DIY Bench Makeover with Milk Paint
Thrifting and looking for treasures is one of my most favorite pastimes. When treasures are hand-me-downs from a family member, even better! Today’s project has been in the works for years. My father-in-law gave me his childhood bench about 10 years ago. I saw its beautiful bones and potential, and I knew I wanted to give it a makeover but I didn’t have a space for it. After we moved into our country farmhouse about two years ago I knew it would fit perfectly in our entryway/hallway. I asked your paint color opinion on social media about 6 months ago, and I thank you so much for your help. However, since then I have been fascinated with Miss Mustard Seed’s Instagram page and I wanted to try her milk paint line. So, I changed my mind, and decided to go with Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Boxwood.
My original color inspiration for the bench came from my beloved Sugarboo & Co Everything is Possible print that hangs on my living room wall near the hallway. I love how the bench turned out: the patina, and the striking and vibrant green that shines off my Gray Owl walls and original wood floors, and adds a little depth to the space.
I love exploring different painting techniques for my decor and furniture. As you may know I have played with chalk style paint and chalk paint, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with those mediums. However, milk paint is really fun especially if you like to experiment. It consists of milk protein (casein), limestone, clay, chalk and other natural and synthetic pigments. You mix the milk paint with water and you can control the strength of the pigment by how much water you add. So you can do a fun “white wash” technique or you can apply a stronger color. If you have some furniture or decor pieces that could use a fun makeover, I would suggest trying it. I really enjoyed my first attempt, and I know it won’t be my last. As a true DIYer I already have atleast three projects in mind!
As an FYI, if you want to do a little more research, I encourage you to visit Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint’s website and read the articles and view the plethora of wonderful videos on the topic!
Please follow below for my process on my DIY bench makeover with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure page here.
To start your milk paint endeavor, you will need:
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Step 1: Prep your piece. Clean your furniture piece or decor. Sand the piece if it has a thick coat of paint or polyurethane on it. I did not sand my piece because I wanted some of the paint to chip to create a pretty patina, you will see those pictures below. However, if you want a cleaner finish then I would recommend sanding first.
You can see what I started with in the picture above. The bones are great, but the finish lacked character and didn’t really stand out in my hallway.
Step 2: Once you prep your piece it is time to mix the paint. Mix 1 part paint to 1 part water. Add the paint powder first then add the water.
I did 1/3 cup of paint to 1/3 cup of water. I used two of these servings for two coats of the entire bench. I didn’t want to add too much paint, then waste it.
*Remember, this is where you can experiment and have fun. You can add more water if you want more of a “white washed” look. I wanted consistent, thick coverage throughout so I opted for the conventional method.
Step 3: Use your spoon or paint stirrer to slowly stir the paint powder and water together. Continue to stir until your mixture is like a pancake batter (a little lumpy). This is important to note, because it is a very different texture and consistency than acrylic, latex, or even chalk paint.
Step 4: After you thoroughly mix the milk paint and water together, it is time to apply your first coat of paint. The paint provides a lot more coverage than you anticipate because of its thinner consistency.
*Also, keep in mind that the color will dry darker.
Allow the paint to dry fully before add another coat. My first coat took about 1 hour to dry.
Step 5: After your first coat of paint dries, add another coat of milk paint. Allow the second coat to dry completely.
You can stop here (like I did) or you can continue to add more layers of paint if you would like to. I liked some of the original color showing through, and so I stopped at this point.
Step 6: Allow your piece to dry for a full 24 hours then add an antiquing wax.
I always like adding a little more depth and texture to a piece. So I decided to add antiquing wax to the piece to bring the deeper green tones out even more.
*It may be helpful to do a little sanding before you add the antiquing wax. Because I didn’t sand my piece in advance some of the milk paint chipped off some of the uneven surfaces (which is what I wanted), so I didn’t sand in advance.
Using a cloth or natural bristle brush apply the antiquing wax to the entire piece of furniture. Then wipe off the antiquing wax with a clean cloth.
*It is helpful to work in small sections so that you get the consistent look that you want throughout, and you don’t get overwhelmed.
In the picture above, you can see the difference between a section with antique wax and one with just two coats of milk paint.
Step 7: Once you have applied the antiquing wax to the entire piece of decor or furniture, finish your piece off with furniture wax. Use a clean cloth to massage the furniture wax onto the entire piece of furniture. The Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax is a lot smoother and thinner than other waxes. It almost has the consistency of lotion and so it is easy to apply. However, keep in mind a little goes a long way. Buff the wax into the furniture piece with a clean cloth.
Then, voila! you are complete. Allow the piece to cure for a total of 30 days.
I LOVE how my piece turned out.
Some additional points I learned through the process:
As you can see from some of my pictures, the consistency of the paint color is a little off. Which is perfectly fine with me. But going forward I will keep my paint stirrer or spoon in my cup and continue to stir the paint mixture so it doesn’t settle.
I will sand future projects in advance if I want to avoid peeling. Again, I like how the peeling in the patina adds to this piece. And, the wax will cure the piece so I don’t have to worry about it continuing to peel.
I found the cutest complement to this bench in this pillow by the Linen Fox.
Since this is a new medium for me, I would love to see and hear about any DIY projects with milk paint that you have tried.
Overall, this project took about 3 hours of work time (not including the drying time), and I am very happy with the end result! I hope this inspires you to try something new with your furniture.