Finishing Topcoats

I was asked a question today on Facebook about the finishing topcoats I use when reinventing and restoring furniture and home decor pieces. Today, I want to share with you the products I use on our projects! Let’s jump right in!

My Fave Painting Products

Let me start off by mentioning the paint products that are my favorites. Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint is definitely one of my favorite milk paints to use. I was drawn in by the colors that this line carries. The colors have a vintage, old-world feel to them. Colors like Aviary, a smoky blue, and Tricycle, a deep red just to name a few.

My other favorite paint is General Finishes Milk Paint. It is an acrylic paint that resembles old-fashioned milk paint. It can be used for interior and exterior projects and does not need a topcoat. Although, sometimes I use one :). It is also water-based so cleaning is super easy!

MMS Hemp Oil

This antique small school desk was painted in Miss Mustard Seed Tricycle Milk Paint. You can read the full post here. To continue the authentic age and patina of the piece, I used MMS Hemp Oil to seal the milk paint. Knowing that this desk would probably be used for decorative purposes in someone’s home and not as an actual desk, I wasn’t concerned about wear and tear on the piece.

paint brush and hemp oil in jar

Hemp oil is applied with a brush and the excess is wiped off with a lint-free cloth like a microfiber cloth. It cures to a matte luster that helps to maintain the authentic look of the piece.

**Hemp Oil does not work with General Finishes Milk Paint. It is made to soak into the wood and since GF Milk Paint is an acrylic-based paint, doesn’t allow for that to happen.

Antique School Desk Transformed
Antique School Desk Transformed

GF High Performance

General Finishes Milk Paint is an acrylic paint that mimics the look of traditional milk paint but has the durability of a modern finish. It doesn’t need to have a topcoat but sometimes I choose to top coat it anyway. As I said, it really depends on the piece and the use it will get.

Mid Century Modern Bassett China Cabinet

The final use of a piece determines which finish I choose. This mid-century china cabinet is bound to get some use and possible wear and tear as dishes are placed on and off the shelves. I decided to use General Finishes High Performance in Flat over the GF Milk Paint I used to paint the piece.

Mid Century Modern Bassett China Cabinet

The product looks milky white but dries clear. The Flat finish creates the look of a hand-rubbed finish and provides strong durability.

Mid Century Modern Bassett China Cabinet

I also love the Flat Out Flat that General Finishes offers. It dries to a super flat finish! I used it for added protection on this coat rack we reinvented from antique built-in mirror we found at a farm sale. It has held up very nicely and the piece looks like it has been around for years with its time-worn look.

General Finishes also carries a clear coat for outdoors called Exterior 450. We love using this for our items that will be in the great outdoors!

repurposed vintage craftsman mirror coat rack
repurposed vintage craftsman mirror coat rack

Other Topcoats

While I am on the subject of topcoats, I thought I should give spray topcoats a mention. I like to use Rustoleum 2X Clear in a Matte or Satin on items like this typewriter stand. It has lots of little spaces that would be difficult to reach with a paintbrush. The spray can get into all the nooks and crannies.

The metal stand is painted in a custom mix of MMS Milk Paint using Farmhouse White and Schloss.

This clear coat top coat also works on metal pieces like a repurposed seed spreader.

Vintage Typewriter Table Transformation

For projects like book-page drawer interiors, I often use Minwax Polycrylic. It is more economical than the General Finishes brand and my local Ace Hardware store carries it.

General Finishes High Performance and Minwax Polycrylic are both water-based so clean-up is easy. That’s a big plus for me!

Mod Podge Book Pages

Furniture Wax

In the past, I have used wax to finish my pieces. Even though these are not the trendy waxes in today’s world of furniture painting and refinishing, Minwax Paste Finishing Wax is a product that my hubby used on the wood gymnasium floor of the school our children went to. **Sidenote- to help with tuition costs, he cleaned the gym floor weekly and waxed that floor twice a year. He used this product because it can withstand the torture that kids can put on a gym floor!

Briwax offers many colors and is a wax I have used to age a piece. I have mixed the two to soften the dark, rich color of the Briwax. If you choose to age a piece with dark wax, be sure to apply a coat of the natural colored wax first!!

I have steered away from waxes for a couple of reasons, arthritis in my hands being the main one. The wax is applied with a stiff brush and then buffed with a cloth or #0000 steel wool. I realize steel wool is not the traditional method for buffing, but it is much quicker and creates a beautiful feel and look to the piece. The downside is that I am using my hands more than my arthritis likes 🙂

I have even used it on metal items like this copper teapot. It really is a beautiful finish.

BTW, I have considered using Miss Mustard Seed wax products and I will be sure to let you know what I think of it!

Check out the patent date on that teapot! May 17, 1898!!

Well, that’s a wrap!

I hope you found this information helpful! And I want to say a special thanks to my Facebook follower who asked about what topcoats I use! She inspired this post!

If you have any questions or any topics you would like me to write about, feel free to ask! You can find me on Instagram and Facebook. And of course, here on the blog 🙂

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