My First Milk Paint Project

Here we are, at the highly anticipated milk paint reveal! I’m going to ask you to use your imagination and think of her sitting in a beautiful room!

According to Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, you never know what to expect when painting a piece of furniture with Milk paint.

I told her that my finished dresser looked like it had been drug behind a covered wagon, across the prairie, moving west. But, I still love her.

As you may remember, I didn’t use the primer that adheres the paint to the wood. I wanted to paint my first piece without it, to experience the self-distressing first hand. While this 100 year old dresser distressed much more than many pieces would, I still think she has character, dignity and many, many more years ahead!




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  1. BEAUTIFUL!!! What beautiful patina. The color is stunning…

  2. Love it! I’m painting my first piece also …did you do just one coat? Thanks! Bonnie:)

  3. An absolutely stunning piece of work, I can’t wait to do my first project with MMS Milk paint!!!

  4. This piece is just beautiful!

  5. It looks so naturally worn. Love it!

  6. It turned out lovely…all chippy and lovely!!!

    Janet xox
    The Empty Nest

  7. janet spoerl says:

    Amazing! What a beautiful piece… turned out perfect! I look forward to trying the same on one of my old pieces.

  8. I love it. That looks like it naturally wore that way over time. I can’t wait to try this when my samples arrive.

  9. I just love it! It doesn’t look “forced” it just looks like a piece should look after years of love 🙂

  10. What beautiful job! I love it. Now I am hankering to use milk paint!
    Smiles, alice

  11. Truthfully, I can’t say I like it – I will wait to see other projects before I try the milk paint. I love the chalk paint results.

  12. well now. I’m all for patina – and I LOVE how that dresser came out – but i am curious. Did you go away and come back to find a little pile of paint crumbles on the floor in front of the dresser?? How does that happen??
    it’s beautiful!

    • Thanks everyone!! I was so nervous to hear your thoughts!

      It was almost like that, Breida! I came back to the shop the next day and it was like the paint was curling up, in tiny little pieces, all over the place! Doing a light sand over the entire piece did leave a puddle of paint on the floor! The paint certainly has a mind of its own!

  13. I love it! I think it’s kind of fun to not know what your going to get. It’s almost like each piece will have a mind of it’s own. Nice job!

  14. What a lovely piece, Barbara. And fortunate to come across you! I lived in Sacramento/Fair Oaks for 30+ years, until I had to move back to Placerville to care for my mother. When I get a chance (and the heat dies down!) I’ll definitely drop by your shop!

  15. it’s gorgeous!! great job.

  16. michelle stewart says:

    I think she is beautiful and you did a wonderful job I would love to have her

  17. Oh.. I wanted to like it… I’m sure you did a great job and the milk paint did its job , however, I guess I’m just not a milk paint style. I love Miss Mustard Seed as well! You both are so inspiring! I guess since I grew up kinda poor with distressed furniture, I want to make them look *New & clean!
    I think I’ve read that by adding some kind of agent it wouldn’t stress so much? Maybe I will wait to see one of those pieces. I really like your blog!! And your beautiful dog!

    • Hi Martha!,
      Don’t feel bad, because this style certainly isn’t for everyone! Yes, there is a primer I could have used, but decided not to use. I’ll use the primer on my next project, to see the difference! Stay tuned!…and thanks for your honest opinion!

  18. Terrific effect.

  19. Absolutely fabulous! hope my first project looks as good as this! CJ

  20. I’m in love. There’s something about not having control over every little bit of chippy goodness and letting the universe decide which really appeals to me.

    In the next week (or two) I will be debuting Dinah in tricycle red. She’s a BIG GIRL!
    She’s here:

    I’m curious, which color was this?

  21. How fun to see your first project! I would probably not want my milk paint to distress quite that much for me personally but I do like the way that looks! If it distresses more than you want can you go back and redo parts of it with the bonding agent?

  22. Love the way it turned out! It looks awesome!

  23. Barbara,I would love to see the milk paint used with the primer. This is a beautiful dresser, just a bit to rustic and distressed for my own style. Excited to see your next transformation!

    Art by Karena
    2012 Artists Series featuring Harrison Howard

  24. I love this and love what you said …this looks so drop down natural…and for those that one a look of history and memories made this is perfect…Imagine a little pretty frame painted to match with a note of” Where have I lived,and how many people open’d my drawers at the start of their day” I love antiques with character and this one is a charmer…thanks for the preview

  25. Barbara…I love it …you did a great job!….So how easy was it to apply?…You know me, love an easy project!….The dresser looks wonderful…never would think that it was drug behind a covered wagon!

    • Hi Shirley, it’s super easy to work with. All of the distressing was a bigger challenge, just wondering if any paint was going to stay on the piece! I’m going to use the primer next time, so there isn’t all the self-distressing. Thanks for your sweet note!

  26. Hi Barbara – I too used the milk paint for the first time recently, and did come back to a puddle of paint chips and by sanding a bit, ended up with more paint on the floor than on the project piece…So I painted another light coat with a bit of primer in it and this time it stayed mostly on the piece but some of it chipped away…which was what I was going for. This truly is a learning curve and I loved the final results. Then the second project, I went out of the studio and waited for the chipping fairies to do their thing overnight…came back next day, and they had not been there! LOL Well maybe a stray one or two, so just goes to show you, this paint does have a mind of it’s own and if you don’t mind what it wants to be, you are in luck! Because it will be beautiful!

  27. The top of the dresser is too “perfect” for as “aged” as the base and mirror are. It looks out of place. But I *do* like the scruffy look where the paint is missing … it just needs to be consistent over the whole piece to make it TRULY appear old (if that’s your goal).

  28. I think this turned out beautiful. You are lucky to have your milk paint. Marian was saying the shipments would not go for 2 more weeks yet. Lovely color too.

  29. Looking forward to doing my first milk paint project soon {as soon as I figure out how to get some from Marian} – hope mine turns out as beautiful as yours. Lovely color.

  30. This turned out gorgeous! I really like the look Barbara.

  31. It looks great. I’m finding out the hardway that you don’t control Milk Paint.

  32. Kelly curry says:

    LOVE how your dresser turned out! Looks so natural! I’m doing my first piece in MMSMP and I was just curious…what color did you use?

What are your thoughts?