  The guy I bought him from said his parents bought it used in the 50s....I couldn't find a maker's mark or any other info, but I did search some google images and figured he was probably a 1940s Duncan Phyfe-esque reproduction.  Regardless, he is ALL wood, super massive, and VERY sturdy. 
And the 2 small drawers are even lined with purple felt, how cool is that?
I was pretty sure I wanted to paint him up in the linen color milk paint I already had on hand.  But as you can see from the picture, his top needed some help.  So I busted out the new palm sander I got for Christmas and went to work!
Got that guy all the way down to the raw wood.  Initially I thought that it was covered in veneer, but I was wrong.  Just LOTS, and LOTS of really old stain.  Once I got the sanding out of the way I mixed up my milk paint and away I went.  Well....more milk paint lessons learned on this guy.  The raw wood just LOVED to soak up the paint.  After 3 coats it still looked like primer and once again I was bugging out!!
I didn't sand the parts that had detail, and I knew I wanted the wood to show through somewhat.  But I wasn't loving how it was going.  I didn't snap any other pictures along the way because I just kept adding coats until I thought it looked right.  Honestly I lost count after 4 coats, I think I ended up doing 5 or 6 on the top.  Then came another moment of panic.  I chose the linen paint because I wanted this piece to be neutral.  But with all white paint it looked too washed out to me, and totally not my style.  So I decided to paint the 2 center drawers in my "custom color" grey chalk paint that I always have on hand. 
Once again the milk paint did it's unpredictable thing where it chipped and cracked where it wanted, but it was perfect on this project.  I only wanted a little bit of distressing.  I didn't want to distress so much that it detracted from the shape and details of the piece itself.  When I was done I decided to use dark wax anywhere there was detailing, and clear wax on all the smooth surfaces.  I did 2 coats of wax total and gave it a good buffing.  Luckily it came with really great vintage hardware that had the perfect amount of patina, so I left those alone and just put em back on when all was said and done.  Ready to see how he turned out??
Adding the grey to the center gave him just a little contrast, but still neutral enough that he wants to live in any room in your house :)
All dressed up and down at Persnickety's now, go check him out!!
Hoping to have more projects in the works very soon, stay tuned to see what I come up with!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Working with Miss Mustard Seed....paint

Oh how I wish I worked with the real life Miss Mustard Seed.  I blog-stalk her daily and scour her fb page every chance I get.  She does amazing work, and I'm pretty sure if I met her for reals I would pee my pants!!  But for now I will settle for my journey with her milk paint.  I hadn't worked with any milk paint prior, but had been on the fence about it for quite some time.  So when I finally got the courage to give it a try I knew that I was more than willing to work with a product backed by the furniture-painting icon herself :)  So I ordered some paint and waited not so patiently for it to arrive.  I had already found a dresser on cl (of course) and thought I was going to paint it red.....but red is scary and takes LOTS of coats to get just right.  Plus this guy is shiny wood and brass hardware.  I knew no matter what I decided it would take a little elbow grease!
 So I stalled, and then the holidays hit and I don't think painting anything even crossed my mind for at least 2 weeks.  In the mean time my paint arrived.  I chose 2 colors to start, linen and kitchen scale.  I watched Miss Mustard Seed's tutorial on mixing the paint and I was off.  Or so I thought....I think the beauty of milk paint is that it's really "workable".  But that can also be the downside.  You have to kind of mix it up until the consistency "feels" right.  Too much water, and it's like a color wash, which is great if that's what you're going for.  Not enough water and paint kind of "globs" up.  I found that using a disposable plastic cup and a mini wire whisk were my best tools.  And I also discovered that mixing in smaller batches makes it easier to control the consistency, and stir, stir, stir!!  So after some trial and error I finally figured it out.

This is how the milk paint arrives, or for now.  Originally Miss Mustard Seed was packaging her milk paint in these bags and the bags were then put in a box, but if you follow her blog at all you know that she's changing that up.  I decided that this dresser needed to be layered in colors, starting with kitchen scale.

Mixed up my batch and got started.  I know this doesn't look like a lot but milk paint goes really far.  That is one of the things that is similar to chalk paint.  For those of you who paint furniture and have used chalk paint I will say in my experience the similarities are few.  It goes really far, you don't HAVE to prime before painting, and the dry time is pretty quick.  It does go on pretty smoothly like chalk paint also, but again that depends on your consistency.  If you're doing more of a wash, you have to watch for drips and runs.  Anyhow!  I slapped a first coat on and waited anxiously...

Not too bad, but a little more aqua than I was hoping for.  Plus I was looking for a little more coverage.  Miss Mustard Seed does sell a bonding agent for her milk paint line.  You can add that to your batches of paint if you're not wanting any kind of chipping or cracking, but I wasn't using that.  So I added a second coat and got really excited cause this started happening....

Can you see the crackling on the edges there?  Well here's the other thing about milk paint, it's REALLY unpredictable.  And I knew that going into it, but still wasn't fully aware of how unpredictable it would be.  After 2 coats half of my drawers were chippy and crackled and the other half, and the dresser base itself were only slightly chippy.  Plus I decided I didn't want the dresser to be an entirely aqua-ish color.  Enter linen.  I thought hey, why not do a wash of a delicious creamy white over the kitchen scale?

Well, 1 coat of linen turned into 2 coats of linen, and this was the result.  This color is not bad at all, it was just kind of too washed for the whole piece.  I started to panic in true furniture painting fashion.  You know that moment where you think you've completely ruined your project and have to walk away to get some perspective?   After begging for opinions and stressing myself out I decided that 1 more coat of kitchen scale on the dresser base should hopefully ease my pain :)  When I'm using chalk paint I generally use a really fine grit sanding sponge between coats, but this did not need it.  This milk paint dries so smooth it's really unbelievable.  Feels like you've sanded and waxed after just 1 coat.

This was so much better!!  A little contrast between the drawers and base, and so much chippy goodness!!  I will say that even after all the layers of paint only some of my drawers were chippy on their own.  So I did take my sanding sponge to some of the edges, to gently ease some chipping, just so that the dresser looked "uniform" and not just like I was a sloppy painter :) 

See?  Chippy goodness abounding!!  I do heart it so :)
Ready to see the end result??

I think it turned out pretty cute.  I did paint the original hardware with milk paint, and loved the end result.  Kind of gave it an antiqued look that fit right in with the paint finish.  I also sealed the whole thing with wax.  Even though it dried so smoothly, didn't want all that hard work to come off :)

Apparently Miss Mustard Seed has the magic touch.  I took this dresser down to Persnickety's on Saturday afternoon and before we could even move it into somewhere other than the middle of the room it sold.  I couldn't believe it!  I guess timing really is everything!! 
So when all is said and done, I can't wait to use the milk paint again.  Now that I have a finished project under my belt, I feel ready to tackle the world!!  And I have another project in the works that I'm planning on just using the linen color milk paint.  Stay tuned to see how it comes out!!


P.S. this "review" of Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint is entirely my own opinion and not sponsored in any way :)