I’ve been waiting with bated breath for Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to arrive (via Red Posie) and the big moment finally arrived yesterday afternoon. It was a bit like Christmas morning opening the box and a shiver of excitement came over me as I peered down at my powdered paint. I couldn’t wait to use it!

Unfortunately, it was already late in the day and since I was only 85% recovered from the bug I had caught earlier in the week, I decided to give it one more day….but come this morning, I popped out of bed and went straight to work (well, after a cup o’ joe or two, of course).

Now, I’ve been saving a particular piece for this paint – a piece small enough to finish quickly and cheap enough that if I screwed it up, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

Student Desk Unfinished

A cute little student desk!

I’m embarrassed to say, but this piece has actually been sitting in my kitchen – sort of as a kitchen island – for almost a year while I’ve been (very patiently) waiting to repaint and lightly renovate the walls and pantry. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures! Needless to say, when I got wind of the MMS line of paint, this was the first piece that came to mind.

So, with the powdered form of milk paint in hand, I happily began the  transformation.

Before I get into the details of the project, however, I must give you a pre-painting tip that is particularly useful if you’ve never used milk paint before: I would highly, HIGHLY recommend watching the MMS milk paint tutorials! In my excitement to use the milk paint, I decided to forgo this and immediately regretted this decision when mixing the paint. Frankly, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like, what consistency it was supposed to be, etc. It is very different than your typical latex, acrylic, or chalk paint!

With this said, I added just a little more water that I should have and ended up with what I like to call “skim” milk paint rather than what should have been “whole” milk paint. Hence, when applying the paint, it was a bit runny.

I went with it, nevertheless, and after sanding the top of the desk to its original grain (which took a heck of a lot of sanding!), I painted the base with the first coat of my runny milk paint in Ironstone

Student Desk Half Finished

You can’t quite tell from the above picture, but when the milk paint begins to dry, you can see areas in which the paint doesn’t fully adhere and actually begins to chip. If this is an affect you’d rather avoid then make sure you mix the bonding agent in with the paint mixture! I happen to love the chippy affect, so I left the mixture as is.

I allowed the paint to dry for approximately 30 minutes then took a putty knife to very lightly remove the chipping pieces. I then added a second coat of milk paint and repeated the process. Once I achieve my desired “chippy” look, I added one coat of MMS clear wax to seal the paint and give the piece a nice, natural sheen. Finally, I brushed on a coat of Danish Oil in medium walnut…Student Desk Almost Complete

One coat of Danish Oil down, which you can see is still a little wet.

…allowed it to dry for 30 minutes before applying a second coat, and voila! After allowing the second coat to dry for another 15 minutes and wiping the whole piece down with a cloth, it looked like this:

Student Desk Finished

Student Desk Finished 2

Did I mention that we’ll be repainting soon?! As you can see, it’s much needed!

Student Desk Macro

I actually love how it turned out (I’m still working on my photography so the piece looks a bit better in person…) and particularly love the chippiness of it, but it’s definitely important to be aware of how milk paint works before applying it! What do you think?


homeworkPhotobucketFurniture Feature Fridays


  1. WOW…you did a fabulous job! Love how rustic it turned out! Hopped over from Furniture Feature Friday and I’m happy to be your newest follower <3. Would love to have you stop by for a visit. Blessings ~ Judy

  2. this looks awesome! i am usually a chalk paint girl but just ordered my first few samples of milk paint and can’t wait to jump right in!

    • Annie, thank you! Milk paint is definitely different from chalk paint, but so far, I love it. I’m looking forward to testing it out on a few more pieces as I’m sure it will come out quite different every time. I’d love to see your completed milk paint project 🙂 Feel free to email me a picture when you’re done!

  3. As someone who used milk paint back in the old days, I am glad it is making a comeback. This table is a perfect example of the wonderfully distressed finish that can be achieved through milk paint!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

    • Donna, it really is quite amazing that milk paint has been around for so long. Until Miss Mustard Seed, I had only heard little blips about it and had never used it myself until very recently – and now you see it everywhere! It’s such fun to experiment with and the outcome is always such a surprise!

    • Leah, thank you for the incredibly sweet comment! My house is still a huge work in progress, but I love sharing bits and pieces of it. Hopefully, I’ll get My Home page up and running soon 🙂

  4. I love how the piece is transformed by the milk paint. Did you sand down the entire piece before applying the paint? I have a small book shelf I want to paint with milk paint with a very shiny finish and I’m thinking I’ll have to sand it before I start. What would you suggest?

    • So sorry for the delayed response! I did sand the top down in order to stain it, but the base portion painted in the milk paint went right on over the veneer. I’ve noticed that the less sanding you do, the more “chippy” the paint seems to get. So it all depends on what look you are going for. If you do like that extra chippy look, I say forgo the sanding 🙂 Hope that helps and good luck! I would love to see the finished product.

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