Milk It for All It’s Worth

I might be the last person in the DIY blogging world to have never tried Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint before…okay, I might be exaggerating but just go with it and pretend like you’re the expert on the stuff (because you’re going to see what a novice I am here in a minute…yeah it’s one of THOSE posts).
While we were building our faux fireplace for the past two weeks, I had been trying to find a solution for storing our ridiculous collection of DVDs since we had originally stored them on the shelves under our TV. I knew I wanted something with doors but not too big. And possibly with a white chippy finish to balance out the more masculine leather chair that would be sitting next to it (the best freaking Goodwill find ever one). I really wanted this one or something like this, but our budget was practically nonexistent. Then I found this baby for $50 on Craigslist, and I was much happier with that price tag.
This thing was nearly brand new, but the black wasn’t what I was envisioning since brown leather would be next to it. (It goes along with my dislike of wearing brown, black, navy, and gray all together in an outfit…I just can’t do it.)
Plus, I was SO excited to try milk paint for the first time, so I got the good stuff…Miss Mustard Seed y’all! (Happy jig)  I chose the color linen in case you’re wondering.
But it had been too long since I’d had a DIY mishap, so of course I completely messed up the top coat when I mixed it with too much water. If you have never used milk paint before, it comes in powder form to be mixed with water. And you can control the consistency. Surprisingly, it sticks really well despite how runny it seems. Mine was pretty bad. The beautiful part is, you really can’t mess this stuff up…it just might take an extra coat or two. Although, I would strongly suggest mixing the powder and water with a hand mixer or small blender to get the lumps out (wash the blender immediately after you mix though).
Marian (aka Miss Mustard Seed herself) has a lot of helpful videos here if you ever need them. (She’s the pro. And I’m…well…learning.)
Here’s what my super watery first coat looked like. I did 1 part milk paint powder with 1.5 parts water, but it was no bueno. 1 to 1 is the way to go for me.


Drippy mess but I was bound to need a few coats anyway since I was painting white over black with no primer whatsoever. (Another milk paint plus! No primer needed.)  For the last two coats, I changed the mixture to 1 part powder, 1 part water. And each coat only took about 30 minutes to dry.
See? This has a happy ending.


Milk paint is really unpredictable and I was hoping to see some natural chipping after all of the painting was finished, but that stuff really clung on there for this piece. So I took matters into my own hands.
I sanded all of the corners and edges down with a sanding block first using medium grit paper. It was still too “new” looking, so I figured out how to really have some fun and grabbed a wire brush to rough it up. (Is it dorky to call this fun? Don’t answer that.)


Boom. Gotta love roughin’ it. I’ve used several distressing techniques before, but I think this one is my favorite. It looks the most convincing for natural wear and tear.
The cabinet now has a home in our living room. And it was perfect for storing our DVDs without having to shove them into drawers.
I was originally inspired by Melaine’s leather chair / white cabinet duo at My Sweet Savannah. I love the balance of the light and dark.
Now, I have to figure out how to style the top of the cabinet and add a little something to that bare wall. I don’t want to go too overboard since the gallery wall already has a lot going on. (And it’s at this point when I really wish I had an actual banister and not a solid wall on the stairs…can’t have everything.)
Still, this is some major progress considering we were looking at this just two months ago:
To get some ideas on how I’m going to tackle the top of the cabinet, I’m loving these other vignette configurations for slanted stairway walls:
Stairs wall table top decor
traditional hall by Historical Concepts - getting the farmhouse look. Colors and fabrics
rough luxe: Powerful Vignettes
What about you guys? Have any of y’all tried milk paint yet? Or have some great ideas for styling a slanted stairway wall? Spill it! I’d love to know!
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  1. Beautiful Lauren! I have yet to try miss mustard seed milk paint myself…been sticking to chalk paint maybe because I am slightly afraid of creating the mixture myself. The brown chair and the white chippy cabinet though is a perfect combo. So fab as always!

    1. Thanks Deb! I was nervous at first too, but it’s really a lot of fun once you get the mixture right. You will love it! I’m working with ASCP for Olivia’s “big girl bed” right now (and I’m going to pretend I didn’t just type that and she’ll stay little forever). Have you used Annie Sloan yet? I might break down and get her wax too. It costs more than others but from what I’ve read, it lasts so long that it actually ends up costing the same as others in the end.

  2. Hey Lauren! The cabinet looks great! Wish I had your Craigslist eyes. I feel like I never find the “cool stuff”. Guess I need to just step back and find the potential. Love your inspirations but the third one speaks to me the most with the incorporation of books. Since you are an English teacher, I somehow see you working in a cozy reading nook.

    1. Girrrrl, you know me all too well. 🙂 I think the trick with Craigslist is to search with specific key terms of exactly what you want and check it once a day. It usually takes me a month or two to find exactly what I want for a decent price. Patience isn’t always easy though.

  3. That looks SOOOO good! I’m learning to conquer chalk paint and milk paint is next maybe for some smaller projects since I don’t like stuff that’s *too* chippy. But I do want to work with it to see which I like better. I saw a similar cabinet that had burlap behind the glass so if you ever wanted to change up the look for practically nothing you could go that or a similar route in the future.

    1. Thanks Anele! I had actually thought about that and talked myself out of it. I saw a cabinet once with chicken wire in front and burlap behind the chicken wire. Gorgeous and brilliant! I might do something with the glass eventually but usually I sit and stare and ponder at something forever before I finally pull the trigger. Definitely keeping your idea in mind. 🙂