Surely you have heard the expression, "it's like watching paint dry," and the connotation is quite negative and punitive. Well, well, well, whoever coined that phrase must never have sat and watched milk paint dry. It's a blast. It's captivating. It's anything but boring or sufferable. I will watch milk paint dry any day of the week. With pleasure.
Who is Old Fashioned Milk Paint? "In 1974, after much experimentation, we recreated an old Milk Paint formula to provide an authentic finish for our primary business of building reproduction furniture. Since then we have sold our paint to professionals who are either restoring original Colonial or Shaker furniture, making reproductions, or striving for an interior design look that is both authentic and beautiful. Milk Paint is now gaining an even wider usage because it contains only ingredients that are all-natural and will not harm the environment. Our authentic real milk paint is truely a "green paint" that comes in 20 colors." Source: http://www.milkpaint.com/about.html.
Milk Paint - Awesome stuff, let me tell you. An all natural, matte, rich toned, paint which brings a whole new look and feel to what it coats. Often unpredictable on any particular surface, an additive may be used with it to promote more solid stable coverage, but the raw nature of how the paint responds on certain surfaces is what makes it truly unique in a world of basic intact coverage outcomes. In contrast, to achieve a chippier finish, you may place oil or vaseline in splotches where you want the paint to adhere minimally or not at all. And its terribly fun to experiment with. Source: just my thoughts.
Storage - You know- anything that you can shove your junk into to hide it or for safer keeping than the floor. Source: just my thoughts.
I whipped out my beat up, eh well-loved, bags of milk paint and some super fancy paint paraphernalia: a notorious red cup repurposed for milk paint mixing (from party to paint it holds its liquids with plastic class), a foam cup for water and a free store paint stir. I'm now ready to play artist and swish up my consistencies and colors.
I can earnestly state I do not believe there is a paint job that milk paint cannot handle, whether in its original formula or with the extra bond added to it to assure a more uniform finish. The effects of milk paint's natural formula can effortlessly epitomize the shabby chic look. Skip tedious sanding and hacking off paint to achieve chic shabbiness. I say let the paint do the hard stuff and we can do the refining.
This poor little chest I redid using it had been tortured with a coat of oil based paint over latex, which is never a good idea if not properly prepared first. I sanded then stripped then stripped again. And again. Then sanded again. Guess what? It still wasn't all off. There was a thin patchy sheet of white. I knew I could use it to my advantage because I had wanted to layer the Sea Green milk paint over white with a wash over that anyway. So I stopped trying to widdle it all off, and went with the remains. I was banking on the milk paint doing its special thing and crackle, chip and peel its way to unique beauty.
OFMP got it blazing right with the green-gray-blue tone of Sea Green. I grew up vacationing at my grandparents' house on the Cape, and this color is exactly like the ocean off the coast of the infamous elbow and up the stretch. It brings the ocean right into my house. With this color in the room, I can gaze my way beachside on a sandy towel, a salty breeze tickling my skin while munchkins laugh and yelp in scared thrill as waves surge and smash around their little scurrying feet. Even if I'm really in my house at my desk typing a post.
My grandfather used to thrift and paint a variety of items, and some he passed on to me which regrettably have gotten lost through the decades. I am not sure what type of paint he used, but he had great colors-greens, blues, turquoises, yellows. I feel that may well be how my love of painted wood and furniture sprouted, in a little cape on the Cape full of antiques and painted woodwork, mirrors, toys, trunks and cabinets. One of my treasured times was going to the dump 'store.' All sorts of tossed goodies were left in a shed to be rehoused by fellow dump goers. When I save a furniture life or paint things, I think Grandpa would be proud. I picture him bent over his work table with his brush in his hands swiping a pretty aqua over a new find or crisp white over a simple toy house he made for me. Then he passes the brush to me to have a go at it. Just maybe, he created this 'nope, paint it' thrift-picking monster.
After doing a couple of coats of the Sea Green and waiting for it to make its impression, I washed over it with OFMP's Buttermilk to give the Sea Green a hazy, weathered, driftwood look. The creamy pale yellow brushed over the green gave it a lovely grain texture and tone resembling a log one could find washed ashore seaside after a long bout with sun, sand and saltwater.
The original design idea I had was to decoupage floral paper on all three insets of the drawers. Then when I saw one of the drawers getting its crackle and chipping boogie on, I decided to only paper the top and bottom drawers. Until the crackly yum was spreading like a delicious epidemic over all the drawers. I decided to only paper the middle drawer. However, I simply could not bring myself to cover even just the one. After all the paper demos I shuffled around, I decided to stencil all three drawers right over the chips and cracks instead.
I thought the stencil would lend authentic old charm with the fading and feathered-edge nuances it has to enhance the quirkiness of milk paint and shabby chic styling. The blend of the three make for a little piece of heaven in a room.
As I slightly alluded to above, shabby chic is one of my ultimate favorite styles of decorating; rich in old-fashioned simplicity, reminiscent of time saved in that sentimental bottle full of memories and journeys to be displayed through decor, of flowy rosette laced sundresses on steamy summer days, of brimming hope chests slowly creaking open beheld by wondrous eyes. It is delicate in its appeal, romantic in its gesture, and evokes a nostalgic bliss. Without getting too mushy, it plain old makes me want to meander through a meadow of waist high wild flowers. Or sprawl on a quilt under a willow tree with wicker baskets toting jars of lemonade, petite pastries, and embroidered linen napkins with which to pat the powdered sugar from my lips. Enough. I'll take my invisible dandelion wreath off my head...my sentimental stroll has wound its way back to my little chest awaiting its dressing. I felt the stenciling would add a touch of genuine chicness to the perfect shabbiness the milk paint gave it.
Considering the color palate that exudes shabby chic style, I mixed together pink, ivory, brown and bisque to create a dusty rose as a mild highlight against the green and buttermilk. The quaint, swirly floral pattern was repeated across the drawer faces, then I added a single flower down the middle using only a bisque/ivory combination.
The white was showing through perfectly where the milk paint had chipped off or crackled apart. I get sort of giddy watching it transform before my expectant eyes. It is delightful. But I didn't always think so. The first time I used it I thought I destroyed my antique desk. I was so upset but trudged on with applying another coat and voila. A luscious bounty of crackling and chipping occurred.
While it sat to smooth out and flake up, a butterfly stopped by for a visit. It slowly and gracefully spread then raised its delicate wings as it sat. The dainty dots on its wings were a tealish green and ivory-white which matched the chest. Such beauty coming to rest on this little piece.
After a coat of clear wax which enriched the lovely tones, I wanted to make it a smidge more shabby by slightly dirtying (I mean antique-ing) it up like it had been tucked in a farmhouse for a few generations gathering the gentle effects of time and use. A rub of dark wax topped it all off. Time for furniture jewels. Not too flashy, not too dull, but diamond cut clear glass knobs were just right. And completion.
My milk paint gives a first thought, its - OMG What's this??
My milk paint gives a second thought, its - This finish I could kiss!
Oh I love to use it everyday,
and if you ask me why I'll say...
'cause OFMP has a way
with crackly chipping or smooth paint.
It is an honor to participate in this endeavor to share Old Fashioned Milk Paint with others that they may find it as endearing as so many already do. Up until about a year ago, I was neither aware of OFMP nor had seen the awesome effects of milk paint knowing it was from that, and I live only about one hour away from their company. I wish I had discovered them a couple of decades ago. A round about turn of paint researching led me to the New England based company, practically in my backyard here in Massachusetts. I hope OFMP gains greatly deserved exposure from customers' tried and true testimonies of their enchanting products.
I went a tad photo crazy, but I seriously could not help it. I just love this stuff, it gives me big toothy grins. Every angle I looked at had such chippy, shabby chic crackling amazingness going on that I had to capture it for all to see it. So, I apologize for the abundance, but I'm only a little bit sorry.
Chopsticks and tin can drumroll....
I happily present the little three drawer Enchanting Sea Shabby Chic Chest; I had fun staging this by showing the versatility of a milk painted piece used as shabby chic storage. First it is styled in a vintage/cottage way, next in a classic/updated way, then a cozy kid's room way. You are certainly welcome to put your personal twist on how it could be used. It is ready to serve a variety of pretty storage needs. Compact enough to slip into a small space, yet roomy enough to tuck items safely away.
Please click the images for full size photos.
Displayed with a cottage-vintage style for a hall, foyer, sitting/family room setting-
Braided rug, Antique lamp, Vintage books and Antique pitcher as a vase
Got a shared space? Place this between the beds as double-duty nightstand. A guest staying for a few days? Plenty of space for a few outfits in here. Need a vanity in a bathroom? Compact storage at your finger-tip towels with this one. Need an extra set of pretty drawers in any room? Shabby perfection to the rescue...anywhere, all the time.
Displayed in an updated traditional way -
Sheepskin rug, French tin basin with books, Hobnail milk glass lamp with ribbon shade
Here is a cozy, cheery shabby chic little girl's space fashioning. Set with shabby chic chair and lamp, toys, and books between cute bookends. The chest could be home to clothes, toys, puzzles, games...
Here are a few pictures of the process from one coat to chipping/crackling lusciousness and second coat:
Little chest made a special friend who kept roaming over it so I snapped some photos. See how mesmerizing milk paint is? Even a butterfly was captivated:
One other funny episode happened regarding milk paint while meeting with clients in regard to another piece. The gentleman glanced over at the chest, saw the chipping and inquired if it was next to be sanded. I almost snorted holding back my giggle because that is the reaction I always get when someone who has not yet seen the beautiful peculiarities of straight-up milk paint sees the trail it has blazed. He was very intrigued and sincere in his fascination with the finish when I replied that the chips and crackling were actually the desired effect. A little later he stepped over to it again, and I saw him with his face about four inches from the surface and his fingers grazing the top. He was studiously peering at its crazy fine features, and remarked that he had never seen anything like it. I agreed that though it is centuries old, it seems to be a bashful gem in the boisterous paint market of the oil and latex based. Let's hope that changes through exposure like this contest. After some contemplation of the splendidly curious finish he witnessed, he declared it to be really cool. As do I.
Feathered Nest Friday
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