Getting started with milk paint - Part 2

Milk paint tutorial from My Painted Door (.com)

I love before and after pictures, don't you? Kinda gives you a "I painted that" warm and fuzzy feeling. 

I picked up this little end table at a thrift shop for $10. Sweet! It even had some cute kid's art work painted on the side of it.

This is part 2 of my tutorial. If you missed part 1, you may want to read it first for some painting basics. 

Milk paint tutorial from My Painted Door (.com)

using milk paint on previously painted surfaces

image 1

I thought I would take a picture to show you my workspace. I use a scrap piece of wood on top of my work desk. Some people have a work table, but I have a work desk that is waiting for some milk paint love. I am not a particularly neat painter, so this works well for me. I pick up scrap pieces like this wherever I can score them for free.

This end table was previously painted with a high gloss latex paint, so I gave it a light sanding using a medium/fine grit sanding block to rough up the surface a bit. 

image 2

If there is something that drives me nuts, it is furniture with paint drips on it. This end table was full of them, so I sanded the drip marks off using 100 grit sandpaper. I used a wood shim wrapped with a scrap of sandpaper as I find it works well for small jobs like this. A paint stir stick would also work.

Then I wiped the whole piece with an old rag to remove any paint dust.

image 3

Because the end table was already painted, I used Extra Bond to ensure the milk paint would adhere properly. I mixed up 1/3 cup Sweet Pickins artichoke paint powder with 1/3 cup warm water (for a total of 2/3 cup of mixed paint). I then added an equal amount of Extra Bond (2/3 cup). It is important to mix your paint powder and water first, then add your Extra Bond and mix again. If you try and mix your powder, water and Extra Bond all at once, I find it difficult to get the paint smooth. I only mixed enough paint for the first coat.

image 4

I used a paint brush to put on the first coat. As you can see the first coat is quite ugly and did not cover the white paint very well. But don't panic, the second coat will rock! You can see a small piece of the drawer at the back of the photo where the paint covered it much better because the drawer was blue. It is important to remember it will need a second coat, so don't try to get great coverage with the first coat. Just go with it!

I used a scrap piece of wood with some holes drilled in it to hold the legs while they dried. I often do that so I can paint the entire leg at once. It also works great for painted furniture knobs. The trick is to drill only a wee bit into the wood so that the screw does not go in to deep, thus defeating the whole purpose. Poking lighter things into a scrap piece of styrofoam also works great.

Once the paint was dry, I lightly sanding the entire piece using a medium/fine grit sanding block and then wiped off the paint dust with a rag.

Milk paint tutorial from My Painted Door (.com)

image 5

I mixed up another batch of paint. This time I used 2/3 cup of paint and 2/3 cup of water. There is no need to add Extra Bond to the second coat of paint. 

This photo shows the piece after two coats of paint. Although it appeared somewhat blotchy, I liked it and decided two coats was fine. Could I have applied a third coat? Ya, sure. A dark paint colour over a light colour may need a third coat. This is a personal preference.

images 6, 7 and 8

I sanded the entire piece using a medium/fine grit sanding block and then wiped off any paint dust with a rag. This final sanding in very important, so sand that puppy smooth! As Sausha over as Sweet Pickins says "a good painted and sanded piece will feel like butter". Smooth, smooth, smooth to the touch.

When using Extra Bond, the paint adheres to the surface well and you will not have the "chippy look" often associated to milk paint. I wanted a distressed look to this piece, so I used my handy dandy wood shim wrapped in sandpaper to achieve this look. I find I have more control over the amount of distressing I do with a small piece of sandpaper. If the piece was larger, I would have likely used a larger piece of  sandpaper or an electric sander to distress it.

There is no method to the madness when distressing. Simply sand the paint off in the areas where you think the piece would naturally get worn. I could have not distressed the end table at all or I could have distressed more. Go with whatever look you want to achieve.

The final step was waxing the end table with two coats of Daddy Van's Furniture Polish. This is where the beauty of milk paint shines through. I used Daddy Van's, but I could have used another product to topcoat, such as hemp oil, varnish, etc. The photos below show the completed project. 

Milk paint tutorial from My Painted Door (.com)

the short and sweet of it

End table - previously painted - lightly sanded to add some grit, wiped with a rag to remove dust, first coat of paint with Extra Bond added, lightly sanded, wiped with a rag to remove dust, second coat of paint (no Extra Bond), sanded smooth, distressed with sandpaper, wiped with a rag to remove dust and waxed. 


products I used for painting - available at My Painted Door shop 

2" ChalkPro paint brush

Sweet Pickins milk paint in artichoke

Extra Bond

medium/fine grit sanding block and 100 grit sandpaper

ChalkPro wax brush - medium size

Daddy Van's furniture polish

old rag (for wiping off paint dust)

soft lint-free rag (for wiping down wax)


random stuff about milk paint (important stuff!)

If you will use more than one bag of paint for a large piece you are painting, mix the bags of powder together before you start. I throw the powder in a jar with a lid and shake it well. Colours of milk paint will vary slightly from batch to batch due to minor variations in the natural earth materials. So, don't run out of paint and then open up a new bag of paint to finish your project as the color may be slightly different.

This one is worth repeating - When using Extra Bond always mix your paint powder and water first. Then mix in your Extra Bond. I tried to take a short cut once and mixed the paint powder, water and Extra Bond in all at once and I had a very hard time smoothing out the lumps. 


I was hoping to have time to share more in this tutorial, but I have a "no walls in my store" battle going on right now. I am winning the battle though (or perhaps just outsmarting the battle) and will post some store pictures soon.

But first, I will be finishing up Getting started with milk paint - Part 3. Painting on glass, metal, books and other random surfaces.

Happy Painting!

Posted on February 11, 2014 and filed under milk paint.