It’s happening. We’re milk painting builder grade oak kitchen cabinets, my friends. It was only a matter of time! Here’s a glimpse of what we’re working with over at the cottage. Don’t worry, that ancient stove is long gone. In fact, the cabinet to the left is gone too as we made way for a dishwasher. We removed the cabinet fronts and got to work prepping them for milk paint. The doors have a beautiful, simple shape that will benefit immensely with a good cleaning, new paint and hardware. Cooking grease, grime and residue all needed to be thoroughly removed. I prefer to do this with a natural cleanser as to not introduce any harsh chemicals to the surface of the wood which milk paint may resist. I used a scouring pad to lift any grime while also lightly roughing up the current finish. Then sprayed and wiped the surfaces. Vinegar is a fantastic natural cleanser. But who can stand the smell of vinegar for very long? Long enough to scrub 14 cabinets, 3 drawers and a lazy susan anyway. There is a very easy fix for that…oranges! About a year ago my friends introduced me to the simple concept of making citrus vinegar cleanser and I’ve never looked back. I use it all over the house. The oils in citrus peels also have natural cleaning abilities. Simply fill a glass jar with your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and cover completely with white vinegar. Seal the jar and allow the peels to soak for a minimum of a month. You can shake it up from time to time. The longer the peels soak, the stronger the citrus scent will be. Figure out the ratio that you like best. I let this most recent batch soak for about 3 months and it smells heavenly however the yield in cleaning solution was lower as the peels really soaked up the vinegar. When you’re ready, simply funnel or strain the cleanser into a spray bottle and start cleaning. The remaining vinegar soaked peels can be composted. Smile because you just saved a ton of money! Here’s a sneak peek of where the cabinet fronts are with one coat of MMSMP Mora and bonding agent… To be continued.
A few months ago, my sister-in-law and I tackled this large hutch for their home “landing area”. It was the perfect candidate for milk paint. An older, well made piece with slightly porous wood in most areas and a dulling finish left on it in others. We predicted the dulling finish would create a resist and cause chipping. Sorry, I can’t seem to track down a before picture but it was looking slightly dated.
We chose to use “half strength” bonding agent. That’s a term I sort of made up meaning I don’t measure the recommended one part bonding agent to one part paint ratio. I don’t recommend “half strength” bonding agent until you really have a feel for how the paint works on different surfaces because it can be a bit of a wild card in terms of adhesion. Of course, that is the fun of it!
For the look we were going for, it worked out just right. We did little to no prep on the piece other than removing the hardware. We applied 2 coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with some bonding agent as described. We used antiquing wax around the edges, handles and details and waxed the rest with furniture wax. This created a perfect warm patina on the yellow.
We were thrilled with how natural the chipping looked as if this hutch has been gracefully aging in a farmhouse for decades. It chipped a little further after the piece was moved into its permanent place. Once they felt the finish was just right, my brother applied flat polycrylic to those areas to stop any further chipping from occurring. This essentially locked the age in.
For the inside shelves, we applied 2 coats of Linen. We thought the yellow undertones in the neutral would be a nice complement to the Mustard Seed Yellow. We used regular furniture wax on the linen to keep it bright.
When evaluating whether or not to paint a piece of furniture and what color to paint it, I feel you really have to honor the style and era of the piece. I’ve learned this with trial and error of course. But not every piece can handle every color. This hutch is just perfect in a warm chipping yellow. It has a nice farmhouse feel. Yet, it can also complement some contemporary homes and decor as well.
I really love how this one turned out! I’d love to see your latest milk paint project too! Email pictures or tag @circadee on instagram with your finished project.