Vintage Milk Can Table Makeover

Interested in seeing a fun makeover on a vintage milk can that we turned into a front porch table? You’re going to love this fun project!

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This post is sponsored by Dixie Belle Paint. All opinions are my own. Rest assured that I have used these products and would not share them with you if I wasn’t thrilled with the products!

how to use Dixie Belle Silk Mineral paint

For this easy makeover project, I will be using Dixie Belle Silk Mineral Paint. I chose this paint because of its amazing coverage and also because it’s an all-in-one product – primer, paint, and topcoat all in one!

How easy is that??

BTW, I’ll talk more about the side table itself later in this post.

Graphic with text overlay: How to use Dixie Belle Silk Mineral Paint" and image with lady applying first coat of mineral paint to vintage milk can.

prep vintage milk can for paint

Remember back in the day when our parents told us to eat all of our vegetables before we could have dessert?

The same applies here; we have to do the not-so-fun part of cleaning before we can do the fun part of the painting.

But honestly, using Dixie Belle’s White Lightning makes the cleaning part of any project so easy!

We’ll get into that in just a bit.

close up shot of Dixie Belle White Lighning cleaner

old milk can decor

Let’s talk paint colors for a vintage milk can!

The color I chose for this vintage milk can table makeover is called Oyster. It is a light gray that is almost white and that’s just what I was looking for.

Something right about a vintage milk can in white, don’t you think? wink, wink!

Lady holding container of Dixie Belle Silk Mineral paint in the color Oyster.

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Here are the supplies I used for this project. I’ve gathered some links for you to make shopping quick and easy! Plus, you are helping me to continue offering free tutorials like this one each week here on the blog!

list of supplies:

how to clean an old milk can

Cleaning any piece that you will be painting is one of the most important steps and should never be skipped. A clean surface always helps the paint to adhere. Plus I can’t imagine painting over dirt, can you??

I mixed the White Lightning according to the directions -about one tablespoon cleaner to a gallon-ish of hot water. Then I grabbed a micro-fiber cloth and wiped the whole vintage milk can table down. I kept rinsing my cloth and wiping down the milk can.

Next, I rinsed the micro-fiber cloth until the water ran clear and used it along with a bucket of clean water to wipe down the vintage milk can again. That step removes any of the White Lightning that is left on the surface.

Graphic with text overlay: Step One: clean the surface with White Lightning by Dixie Belle" and lady cleaning a table top.

how to protect the floor when painting

Did you notice the big piece of cardboard under the vintage milk can table? Next time you are in Walmart, head over to the packaging department where all of the packing tape, bubble wrap, and such are.

I found this 18″ x 18″ x24″ box that I knew I would use over and over for painting indoors.

The box came apart at the seams with just a little tug where it was glued and wa-la, I had a really large piece of cardboard to protect the floor I would be painting on!

When I am done with the project, I fold up the box flat and stick it behind my wood filing cabinet in my craft room – out of sight and ready for the next piece of furniture!

what kind of paint do you use on old milk cans?

Whoa, I seriously got off track! Back to the painting.

Dixie Belle Silk Mineral paint can go on any surface, yes ANY! Glass, slate, wood, and metal! This vintage milk can is made of metal so I knew this paint would work perfectly!

It only took two coats of Dixie Belle Silk paint to cover the dark paint that had been painted years ago.

Graphic with text overlay "Step Two: paint two coats of Dixie Belle Silk paint" with image of lady painting a vintage milk can.

how to whitewash wood with paint

Now, let’s deal with that wood top.

But first, let me tell you about the table itself. Hubby came across this vintage milk can years ago and he knew I would love it!

Some girls get roses, I get rusted old milk cans! Be still my vintage and old junk lovin’-heart!

And if it wasn’t enough to bring home the milk can, he also made it into a table for our front porch!

Even though he built the top himself from reclaimed pine lumber, you could make this table using a store-bought round board that you can get at Home Depot.

In fact, I will include a link for you in case you have a vintage milk can laying around that wants to be a useful table for your home! You can purchase by clicking the link below:

1 in. x 2 ft. x 2 ft. Pine Edge Glued Panel Round Board

easy method for whitewashing wood

The whitewash technique is so easy. You can see how easy in the video later in this post so I won’t go into much detail here.

Basically, apply the paint and wipe it off with a damp cloth. Rinse the cloth and do it again.

Seriously, it’s that easy!

Graphic with text overlay " Step Three: do a paint wash on the natural wood top" with lady showing how to do the paint wash technque.

how to distress an old milk can

Omgoodness, I love this next step so much!

When the paint has dried completely, I used a small flat-edged chef’s knife to scrape off bits of the paint. I do this randomly and quickly all over the milk can.

This technique creates the most authentic farmhouse chippy finish you have ever seen!

And it relieves a little stress at the same time 🙂 Just sayin’!

Graphic with text overlay: Step Four: use a metal edge to create chippy finish" with lady demonstrating the technique.

how to seal wood

The last step is to seal the top. You might be thinking, “Cindy, you said the paint had a built-in sealer so why are you sealing it???”

That is true. Dixie Belle Silk Mineral paint does have a sealer. But as you will see in the video, The whitewashing technique removes most of the paint. This also means the technique removes most of the sealer.

Because of that, I applied three coats of Dixie Belle Top Coat in Flat allowing the proper dry time between coats. In my humble opinion, flat topcoats look farmhousy because it just shows off the natural wood without the shine some top coats have.

Dixie Belle Top Coats also come in Flat, Satin, and Gloss. You choose the one you like best!

Graphic with text overlay: "Step Five: seal top with Dixie Belle Top Coat" with lady applying top coat to wood table top.

what can you do with vintage milk cans

The last step is to sit back and enjoy this vintage milk can table for years to come! Or until the urge to paint it again comes 🙂 I’ll be here to help you pick a color!

Ours is on our front porch but you could also use this sweet little table indoors. It could be a nightstand in a boys room – change out the color to coordinate with the room.

Here is another idea: you could put this sweet side table in a living space decorated in the rustic farmhouse style!

No matter where you put a vintage milk can table, I’m sure you will love it!

Graphic with text overlay: Step Six: enjoy your outdoor table makeover!" with image showing finished vintage milk can table makeover

YouTube video

Pinterest graphic with text overlay: "milk can table upcycle" and lady applying second coat of Dixie Belle Silk mineral paint.

Pin the image below (or any image in this post!) to your home decor and furniture boards! Just click the pin button at the top left corner!

Pinterest graphic with text overlay: milk can table makeover" with image of lady painting an old milk can with Silk Mineral paint.

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  1. Another fantastic makeover and upcycle. Love the color too!

    Always great tutorials and information as with all your projects.


    We are all behind, it’s our busiest time of year

    1. That’s so sweet of you to say! Thanks so much😊

  2. I love this little table. I have not tried this paint yet but you make it look so easy to use I think I will try it.

    1. You will love this paint so much! It is amazing 😊

    1. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. So creative! Growing up, my grandmother had an old milk can in the garage to store garden tools. This post made me remember this 🙂

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Marie!

  4. In love with this table! You are always doing the most fun projects.

    1. Thanks Melba! We love fun and easy projects like this!

  5. Beautiful and clear and concise. Love this. I have an old one on my front porch and a round wood from Home Depot upstairs….thanks for the inspiration. Isn’t Oyster a beautiful color?

    1. Oyster is such an amazing color!! Thanks for stopping by Regina!

  6. This is such a fun project. Dixie Belle paint really makes the process easy. Thank you for the tutorial!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Anna! I appreciate your support 😊

  7. Your table looks great! When my mom met my dad he was super muscular from carrying milk cans on the family dairy farm.

    1. Omgoodness, I can’t imagine how heavy it would be filled with milk! He must have been strong!

  8. I saw this one on your IG feed and loved the project. Using an old milk can for a table makes me kick myself for getting rid of mine years ago. How lovely would it have been to do something on this big front porch of mine. You do such beautiful work my dear friend.

    1. You are the sweetest Tammy!! I have another milk can in my stash for another table in the future 😊

  9. Cathy Godfrey says:

    I bought a 5 gallon old milk jug today – love it! However, I CANNOT for the life of me get the lid off. Any suggestions.

    1. Yay for finding the milk can!! As for the lid – it might be a permanent issue. you can try to spray a lubricant like WD40 into the area where the lid sits inside the milk can. Sorry, I can’t help more than that! Hope you have fun making it over!