painting over the chipping

In several of my recent milk paint demonstrations while addressing “the chippy look”, people have asked what happens if you paint over chippy milk paint?

Great question!  Let me give you a visual…

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4079

So in other words, you have a shiny or varnished piece of furniture that you paint with milk paint without bonding agent added and immediately this happens…

Lucketts Green chipping

The paint begins to flake or chip off as quickly as it dries.   Cool, right?  But maybe that is not the look you are trying to achieve.  So for better coverage with lots of texture simply paint over the first layer of chipping paint with bonding agent in the second coat.

Did you get that?  When it dries it will be bumpy and raised in certain areas from where the first layer chipped.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4088

At this point you will want to sand it back with a fine grit sanding sponge.  Sanding will smooth the surface out while also pulling out some of the other colors.

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4085

For coverage comparison purposes, the chair on the right pictured below is painted dried lavender with bonding agent.

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Finally, wax your textured piece.  This is a good opportunity to mix white wax and antiquing wax since you already have various shades of paint and loads of texture.  You can’t go wrong!

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4084

I usually have a random “experimental piece” like this sitting in the workshop.  This way I never waste leftover milk paint and I usually learn a thing or two as I play.  At some point, I deem it finished.  This particular bookshelf started with lucketts green, then got some ironstone, eulalie’s sky and linen plus all three waxes!

creating chippy texture with milk paint-4083

Lots of paint posts lately as I’ve been plowing through so many pieces in my workshop this summer.  Subsequently they turnover relatively quickly as this is our busiest season for retail. We are planning our winter list of DIY house projects and it is looking mighty fine.  I can’t wait to share all of that inspiration as it unfolds in just a few months!  Although, I certainly don’t want to rush summer…

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starry night

I remember it vividly.  There was a competition in art class in third grade.  We were to replicate van Gogh’s famous painting, The Starry Night.  I was mesmerized with the painting.  The colors, the swirls, the sharp roof lines.  All of it.  I loved van Gogh’s post-impressionist style.  He quickly became my favorite artist because of that painting and competition although I did not win.

Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_

The following year, in fourth grade, we had to do a presentation on our favorite artist.  Maybe it was our favorite historical figure but the category was broad and I remember choosing van Gogh.  We were instructed to not only present the person but portray him or her during the presentation.  At this point I had done a bit of research and learned that Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear.  That fact stuck out in my young mind so I incorporated it into my presentation by wearing a large, sticky gauze bandage over my own left ear.  Tearing that bandage off was painful, let me tell you.  It had to score me some major points, right?

Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_mirror_self_portrait

About 10 years later while in college I had the opportunity to visit the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  It was such a fun experience to see so many of his original pieces in person.  With every corner I turned I hoped to see The Starry Night, the painting that initially piqued my interest in van Gogh and his work.  After touring the museum I found out The Starry Night was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Go figure!  I will never look at a still life of sunflowers again without remembering that trip.

Vincent_van_Gogh_sunflowers

At any rate, I was working on these two cute little side tables last week when van Gogh and The Starry Night jogged my memory.  I hadn’t thought about that painting in a very long time until I was applying white wax over Artissimo.  The contrast between the dark and light.

artissimo + white wax

Certainly this isn’t post-impressionism work but a little bit of white wax over such an intense color softens the look, doesn’t it?

artissimo + white wax

Do you have a favorite artist?

artissimo + white wax

(All van Gogh images are from Wikipedia)

comparing topcoats: then & now

The most pinned and visited post here is one I wrote a couple of years ago about my preference in furniture topcoats.  There has been consistent conversation on that post.  I’d like to continue that conversation over here with a 2014 update.

While the products I was using then are certainly fine products, tastes & trends change and new choices become available.  Let’s check in and compare what I was using in 2012 vs. what I’m using in 2014 and why…

2012 #1 Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – I was using paste wax primarily over stripped and stained surfaces.

hemp oil

Current #1 Hemp Oil – This is my current go-to topcoat for stained surfaces and raw wood.  Basically it can be applied to revive and treat any porous surface including flat paint leaving a rich finish.  Hemp oil is 100% natural, no VOCs and food safe.  I even use hemp oil on my cutting boards and cast iron pots.  It has no harsh odor so I use it indoors.  Hemp oil has a multitude of other DIY uses but we’re just talking about topcoats today so I will limit it to that.  Hemp oil can be applied with a cloth or brush.  I typically use a brush.  I love the addition of oil to my repertoire.

drop leaf table with hemp oil finish on raw wood and paint

2012 #2 Johnson Paste Wax – I always liked the finish this wax provided over painted surfaces but the chemical odor is just so strong that I never use it anymore.

furniture wax

Current #2 Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax – When I want a wax finish over painted furniture, I always go for this one regardless of the brand of paint.  It is made of beeswax and therefore has no odor.  It is incredibly easy to apply and leaves a nice even finish.  I apply with a wax brush.  MMS furniture wax dries very quickly, in about 5 minutes, and lightly buffs out with a lint free cotton rag.

mustard seed yellow milk paint nightstand with furniture wax

2012 #3 & #4 Annie Sloan Clear & Dark Wax – These waxes are nice and thick which is why I liked them back then.  At the time I was using a lot of chalk paint so it complemented well.  A thick wax over a full body paint made sense to me then.  However, there has been a lot of conversation around the clear wax leaving a haze and fingerprints while the dark wax was mostly just too dark and hard to work with on its own.  The dark wax is very pigmented because it is meant to be more of a stain from what I understand.  I have experienced both of those issues and pushed through until…

antiquing wax

2014 #3 & #4 Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing & White Wax – No surprise here but I’ve fully converted to all MMS waxes.  The antiquing wax creates such a subtle warm patina with no fear of being too dark as referenced before. The pigment is easy to spread.

lucketts green over trophy milk paint with antiquing wax #mmsmp

On the other hand, white wax creates a washed out look to the painted finish that I’ve been raving about this summer.  The white wax also has a very light scent that is pleasant and not chemically at all.

Mustard Seed Yellow + White Wax #mmsmp

I use brushes to apply these waxes as it helps gets the pigmentation to settle into the paint creating an aged look.  I reserve one wax brush exclusively for each color wax for easier clean up.  It is fun to use both antiquing and white wax on one piece to create depth and the illusion of years of wear.  I like to think of it as highlighting and low-lighting.

white wax

In 2012, I also indicated that I was using a buffer and still receive many questions about my buffer today.  Well, I can’t remember the last time I used it!  I power buffed because all of the waxes I was using were thick and it was the best way to get an even, shiny finish.  My current choice in waxes are much lighter.  When needed, a cotton rag and elbow grease buffs them out in minutes.  Although the beeswax is thinner, it gives a very solid, durable finish when cured.

Of course, this is just my opinion and perhaps, no surprise.  I wouldn’t sell a line of products that I don’t truly love.  There are many, many new topcoat choices on the market including a range of tinted waxes and ones with low or no VOCs.  It is important to find what suits your style best.  Please share in the comments what your go-to products for topcoats are.  I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered!

a beachy combo

I had a wonderful afternoon yesterday meeting with some of our customers at The West End Garage who are interested in painting their old cast offs. We talked milk paint and also heard from our new neighbor at the garage, Eastcote Lane, who carries Maison Blanche furniture paint.  Oh the possibilities!

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4022

It is funny how chatting with creative minds about individual projects can get me excited about milk paint all over again.  As a result, I ended up painting until 11 pm last night!  Those pieces are still in progress but today I am sharing this Eulalie’s Sky side table that is in the shop now.  You may have caught a glimpse of it on facebook or instagram.  I managed to snap a few staged pictures before bringing it in yesterday.

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4040

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4035

This one just screams beach house to me.  The beachy, summer feel is all in the white wax details.  I like to let it collect in the corners and around the legs to give it a bleached-out, sun-faded look.

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4034

Would you believe the top was leather?  Well, it still is leather with the addition of milk paint.  Sorry, no before picture.  I am slacking in that department for sure.  Anyway, the leather absorbed the milk paint like a champ and even has some very subtle crackling that is hard to see in the photos.  I took a cue from Miss Mustard Seed and added a decorative design around the circular inset.

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4029

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4030

I’m sure you noticed that Cape May pillow too, right?  It is the most comfy, down pillow ever.  The cover is machine washable and handmade – both sewn and screen printed. It makes a great hostess gift if you’re crashing at your friend’s beach house.  Or a gift for yourself!  But they are going fast at The West End Garage…

eulalies sky + white wax table #mmsmp-4036

If you’d like to join us to talk paint at another free demonstration, just check on the demo tab here for future dates.  This information can always be found in the drop down menu below ‘milk paint’ at the top of this site.  I will be in PA next weekend to demonstrate for those on the other side of the bridge.

Happy painting!

a collected summer mantel

Memorial Day unofficially marks the beginning of summer but for me, it seems to be Independence Day.  Once the 4th of July hits, we’re all fully aware of the season; the rising temperatures and the long, lingering days followed by breezy evenings.  And it’s right around the corner!

We’ve kept things casual in the seasonal decorating department lately.  Just a rotating collection of vintage and handmade favorites on the mantel.  For summer we have a fish painting on a barn door that was gifted to us along with a handmade swan sculpture, a wedding gift.  Surrounding the art are our own handmade baluster candlesticks plus an endless collection of vintage lanterns.  The yellow planter is borrowed from my McCoy collection which is dispersed throughout the house.

vintage summer mantel

The mantel itself is not original to the house but the art deco piece seems to fit proportionally.  We popped a mirror inside.  This was actually a happy accident as it is doing a great job of bouncing light into this otherwise dark corner.  Over the winter, we painted the wall that it is on.  The previous blue accent wall had to go.  The neutral backdrop is much more conducive to a rotating cast of collections.

And that chair!  Still our favorite rehab to this day.  I’m so glad we decided to keep it.  It was a full gut job, shopped from the curb and saved from the landfill!

vintage collection summer mantel

I’m having a moment with these vintage arrows as well.  So bright, fun & cheerful.  They coordinate well with the Crate & Barrel recycled rag rug in the room too.

vintage collection arrows

That’s where things stand in my current vintage collections.  Seemingly high between lanterns, McCoy and arrows, among other things like aqua mixing bowls and ship captains, not pictured.  What are you collecting this summer?

DIY laundry detergent

We’ve taken DIY to a new level over here. It was only a matter of time really. DIY rooms, paint jobs and furniture were our gateway. Then there was lighting. And we dabbled in sewing – not necessarily a strong suit, for those keeping track.

Then it happened in the kitchen. I began making things from scratch such as soups, juice and bread. Which got us thinking about all of the processed food and drinks we used to eat and how that directly correlates to our health and just generally feeling good. We’ve cut out as much processed food as possible.

That mindset begged us to ask what was in our detergents and certain cleaning supplies that we come in close contact with.  As a result, our DIY laundry detergent was born…

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

After much research we settled on 3 simple ingredients…

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar fels naptha soap

DIY Laundry Detergent-3992

The fels naptha must be grated.  Don’t let that deter you if you are interested in making your own laundry detergent.  It really only takes about 3 minutes to grate a bar of soap.  If you’ve grated cheese before, you can do this!

DIY Laundry Detergent-3986

After that, all that is left is measuring 1 cup of the other 2 ingredients.

DIY Laundry Detergent-3988

Combine it all in a jar or canister.  You’ll just need a tablespoon of the detergent for each load of laundry; 2 tablespoons for extra dirty loads.    This detergent smells so truly fresh and clean too – not a manufactured scent.  It also doesn’t suds up making it a good candidate for high-efficiency washers that call for low suds detergents.

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe

Did I mention that this detergent is dirt cheap to make?  Get it?  Dirt cheap!  I couldn’t resist.  But it really is inexpensive.  Do you make any of your own cleaning supplies?