How to Apply Milk Paint

In a few simple steps, I will show you how easy it is to apply milk paint! This little washstand is getting ready to have a makeover! Let’s go!

Pinterest graphic showing before and after of furniture makeover

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***Currently, Miss Mustard Seed Milk paint can only be purchased through online and local retailers. Here are several shops I have purchased this paint from.

Simply Chic FurnitureAnnie has great customer service and is so friendly! She is on the west coast.

Lost and Found Decor Melanie has all the knowledge you will need for selecting colors of milk paint. She is in the middle of the country.

Eight Hundred Furniture Jenn has all the supplies you will need to use milk paint! She is on the east coast.

If you purchase from any of these small businesses, please tell them that Cindy from Reinvented Delaware sent you!

milk paint furniture ideas

It’s no secret that I love washstands. They are by far my favorite piece of furniture!

Small in size, they can fit anywhere from a small apartment bedroom to a large foyer in a full-size home. Let’s see how this one is transformed by applying milk paint.

antique washstand before furniture makeover with milk paint

how to prep for milk paint

After a light sanding and then a thorough cleaning, I chose to paint this adorable washstand in Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint ‘French Enamel.’

It is a lovely shade of blue that has a vintage feel to the milk paint color.

lady showing how to apply milk paint on a washstand

how long between coats of milk paint?

I had to apply two coats of milk paint to cover this washstand perfectly. Depending on the weather temps and humidity in the air, the milk paint can dry in as quickly as just a few minutes and up to an hour. The appearance of the paint will be noticeably dry. On a hot day, you can actually watch it dry!

wooden top for furniture

You might have noticed the wood top. Often, these washstands come with a marble top. See the first image for a quick look.

The marble tops often have a marble backsplash, but this one was missing the backsplash. That left a gap on the back edge of the marble top.

Hubby built a farmhouse-style top using reclaimed, industrial oak pallet boards. You’ll see the hand-built top later in the post.

how many coats of milk paint

The washstand needed two coats of milk paint to cover the old finish. Depending on the milk paint color you choose, you may need up to 3-4 coats. Lighter colors like shades of white need more coats than darker colors.

washstand after milk paint has been applied in a French Enamel Blue

pro tip: clean up the edges with sandpaper!

professional look

After the paint dried completely, I used a small piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the paint on the edges of the doors and drawers. The paintbrush almost always falls over the edge while applying milk paint (or any paint for that matter!) and I like to clean this up. This step is super easy with milk paint.

I also used a 3M sanding sponge over the whole piece. This step lightly distressed this transformed washstand beautifully while preparing it for the topcoat.

lady showing how to clean paint from edges of frame on washstand

how to seal milk paint

Miss Mustard Seed Wax was my choice for the topcoat. I wanted to maintain an old-world feel to this piece. Applying the wax is so easy! Wax on, wax off! This video will help you to see how easy it is to use!

YouTube video

how to apply furniture wax

Applying furniture wax is so easy. Use a stiff wax brush and work small amounts of the wax into the paint surface. Then go back over the area with a lint-free shop towel to lightly buff the surface. Applying a thin coat of wax makes the buffing go easily.

Look how the wax deepens and enriches the French Enamel color! The wax soaks into the dry milk paint giving it a slight sheen. It will take a full 30 days for the wax to cure but the piece can be used with care right away.

lady sealing milk paint finish on a washstand painted in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in French Enamel Blue

how to seal milk paint, part two

Hemp Oil hydrated the back of this transformed washstand beautifully. Hemp oil can also be used to seal the milk paint and I often use that method. It soaks into the dry milk paint quickly, especially if the piece is old and the wood is dried out from years of use.

I love the backs of antique furniture. Usually, the backs are made of individual boards, not the particleboard that is used in today’s furniture!

Look at the difference the hemp oil makes in the natural wood finish!

back of washstand showing difference between using hemp oil on old wood and without

how to mod podge furniture drawers

Pages from an old hymnal line the drawer. This is another easy way to transform vintage furniture. The pages are a nice surprise when the drawer is opened and they cover stains and markings that you might not want to see! And it is so easy to do! Here, I’ll show you. Just click the link below!

Book Page Interior Drawers

washstand drawer sitting on floor with sheet music on top ready to be applied with mod podge

milk paint on a washstand

Isn’t she the cutest little washstand?? Funny how we can think of furniture as cute …..

side view of staged washstand with vintage items sitting on top, wood rocker and wall decor
front view of staged washstand with vintage items on top, rocker sitting beside and wall decor

…..but this one definitely is, don’t you think??

finished and staged washstand with vintage books, lamp and plant on top. Washstand finished in Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in French Enamel Blue

no backsplash? no problem

Remember I mentioned the marble top? We chose not to use it because it was missing the backsplash. Without that section, there was a 1/2″ gap along the back edge.

Hubby built a top for the washstand using reclaimed oak boards. He has a special technique for doing this but it could also be done with store-bought lumber cut to the size of the washstand marble top.

close up of wood top on washstand that was madeove by applying milk paint

The wood was filled with wormholes like this. Just more character if you ask me!

close up detail shot of wood top showing worm holes in reclaimed lumber wood top

milk paint colors

What do you think of this milk paint color? Blue is one of my favorite colors. It is so calming!

Milk paint comes in many different colors from blues to whites, to greens to reds….you name it and you will find a milk paint color you will love!

storage solutions

The inside of the washstand has a shelf which is nice for storage. I used Miss Mustard Seed Hemp Oil on the inside as well as the back of the piece.

staged washstand after furniture makeover with cabinet doors open showing storage

antique hardware

Check out the original hardware! A bit of cleaning and one coat of Rub-n-Buff was all it needed!

side view of wash stand that had milk paint applied in a French Enamel Blue Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint
detail shot of closure and antique hardware on door of washstand that was made over with milk paint applied

furniture repairs

The closure was missing from this cute little washstand. That’s no problem here! Hubby also made a little doorstop with a scrap of oak. It holds the doors shut and adds a bit more cuteness to the washstand.

close up view of washstand after makeover showing how to apply milk paint

close up shot of antique tear drop drawer pull

how to decorate with antiques

I mentioned earlier that washstands are my favorite piece of furniture. They are small but are so versatile in any home.

Here are some ideas for using a piece like this in your home:

  • nightstand
  • entryway catch-all
  • bathroom storage cabinet
  • at the end of a hallway

Where would you use such an adorable piece of furniture? Let me know in the comments!

finished and staged washstand with vintage books, lamp and plant on top. Washstand finished in Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in French Enamel Blue

how to apply milk paint

Let me review the steps I took to apply milk paint to this adorable antique washstand:

  • prep the piece before painting by lightly sanding and cleaning
  • apply two coats (minimum) of milk paint allowing to dry between coats
  • use 220 grit sandpaper to clean edges
  • use sanding block in fine to go over whole piece: wipe away dust with clean lint free cloth
  • seal furniture with furniture wax

furniture before and after

Just for fun, here is a before and after. Isn’t it fun to see how far this transformed washstand came??

Tell me: how and where would you use this washstand in your home? Let’s share some ideas in the comments!

before and after side by side shot of washstand makeover

thanks for stopping by!

I hope you enjoyed this easy transformation! And if you are wondering about the gorgeous rocking chair, that post is coming soon!

We love taking the old and making it new around here at Reinvented Delaware!

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***Did you notice the different shades of blue in this post? That’s the power of sunlight changing as I photographed this piece for this post!!

pinterest graphic showing before and after washstand makeover with milk paint
Pinterest graphic showing before and after of furniture makeover

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  1. Your washstand came out beautifully! As a fellow Delawarean, I love subscribing to your blog and am so glad I found it!
    Im curious about the Miss Mustard Seed milk paint. Yours didn’t chip at all. Isn’t that the purpose of milk paint? What do you do if you want it to chip?

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks for subscribing Joan! MMS milk paint does chip randomly – which is why it looks so authentic. I used MMS Bonding Agent to control the chipping on this piece. It’s really a personally preference with each piece!?

  2. Cindy, lovely as usual! I was visiting your stall in Wilderlove recently (in Greenwood, DE) and encourage all your readers to stop in and see you (on the second floor)!

    So, how about that marble top? Can you repurpose it?

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      So glad you found us in Wilderlove! We love that store and it is so fun to meet people who visit our spot! Thanks for spreading the word! As for the marble top, I think hubby is using it as a large knife sharpening stone?

  3. Hi, Cindy! I have been following you for several months, first on Instagram and now here. I love your IG stories! (Isn’t it weird that I feel like I know you?)

    I also love seeing how you bring new life to old treasures! I live in Maryland and have actually been to Wilderlove once, but it was before I knew to look for Reinvented Delaware. I’m sure I wondered through your space because my friend and I went through every nook and cranny. The next time I come, I’ll know where to find you! 🙂

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Cheryl, thanks so much for the kind words! Your encouragement makes my day? Hopefully, you will be able to visit wilderlove again! ?

  4. Cindy, I really love the way you transformed this washstand! That color is absolutely stunning. I always learn something new with your tutorials. This would’ve been one of my picks if Julie hadn’t gotten to you first last week! 😉 Ha!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Awe thanks my friend! Washstands ate def my favorite pieces to transform! So glad you are learning new things here!