Transforming some treasures with Sweet Pickins Milk Paint

I have been really getting into some custom pieces lately, trying to catch up on my commissioned pieces. One of my latest commissioned jobs was a very sweet old vintage chest drawers / dresser.

The piece was a bit worse for wear surface wise, the brown finish was very marked and patchy so I knew it would be the perfect candidate for a Sweet Pickins milk paint transformation. Now the customers who this piece belongs to also had me recently update an old desk in Sweet Pickins milk paint. We decided that it would be best for me to stick with the colour scheme that I used on their desk – Galvanized (a soft cool tone grey) and Flour Sack (a warm white).. (you can read about the desk transformation HERE) as those neutral colours would tie in well with the rest of the house and would also still be suitable if they decided to repaint.

vintage dresser

The first thing I did was give the surface a good sand as it had a shiny oily looking finish that I knew would be super resistant to the milk paint. After I sanded and scuffed the piece all over I wiped it down with some TSP. I decided that I would give the piece a really good spray over with Zinsser Shelac … the shelac seals in bleed through and also adds to the milk paint adhesion over some surfaces, it also gives a great crackle effect which is an added bonus.

zinsser shelac milk paint

While I waited for the shelac to dry I mixed up the milk paint adding a tiny bit of extra bond in as I wanted to have some control over the surface and didn’t want the finish on this piece to be SUPER chippy.

As I always find Sweet Pickins milk paint mixes up so creamy and the coats go on thick and smooth. I gave the piece 3 coats using the white to highlight the drawer fronts. I let the paint dry for about half an hr after the final coat and then distressed it will a sanding sponge and paint scraper. The beauty with milk paint is that when the piece ‘self’ distressed by chipping the effect is more random and natural looking. After distressing I waxed the piece with a hard setting stucco wax and then used L’essentiels dark wax and ageing dust to antique the finish and give the piece dimension. Here is how she came up…

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint Dresser

sweet pickins milk paint dresser

The drawer fronts got some fantastic crackle happening which really added some patina to the piece.

sweet pickins milk paint

milk paint vintage

I had to replace all the handles on this one as there were some missing and they couldn’t be replace. I did have a typical scatter brain moment and didn’t take any pics of the piece with the new handles at home so I quickly snapped a shot of a handle on the way to return the finished piece to its owners who loved the finished product.


milk paint furniture sweet pickins

I love how this piece turned out!!

Adriana 🙂

4 replies »

  1. Love this! I was wondering what you use to coat/seal the tops of your dressers, coffee tables, tables etc. I use annie sloan products but not sure if her wax will hold up on my dresser or even on a dining table.

    • Hi Rachael. Thank you for your comment. I have used Annie Sloan wax on many pieces with great results. I do make sure that I give surfaces that will get a lot of use/wear 3 coats of wax with at least 12-24 hrs in between to allow it to cure. My dining table was waxed with her product and has held up great, I do re-wax it once a year. I don’t scrub it with harsh cleaners but i do wipe it with the dish cloth which has detergent water on it and it has held up fine. Other than that you can seal it with a clear coat such as a polly acrylic etc … there is a wax that I used not too long ago from Canterbury Blue called EZ2WAX and it is a great hard setting wax so it might be worth giving it a try and seeing how it compares. All the best 🙂

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