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Monday, April 22, 2019

How to Get A Chippy Look with Milk Paint

Create the perfect chippy finish on furniture using milk paint!

I promised the next furniture makeover I shared would be aged and chippy and this dresser makeover is definitely full of chippy goodness.  I usually stick to mid century modern furniture that I keep smooth, clean and free of distressing, so this chippy dresser was a bit different from my normal painted furniture makeovers.

Chippy milk painted dresser

Traditional powder milk paint is different than any other type of paint, so before I get to all the before and after makeover details, I wanted to answer a few common questions about milk paint.

There are pros and cons to both types of paint with each giving different results.  Milk paint comes in a powdered form and needs to be mixed with water.  Chalk paint comes premixed in liquid form.  

Milk paint will adhere to unfinished wood without chipping but will resist on some finishes resulting in a beautiful chippy finish.  A bonding agent can be added to the paint to improve adhesion when a chippy finish is not desired.  Chalk paint can be painted over virtually any surface without prepping and can be sanded and distressed, but will not chip. 

If you are painting over a non-porous surface (laminate, previously painted surface, sealed surface, etc) and a chippy finish is not desired then a bonding agent should be added to your milk paint.  Using a bonding agent will allow the paint to adhere to wood, metal and glass without chipping. 

Getting the perfect chippy finish using milk paint can be a bit tricky.  Unfinished and porous surfaces will absorb milk paint and will not chip.  In this case, wax or vaseline will need to be applied to the edges and areas where chipping is desired.  If you're painting over stained or finished wood then milk paint can be applied directly to the wood and more than likely will begin to chip on its own.  

Milk paint can be very unpredictable, so if you don't get the chippy finish you were looking for then apply a resister (wax or vaseline) before applying another coat of paint.

(Affiliate links have been used)

- Powder Milk Paint (I used Shackteau interiors brand in Clarke Pond Green)
- Antique Wax
Bonding Agent (If you end up with too chipping)
- Simple Green
120 grit sanding pads
- 300 grit sanding block
- Screwdriver
Putty knife or paint scraper
- Paper towels
- Lint-free rags
- Lidded mason jar or another similar jar

Dresser before

I recently found this solid wood dresser on Facebook Marketplace that had the perfect lines for a chippy makeover.   I thought about playing it safe and just painting it black, but then I discovered Shackteau Interiors on Instagram and fell in love with their milk paint colors, in particular, Clarke Pond Green. 

I started by removing the hardware and lightly sanding the dresser.  Milk paint won't chip on raw wood, so I was careful not to sand around the edges and areas where I wanted the paint to chip and flake off.  Once I had the dresser prepped and ready for paint, I mixed up the chalk paint using a 50/50 ratio of powder and water.   
Mixing milk paint
I painted two coats of milk paint over the dresser and immediately saw chipping after the first coat dried.  I didn't chip off the loose paint before applying the second coat.  Instead, I applied the second coat of paint carefully over the first coat of chipping paint. 
Milk painted dresser begining to chip
Once the paint was dry, I used a 3 inch putty knife to gently scrape off any loose and chipping paint.  The end result was a beautiful and natural looking chippy finish. 
Chippy milk painted dresser
After I scraped off all the chipping paint, I brushed away any loose paint then sealed the dresser with clear and dark wax.  You can read more about how I apply clear and dark wax HERE.

How to get the perfect chippy look
I was originally going to replace the hardware, but since this piece is being sold I decided to keep costs down and update the hardware with my favorite Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.  A few light coats and a little distressing made all the difference and now they pop against the gorgeous green chippy paint.

Chippy milk painted dresser

green painted chippy milk painted dresser

How to get the perfect chippy finish with milk paint

Creating a chippy finish with milk paint can be a bit unpredictable, but that's just one of the many reasons why I love using milk paint.  

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Chippy milk painted dresser before and after

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  1. One of my favorite makeovers so far! If I lived closer I would drive right over and snatch it up! :)

  2. I love the color and the chippy finish! One of my favorite projects that you have completed! Thank you for the instructions and photos you provide with your projects!