Saturday, October 5, 2013

Milk Paint Project, Part 1

I have never owned a high chair. I always fed my babies with booster seats that you strap onto your dining chair. I didn't really like using boosters, but I like these monstrosities even less:

I think they are big, bulky and ugly. It is like keeping a hippo in your kitchen for a year. A hippo that you have to clean out its cracks. 
But alas, my booster seat had finally been used to exhaustion. I decided it was time bite the bullet (after four kids) and finally get a high chair to pollute my kitchen scenery.  So I got onto Craigs List.  And then a miracle happened. I found this:

(Can you hear angels singing?) 

This was no high chair hippo! This was exquisite vintage loveliness! I was so excited. This was something I would have in my kitchen even if I didn't have a baby to put in it. (Granted it is not as safe or comfy as the other high chair, but we can do things to compensate for that later.)

Now for some paint. If my baby is going to be eating off of this I need to find paint that will not give him brain damage.

A while back I read about milk paint in a magazine. It intrigued me but I never had a reason to try it, until now.

Milk paint is what people used before people had Home Depot. It really is made from milk, and has no harmful chemicals or fumes. If you want you can even make it yourself by using Martha Stewart's recipe. It was commonly used in colonial times, and the shades of milk paint usually take on those classic colonial-era hues.

I found this great website called  Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint. If you are a religious person who likes furniture you should NOT go to her website because it will cause you to covet. The photos are amazing and the furniture is even amazing-er. The colors she has created are gorgeous and rich and mmmm! Plus, they have really cool names like Tricycle. I chose the color Kitchen Scale.

The paint comes in powder form and all you do is add water and mix. Milk paint is not as thick as regular paint and it feels like you are using a wash more than a paint.

Isn't that a pretty color?

One thing that makes milk paint attractive, especially to people who like vintage furniture, is that after it is dried it starts to peel off in random places, giving it a weathered, distressed look. The amount of peeling depends on the finish of the furniture. If the wood has not been painted or if the piece has been sanded down enough to be porous, the milk paint will soak in and bind and there won't be a lot of peeling, if any. But if you are painting something that has a very shiny finish already then the paint will not bind as well and so you can get the cracking and peeling that a lot of people desire in a vintage piece. 

I didn't want this to happen too much, since my baby would be eating off the tray and I am not excited about mixing paint chips with his food so I sanded the chair, exerting most of my effort on the places the baby would touch. 

You can see that there are streaks of blue and green in the paint. This might be due to my inability to mix paint or it might just be the milk paint look, but I really like it. 

There were a lot of little bubbles and bumps when I spread on the paint, but those were easily sanded off later.

The paint has no fumes, but it does have a very strange odor. It doesn't smell like milk (although later, when you sand it, the dust from sanding smells like powdered milk). The smell reminded me of when I would visit old barns with my dad to find cool junk. That is what this smells like.

That is all I am going to show you today. I am going to let it dry overnight and I'll show you tomorrow what it looks like. I am crossing my fingers that there won't be too much peeling, or that the peeling will  be minimal. 

Stay tuned!


  1. Do people leave comments on blogs anymore? Well, I like to be different, so I will. I love it! What a great idea...I probably shouldn't go to that website. Can't wait for the reveal! And it goes with your current kitchen colors :)

  2. Such a great find and a lovely color! It looks amazing!