If there’s any one thing that I’ve learned is that decor on a budget often means a DIY project. And keeping the house organized on a budget means decor that also services a function. One of my most favorite items are trunks: they hold storage, provide table tops, but often the decently built trunks are not very pretty. And the nicer they are, the more expensive they get.
Want that shabby chic look? Last time I tried Fusion Paint, and this time…Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.
Tip 1: Milk paint is expensive and it’s hard to save. Only mix up the amount you want to use. The ratio is 1:1 – so I mixed up a quarter cup of paint and a quarter cup of water, with bonding agent. They say that the bonding agent should also be equal, but I only put a squeeze or two, about a tablespoon to give it a thick ‘stick’.
Tip 2: It gets drippy, so put down heavy canvas or paint on top of something that you don’t mind getting dirty…really dirty. The good news? The paint goes on top of whatever veneer you are painting. The trunk I painted had an olive green laminate that was ‘shine coated’ to the premium. On pieces like that…go with more bonding agent. I used less for the second coat, and it made. a huge difference. The varnish on the piece I was painting was crackly and almost like a polyurethane.
Tip 3: Don’t bother saving the paint leftover. It gets messy and it chunks up and I tried painting with it the next day…and it was runny, drippy, bubbly, and didn’t work. The good news is that the paint dries fast, so use it all up, and if you have leftover, give it a second or third coat…or paint something else.
Tip 4: Get the right brush, unless you don’t care about brush marks. Using a ‘nonmilk paint brush’? No problem…a light sanding when you are done takes the brush marks out. It’s just a little more work when you’re done.
Tip 5: Do get the right size whisk to mix your paint. Mixing, failure to mix completely, gives you rotten results.
Tip 6: Do take off all the hardware before painting if you can. I was unable to take the handles and pulls off the trunk…bummer. The paint is not like other paint where it is a little thicker and doesn’t run…this paint runs. And if you don’t put enough paint or bonding agent, it runs a lot. This paint was so runny it dripped on the concrete and stained the concrete. I taped the handles as best I could, but you get the point.
Tip 7: For your first project, pick a piece of furniture you have no feelings about. I’m glad I picked the trunk…it’s re-paintable if something crazy happens. While if it gets messed up we’ll all be a little perturbed, there is another piece that I’m partial to that I’m glad I’m getting out my practice strokes. In fact, I’m not sure if milk paint is the way I want to go if I decide to paint my other piece.
Tip 8: Pick as close a color as you can, but understand that whatever color the piece is underneath…will change the color of your piece. I bought a ‘sack linen’ color that when painted over the green, it turned a grey/purple color. NOT my desired look. I painted over a patch where I had sanded down to bare wood, and my desired color was almost bleach white. The piece is starting to look truly shabby chic, but do note that color isn’t a hundred percent accurate no matter what the bag says.
Have fun with your paint! I give it a 6 out of 10. I’ll do it again, but only when I have nothing better to do. As for pieces I truly cherish? I’m still hunting down the right ‘color and paint’ brand.