Author Archives: Jennifer Baker

MMSMP Featured Artisan – Farmhouse Gear

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint can be used to achieve a variety of different looks.  Mix it with Bonding Agent to get a full coverage non-chippy look.  Apply any of our tinted waxes to add a limed effect or depth and age.  Or, layer colors on top of one another and let the natural consistency create an authentically gorgeous primitive finish.  You know, something like this:

Or this!

We could seriously stare at those layers all day!  These lovely creations have been painted by our newest MMSMP Featured Artisan, Brian Downey of Farmhouse Gear.

Brian was born and raised in Southampton (aka “The Hamptons”), New York.  In the summer of 1985, he started doing construction work during his summer break from college. From that first day, Brian fell in love woodworking and the freedom that it provided.  Working in the Hamptons afforded him the opportunity to work in some of the finest homes in the country.  It was there that he fell in love with the simple elegance of an old English pine farm table, which became the inspiration of a lot of his work today.

Soon, Brian was making furniture just for fun as well as for friends and family.  As time went on, he was looking for a change from the rigors of construction and embarked on a complete change to financial services.  With his wife, Karin and their two children, Lauren and Evan, Brian made the move to beautiful West Chester, Pennsylvania in Chester County.  It was there, immersed in the rich history of Chester County, that he realized his heart was not in financial services, but rather in woodworking.

Brian builds furniture that you would typically find in an old farmhouse out of reclaimed lumber from Pennsylvania barns.  The state is immersed in a rich history dating back to the late 1600’s with William Penn. Take a ride in just about any direction in Pennsylvania and you’ll see the historic barns and stone houses that make up so much of the landscape here. While Brian doesn’t dismantle them personally, there are several local companies that do, and they are his primary sources for the reclaimed lumber he uses to build his farmhouse furniture. The goal at Farmhouse Gear is not to make new furniture using old wood, but rather to make pieces of furniture that appear to have been made hundreds of years ago, and have simply been brought back to life.

Brian’s most favorite wood to work with has always been reclaimed pine. Depending on the project at hand, he likes to use reclaimed attic flooring, granary boards, or barn flooring. Reclaimed pine, in all its forms, is a wood that lends itself to the primitive style.

The name “Farmhouse Gear” is a nod to the essential equipment or “gear” that you would find on a typical farmhouse property.  These are the pieces that Brian loves to recreate!  Brian’s kitchen and dining room tables are gorgeous, but his favorite pieces to make are those with drawers and doors (such as cupboards, cabinets, servers, etc.).  These pieces give Brian the chance to incorporate authentic, vintage hardware wherever he can.  Brian is a pretty simple guy, and he has always felt comfortable and at home with primitive style furniture. For him, it’s always been about comfort. He never felt at home around fancy, high-gloss, ornate furniture. The worn in, simple nature of primitives, has always been what’s drawn him in, and this is the style that he continues to create and sell in his space at Pheasant Run Antiques.

Brian paints most of his furniture with Milk Paint.  He was first introduced to Milk Paint in the 90’s, when he saw it in an antique store in Bridgehampton, NY. The store specialized in painted furniture using reclaimed pine. The colors were historical and muted.  Later, Brian discovered Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint on social media, and immediately fell in love with our rich and vibrant colors colors.

Brian’s favorite MMSMP colors to use are Kitchen Scale, Flow Blue, Luckett’s Green and Linen.  He did admit that each new color he tries seems to quickly become a favorite!  (We know this is a typical experience with most of our MMSMP painters!)  Brian’s signature style is layer upon layer of our Milk Paint, creating an aged look.

He typically does two layers of paint, with the first usually being Linen.

The second coat of paint is any of the other primary colors.  Occasionally Brian will add a third.

Brian’s most recent coffee table was layered with Linen, then Artissimo, followed by Luckett’s Green. It barely lasted a day before it was scooped up by an eager buyer!

Brian said that he honestly loves everything about MMSMP including the simple ingredients, the vibrant colors and the ease of use. What he loves most is MMSMP’s versatility.  It allows you to create an authentic chippy look or a smooth elegant look.  You can even thin it out and use it as a stain!  It does whatever you want it to do and you can’t mess it up!   (Those are Brian’s exact words!)  He also shared that the support that our website provides is second to none.  From our FAQ’s to the videos, tips and tutorials, all the resources a milk painter needs are right there!  (Honestly, we didn’t prompt him at all!)

We always ask our MMSMP Featured Artisans if they have any advice to offer someone who is brand new to our paint line or who may be too intimidated to try it out.  Here is what he shared with us:

“One of the most important things for a beginner to know that you can’t mess it up, even if you tried! It’s a very forgiving paint. I would encourage them to begin with something small, maybe a shelf or small side table. I would also say that preparation is the key. Make sure that if a piece you’re considering painting already has a finish, that it is free of any grease, oil or dirt, and especially wax. No paint will adhere to a waxed surface. Once that is done, lightly sand the piece to provide better adhesion. Of course, painting on raw wood, avoids all that.”

See?  We’re not making this stuff up!  Prep work really is THAT important, and you’re hearing it directly from a super-talented furniture maker who has woodworking in his blood!  (Brian’s great grandfather was a ship carpenter from Denmark and his two brothers were in residential construction.)

(This is a photo of Brian’s Great Grandpa posing for a picture while building his childhood house.)

You can check out more of Brian’s work on his website and follow along with Farmhouse Gear on Facebook and Instagram.  To see his creations in person, visit Pheasant Run Antiques in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania.

Do you know any talented artisans who are using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in creative and unique ways?  We want to know about them!  Contact us and perhaps they’ll become the next MMSMP Featured Artisan!

MMSMP Finishes – Hemp Oil & Tough Coat

Today, we’re continuing our tour of the fabulous finishes in our MMSMP collection.  We’ve already covered the wax options, and now it’s time to learn about the liquid finishes.  One is an oil and the other is water based.  Both are incredibly versatile and must-have’s in your MMSMP stash.

HEMP OIL

Hemp Oil is our deepest penetrating and most absorbable finish in the MMSMP line.  It deepens the color of Milk Paint the most of any of the other finishes and it  created by cold pressing hemp seeds and collecting the oil.  The process is very similar to olive oil, but not quite because you use Hemp Oil for finishing furniture and not baking cakes.  Plus, Hemp Oil will not go rancid once it is applied, which is what would happen if you used Olive Oil or Canola Oil on your pieces.  So don’t go to your kitchen cupboard for a substitute!

The hemp seeds that are used to make Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil are grown and pressed in Ontario, Canada without the use of pesticides.  It’s solvent-free and food safe, so it’s ideal to use on surfaces that will come in contact with food.

Photo via Eight Hundred Furniture

As a note, this is a food safe product, but it’s not a food grade product.  Hemp Oil is used for food and health purposes, but we do not recommend our product for that, since it is processed to be a finish, not to maximize flavor and health benefits.   If you would like to use Hemp Oil for cooking or medicinal purpose, purchase it from a grocer.  If you want to use Hemp Oil as a finish, you can buy that from one of our fabulous retailers!

Depending on the pressing that is bottled, Hemp Oil may take on different colors ranging from dark green to light yellow.

One isn’t better than the other and the color difference doesn’t impact the performance of the finish.  They are simply different crops and/or different presses.  Neither of them will yellow (or green) your finishes – even the whites!  They both perform the same when it comes to bringing out the rich color of natural wood or hydrating antiques that have dried out.  Both are applied in the same manner, dry the same and cure the same.  The only difference is literally the color!

Hemp Oil is incredibly versatile and has tons of practical applications.  It can be used as a finish over Milk Paint as a topcoat that seals your project and gives you the deepest and richest color of all our finishes.

It looks fabulous when applied over our darkest colors like Artissimo, Typewriter, Curio, Boxwood and Flow Blue!

You can also apply Hemp Oil on raw wood or antique pieces that are made of wood that have a dried out finish.  Miss Mustard Seed applied Hemp Oil to the dresser below, and the difference is like night and day!

Here’s another example on an old tool box.

Photo via Eight Hundred Furniture

Hemp Oil also works wonders on metal too!  Use it on cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, buckets, wagons and sewing table bases.  Miss Mustard Seed used it on her goat bell she hung over her rocking horse.  It hydrated the metal bell and the leather strap!

It even works on leather shoes too!

Photo via Breida with a b.

You can apply Hemp Oil with a bristle brush or a soft cloth.  It’s as easy as brushing it on and wiping the excess off!  Our favorite method of applying it is to pour a small amount into a cup and brushing it on.

If we have the time, we let it sit overnight to soak in as deeply as possible.  Use a lint-free cloth to rub it gently until the excess is wiped away.  If you want additional sheen and protection, add 2-4 coats.  You can only apply as much as the surface can absorb though, so there is a limit to how much product can be applied.  There should not be oil simply laying on top, so make sure you wipe away all of the excess.  Otherwise, your surface will feel sticky and tacky.

Just like the rest of our finishes, Hemp Oil takes 20 – 30 days to fully cure.  Now during this cure window, remember that this finish is an oil, so we recommend caution when placing linens and papers on top of surfaces that are curing.  Excess oil may leach out from the surface and be absorbed into your fabric or paper.

To maintain a piece of furniture that has been treated with Hemp Oil, simply apply a light coat every other year as needed.  To remove scratches, lightly sand the blemish and then reapply the oil.  This product is not suitable to use outdoors or in moisture prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Watch this video to see how to apply Hemp Oil and get some tips on how to use it in when finish sanding to get a buttery soft finish on Milk Painted pieces!

TOUGH COAT

Tough Coat is the second liquid finish in our collection.  While Hemp Oil is an oil finish that is designed to soak into the surface and cure, Tough Coat is a water-based acrylic polymer resin that is formulated to lay on the surface and dry hard.

It comes in one size (500 ml) and once you start using it, you’ll wish it came in gallons!  Tough Coat is our favorite finish to use on pieces that have a chippy finish.  Whether that chippiness comes from original paint or a MMS Milk Paint finish, Tough Coat is the perfect finish to keep chippy paint in place for good!

Here’s an example of a project where Tough Coat was used to keep original chipping paint in place.  Jenn of Eight Hundred Furniture found a killer antique mantle with lovely chippy paint.  To seal it all up, she applied Tough Coat.  Jenn poured it into a small dish and carefully brushed it on, taking care not to overwork the product.

Tough Coat may darken the look of dry old wood, but see how it created more of a contrast?

Here’s all of that original crusty goodness that was sealed to perfection.

Tough Coat is low odor and is safe to use indoors.  It’s UV tested and will not yellow over time, even when applied over white paint.  If any yellowing does occur, it’s not Tough Coat that is causing it.  There’s something under the surface that is being pulled out.

Tough Coat is ideal to use on high use pieces that will receive a lot of traffic like shelves, headboards and table tops.  Miss Mustard Seed used Tough Coat to seal this Eulalie’s Sky hutch.

Tough Coat dries to the touch quickly and like all of the other finishes, it needs 20-30 days to fully cure.  It should not be used in addition to any of our other finishes, but rather it’s to be used instead of our other finishes.  It should not be combined with waxes or Hemp Oil.  Tough Coat is a stand-alone finish that is intended for interior use only and is not food safe.

The best method of application is with a bristle brush or a foam applicator pad on flat surfaces.  Watch this video to learn how to apply Tough Coat.

Tough Coat can be likened to a clear coat of nail polish.  It is meant to be applied over top of a surface and should not be over worked.  It is designed to lay down and dry hard on the surface.

It has a lovely matte sheen, so you don’t get a shiny finish.  When you open a brand new bottle of Tough Coat or one that has been sitting on the shelf for a long time, gently swirl it in the bottle to combine all of the ingredients.  Shaking will result in bubbles, and those will dry on your finish, leaving a bumpy texture.

Whichever finish you choose to use in our collection, each one will provide you with a beautiful and durable surface that beautifully compliments the old world feel of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  Remember to give the finishes 20-30 full days to set up and cure so they can be at their most durable for you.  Be gentle with your pieces during this cure window and take care to protect them from heat, water and scratchy/heavy objects.

If you have any other questions about our finishes, you can contact us via our website or comment below.

MMSMP Finishes – Waxes

Once you are finished painting a project with MMS Milk Paint, you need to protect it with a topcoat.  We have several options to choose from, and we’d love to take you on a tour of each product!  So buckle up and get ready to learn all about the fabulous finishes in the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint collection!

We have two main families or groups of finishes – Waxes and Liquids.  For this post, we’ll be focusing on our wax finishes.

Furniture Wax

Furniture Wax is our clear wax option.  It’s formulated with carnauba wax, beeswax and odorless mineral spirits, resulting in a super soft wax that is spreadable and easy to manipulate.  It has a pleasant natural aroma and does not contain any harsh fumes.  It has the consistency of a natural lotion or margarine and is easily applied with a soft lint-free cloth or wax brush.

Our Furniture Wax is “buildable”, meaning you can apply several thin layers to build up layers of protection.  The key is thin layers.  Furniture Wax should be applied in thin layers and massaged into the surface like a lotion.  Most issues with wax occur when too much product is applied.  When it’s buffed out, it should not feel tacky or sticky.  You can achieve a variety of sheens from matte to semi-gloss depending on how you buff out your wax.  That makes it easy to personalize your finish!

Furniture Wax 2

The other lovely feature of our Furniture Wax finish is that it’s “livable”.  Scratches and blemishes can sanded out and more wax can be applied, making it a great finish for busy households.  You should always take care to use basic precautions to protect your finish from water and heat.  Coasters are always a good idea and you should never place anything hot directly on a finish.  Use trivets and potholders to provide a layer of protection in between the hot item and your finish.

Keep in mind that wax does melt in high temperatures, so Furniture Wax should not be used on outdoor projects, outdoor furniture shows or on front porches.  Furniture Wax is not food safe, so it should not be used on surfaces where food is prepared or eaten directly off of (such as a cheeseboard).

White Wax

In addition to offering a clear Furniture Wax, we also have two tinted waxes.  Let’s start with our White Wax.

White Wax contains the same ingredients as our buttery soft Furniture Wax with the addition of white pigments.  It looks like marshmallow fluff in the jar!

White Wax is a fabulous product to use if you would like to create a limed look over top of raw wood or MMS Milk Paint.  It almost looks like a white wash.  You can see how White Wax changes the look of our soft black, Typewriter, in this graphic by The Golden Sycamore.

See how it creates a soft, white wash effect?  Here’s another example on a dresser that Miss Mustard Seed painted.

This is White Wax over Shutter Gray Milk Paint.  She even used it on the raw wood top!

When using White Wax, we recommend applying a layer of clear Furniture Wax first over your Milk Paint.  THEN, apply the White Wax.  This will help keep the White Wax from becoming ghosty and it will preserve the color of your Milk Paint underneath.

You can apply White Wax with a soft lint-free cloth or a brush.  It looks absolutely divine when it settles into nooks and crannies on a piece!  This table was painted during one of the “Bring Your Own Piece” workshops that Miss Mustard Seed hosted in her old Pennsylvania studio.

The owner of the table painted it in Kitchen Scale and then sealed it with clear Furniture Wax.  To draw the eye to the carved details, White Wax was applied and allowed to settle into the recessed areas.  This is a perfect way to use White Wax!

 

So what do you think?  Are you ready to grab a jar and try it out for yourself?

Antiquing Wax

Our Antiquing Wax is kind of the opposite of White Wax.  It’s another tinted wax that has the same ingredients as our Furniture Wax, but instead of being tinted white, it has a lovely deep and rich brown color.

Antiquing Wax is like instant “age in a jar”.  When applied, it will add a warm brown tint to your finish that mimics the look of aged patina.  You can see an example of this on this oak washstand that Jenn of Eight Hundred Furniture painted using Bergere.

Jenn applied Bergere Milk Paint, Furniture Wax and then a layer of Antiquing Wax.  See how it nestled into the grooves and gives the piece an aged effect?

You can also apply Antiquing Wax directly on raw wood to age it and protect it at the same time!

Antiquing Wax goes on strong, but it can be wiped back to suite your personal taste.  If the look is still too strong, rub a little bit of Furniture Wax on and wipe back.  The Furniture Wax will act as an “eraser” and help tone the Antiquing Wax down even further.

We recommend turning your wiping cloth over multiple times during the wiping process to ensure you are using a clean spot every time you remove product.  This will help to wipe the product back without redepositing it again.  We also recommend using a cloth to apply it on flat surfaces (such as tops and sides).

Use a fluffy natural bristle brush to get into nooks and carvings.

See how Antiquing Wax added subtle shadowing and age to the legs of this French chair?

Antiquing Wax and White Wax can also be mixed in varying ratios to create different shades of taupe, mushroom, and gray!

Beeswax Finish

Our final wax finish is our Beeswax.

Our Beeswax finish contains 100% Beeswax and Mineral Oil.  It is food safe and is ideal to use on surfaces that will come in contact with food.  Rolling pins, bread boards, salad spoons and wooden bowls are all safe surfaces to hydrate with Beeswax.

Our Beeswax finish is also a fabulous product to use as a resist in between layers of Milk Paint.

You can learn how to create this chippy layered look using Beeswax by reading our blog post here.

Beeswax is also a fabulous product to use on leather goods.  Give your boots some much-needed hydration after a long winter by rubbing some Beeswax on and buffing it out.  You can read the full blog post on how to do that here.

The application process is the same as with our other wax products – apply with a soft cloth or bristle brush and wipe the excess back.

Other Tips and Information

All of the finish in our MMSMP collection are durable when applied properly and allowed to cure for the recommended 20 – 30 day window of time, including our waxes.  Here are some more tips and tidbits of information when using our wax products.

  • The key with any wax is to apply it in a thin layer.  If you ever have trouble with wax being smudgy, sticky, smeary, tacky, etc., it means you applied too much wax.  Think of wax like a skin lotion.  It needs to be worked into the surface evenly, allowing it to be absorbed.  Too much will just sit on top and be a mess.
  • It should feel dry to the touch almost immediately.  It might feel a little cool and waxy, but the piece can be touched and used right away.
  • Wax gives a super smooth, hard, water-repellant finish without any brush strokes.
  • Wax is a finish that absorbs, but it’s also a “buildable” finish.  You can build the finish by adding more (thin) layers of wax, which can make the finish glossier and thicker.
  • The gloss can also vary based on how you buff it.  If you just buff it with your brush as you apply it, it will be matte.  If you buff it by hand, with gusto, or with an electric buffer/buffing pad, it can have a nice gloss to it.
  • If a wax finish is marred/scratched, it can be repaired.  Lightly sand the marred area and reapply more wax.
  • It is a bit labor intensive to apply wax.  Our wax is soft, like the consistency of margarine, so it spreads on easily, but it still takes some muscle and patience.  Don’t rush the process!
  • It can be tricky to get it really smooth in appearance on a large, flat surface, like a table top.  An electric buffer or a buffing pad on an orbital sander really helps with that!
  • Wax will melt if it gets too hot.  It does have to be pretty intense heat and sunshine, so being inside under a window would be fine.  Just keep it in mind, especially if you have pieces on a porch or are putting them in a garage or storage unit that isn’t climate controlled.  We also don’t recommend using wax finishes for pieces that will be sold at outdoor market events.

We hope you are now inspired and a bit more educated about our wax products.  Are you ready to tackle a project?  Shop for MMS Milk Paint products from any of our fabulous retailers or online.  Tell us your favorite and share your MMSMP waxed pieces with us on social media.  We love hearing from you!

Next, we’ll tackle the liquid finishes in our collection…Hemp Oil and Tough Coat!

Tips for Painting With Boxwood

Boxwood is one of the gorgeous greens in our MMS Milk Paint line.

This rich dark grassy green gets its inspiration from the preserved Boxwood wreaths that Miss Mustard Seed loves to use in her home decor.

Boxwood looks amazing on furniture pieces as well.  It’s such a vibrant and striking color choice.

Boxwood can also be tricky to work with, so we’ve put together some tips to help make the process a bit easier and to help you know what to expect when you’re ready to paint with this gorgeous green.

First, Boxwood has the highest concentration of blue to yellow pigments of all of our colors.  Blue and yellow pigments also like to separate from one another, which can cause some irregularities in the paint color.  You can kind of see that happening in our Boxwood paint blob below.  (And yes, that is the official term for those…color blobs!)

As the blue and yellow pigments separate, you’ll dip your brush into the paint and Boxwood will brush out more of an Olive color than a bright grassy green.  To help maintain a consistent color throughout your piece, we recommend that you stir Boxwood frequently.  (Now we recommend that with all of our colors, but try to do it more so with Boxwood.)  When you’re painting with this color, it’s not the time to multitask.  Stay focused and work quickly to get the paint on your piece.

Boxwood is also a color that you don’t want to touch up.  If there’s a spot that needs more paint, you’re better off putting on an entire coat of paint than just in one spot.

This will ensure that you maintain a consistent color across your piece.

We hope that our tips will help you work with Boxwood more effectively!  It’s truly a gorgeous green and it’s one that you should definitely have in your repertoire of MMS Milk Paint colors!

MMSMP Featured Artisan – Phoenix Creations

Social media is awesome because it allows people to connect on a global scale.  Without it, we would have never known about our next featured artisans, David and Michelle Rauenbusch of Phoenix Creations Tasmania.  Part of the reason why is because they’re based out of Cygnet, Tasmania!  For those of you who have no idea where that is, allow us to help.

Photo via Google

Everyone knows where Australia is, right?  Well Tasmania is an island off the southeast coast of the continent.  Cygnet is southwest of the capital city of Hobart.  Now can you see why we’re so grateful to social media for allowing us to discover David and Michelle?

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

To be specific, it was David’s hand-carved spoons that first caught our eye through Instagram.  It was one of those evenings when some clicking around on Instagram totally paid off.  Once we saw the feed, we positively drooled over his gorgeous creations!

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

In his captions, David mentioned that he was using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint on some of the handles to add pops of color and personality.  The more we dug into his feed, the more we fell in love with his craftsmanship and we had to reach out to learn more about what he and Michelle are doing thousands of miles away in the Southern Hemisphere.

David and Michelle began making furniture and homewares in 1997 as a response to their own needs.  They couldn’t find anything unique or well-made with heart behind it.  They have always had a passion for old things and through the years, they had been amassing a mixture of treasures from Sunday drives, garage sales, auctions and dumpsters.  They combined their collection with their passion for using recycled materials and their expansive artistic experience and started Phoenix Creations!  David makes and Michelle does the behind the scenes work of running a small business.  She works on design, marketing, running the business and then keeps their three children on track.  She’s quite the rock star and David reports that they are a perfect combination!

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

They took a long time to decide on a name for their work.  They specialize in breathing new life into old wood, just like a new phoenix rising from the ashes of an old one.  They felt that was an appropriate description of their work, and thus Phoenix Creations had a name!

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

Every wood piece you see in their online shop is designed and created by hand, from vintage timbers by David.

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

The love, patience and sheer craftsmanship that goes into each of David’s creations has us completely spellbound.  It’s fascinating to watch!

So how did David and Michelle come to live in such a unique place?  They moved to Cygnet in southern Tasmania in 2003 to be nearer to family and raise their children in a small country town community. The pace of life is much slower, and they live in a family friendly inclusive community where David’s work is appreciated.  They both love that their children can climb trees, make tree houses, have loads of pets and interact with local wild birds and animals all in their own back yard!  It’s also a huge plus to be able to work from home while the children enjoy the gorgeous landscape!

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

David uses wood (or timber as it’s called in his neck of the world) from all different sources including vintage buildings, wooden boats, renovations, demolitions, farm clearance sales, garage sales, recycling centers, auctions and sometimes David barters or even gets donations!  His local arborist occasionally brings around green logs that have been saved from the chipper too, so there’s a true sense of community with how David sources his materials.

Each specimen is hand-chosen for its durability and beauty.  David’s current favorite is Huon Pine with Blackwood and Native Cherry not too far behind.  This particular piece of Blackwood was salvaged from an old wardrobe door!

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

David was first introduced to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint through the Instagram account of a fellow spoon carver a couple of years back. He purchased some from our amazing retailer in Southern Australia, For The Love Creations, and never looked back!  David loves using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint to accentuate his hand-carved creations because it’s so simple to mix, and he enjoys being able to control its thickness.  It allows him to create varying degrees of opacity.

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

Plus, it’s safe for him and Michelle to apply and it’s safe for his customers on the finished product.  David also enjoys the fact that he can mix colors to personalize his creations.  Right now, he’s enjoying the deep rich navy of Artissimo and the grassy green of Boxwood.

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

We asked David if he and Michelle had any advice for first-time users who may be intimidated to use our paint.  Here’s what he wrote:

“I was intimidated till I took the plunge and purchased some of the sample sized packets. There’s been no looking back. So simple to mix (just add water) apply and seal.  When you step back and look at what you have created it is just such a source of pride.”

We hope that you will follow along with David and Michelle as they continue to source, create and share their unique creations.

Photo via Phoenix Creations Tasmania

You can follow Phoenix Creations on Instagram, shop through their online store, and follow along on Facebook.  We’re so thrilled to have been given the opportunity to learn more about their way of life in “Tassie”, and we encourage you to fall in love with Phoenix Creations too!

 

Chipping and the Importance of Prep Work

Have you ever wondered why it’s best to prep surfaces prior to using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint?  What exactly is in our Milk Paint that causes it to randomly resist and flake off of surfaces every now and then?  And is prep work really that important?  Can’t you just wing it?

Photo via The Golden Sycamore

These are good questions, aren’t they?  Let’s begin by exploring exactly what Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is and how it’s different from other types of paint.  MMSMP has five simple ingredients – chalk, clay, limestone, powdered milk protein (otherwise known as casein) and pigments.  The powdered casein is the “milk” part of Milk Paint!

Did you catch that?  The ingredients are very simple and there’s only five of them.  That’s literally all that’s inside of a pouch of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – five simple, basic, and primitive ingredients.

Milk paint powder 4

There aren’t any binders to help keep the ingredients mixed together once water is introduced.

Photo via Eight Hundred Furniture

There are no suspenders to keep all of the pigments consistent throughout the paint once it’s all mixed in a cup.

And there are no extra additives in the powdered mix to help Milk Paint adhere once it is applied.

You see, Milk Paint is an incredibly basic product.  It’s not like most modern paints that you’re familiar with in the paint world (latex, oil, chalk, clay, acrylic, etc.).  Once it’s mixed to the proper consistency (when it runs off a stir stick in a steady ribbon), Milk Paint will always be thinner than pre-mixed modern paints.  It doesn’t have the additives that modern paint does that allow the product to bond to most surfaces.  It’s not processed.  Milk Paint simply is not formulated that way.  Milk Paint is as broken down as you can get when it comes to paint, and that’s what makes it so incredibly special!

A good way to compare Milk Paint with modern paint is to think about peanut butter.  If you imagine a jar of natural peanut butter that has not been processed, typically the oil has separated from the butter itself and it needs to be mixed to be reincorporated once you open the container.  It has a chunkier consistency and is not perfectly smooth.  There are bits of broken peanuts in the mixture and it has a simpler taste.  It doesn’t spread the same across a piece of bread and the ingredient list is relatively short.  Milk Paint is like natural peanut butter.

Now compare that with processed or modern peanut butter.  When you open the jar, its consistency is the same throughout the container.  There are no natural variations in the color.  It’s smooth and easy to get out of the can.  It spreads well.  It’s processed to be that way, and the ingredient list is much longer and a bit more complicated to pronounce.  Modern paints are like processed peanut butter.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other.  It all really depends on your personal preferences and how you like your peanut butter.  You can’t expect a natural product to look like, smell like, and behave the same way as a processed product, can you?  They are simply not formulated the same way, so your expectations of the products can’t be the same.

Do you need to go get a snack from the kitchen now?  It’s okay.  We’ll wait…

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint works best on raw wood surfaces.  It’s naturally thin viscosity allows it to soak in like a stain rather than laying thickly on the surface and drying like a coat of nail polish.  The pigments in Milk Paint provide gorgeous color while still preserving the wood grain.  It acts like a colored stain rather than a paint on raw wood surfaces.

But let’s face it, most of the pieces that we own in our homes already have some kind of finish on them.  The majority of furniture that is available to buy and paint is not raw wood.  Either it has a coat of some sort of paint or design on it already, like this workbench.

Or pieces have a stain and a topcoat, like this empire dresser.

These existing finishes have a big impact on how Milk Paint will behave, and it’s important to realize that the surface you are painting plays a major role in the painting process.  Now we’re not going to get all weird on you and say that furniture has a personality, but it is safe to say that pieces range in how well they “play” with MMS Milk Paint.

The smoother and glossier your surface is, the more Milk Paint will have a tough time adhering to it.  It actually won’t adhere at all in some cases and it will simply fall off in patches, or “chips” as we call it.  This is why Milk Paint can randomly chip and flake on some furniture makeovers.  It is resisting adhering to a smooth, glossy, or oily surface and its primitive nature doesn’t have any extra adhesive properties to force it to cling on.

Now this is not necessarily a bad thing!  The random chipping of MMS Milk Paint provides painters with an authentically aged and old world finish.

It creates a look that seems as if it has always been there for decades.

This authentically old finish perfectly compliments vintage and antique pieces of furniture.

Now what is gained in some aspects of using Milk Paint is lost in other areas, particularly regarding adhesion.  As we mentioned earlier, Milk Paint will resist surfaces that are smooth, shiny, glossy, or oily.  That is why prep work may be required when using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.

“Prep work” is a phrase that has become taboo in painting circles.  No one seems to want to do anything prior to painting these days.  Folks can’t even be bothered with cleaning or dusting, and good luck if you mention the dreaded “S” word…SANDING!  

Can we simply take a minute and say that prep work is the key to a quality finish and there are numerous benefits to prep work that far outweigh the perceived “inconvenience” of it all?

Hear us out.

As we mentioned earlier, the surface of furniture pieces play a big role in how Milk Paint will behave on them.  Imagine the years of oils from hands, grime, dust, dirt and other surface contaminants that accumulate on the surface of a piece of furniture before it gets to you.  Think of the layers of furniture polish that have been applied week after week with a soft cloth.  Each piece has a history and a story that it brings to the table, and some pieces have more baggage than others.

The older the piece, the greater the likelihood that these contaminants will be present.  It’s simply not practical to expect a simple and primitive paint product like MMSMP to adhere to a surface in that condition.  You have to help it out a little bit, and there are lots of options to choose from!

Prep work can be as simple as cleaning the piece.  If you’re a lover of primitive pieces like Miss Mustard Seed is, they can come into your possession bearing quite a load of grime.

A simple cleaning goes a long way!

In addition to cleaning the surface of your piece, we strongly recommend that smooth, glossy, and shiny surfaces be scuffed with sandpaper prior to painting with MMSMP.  This does a few things.  First, it roughs up the surface and gives it a bit of texture or “tooth”.  This creates a surface that MMS Milk Paint is more likely to adhere to.  It also gives you a chance to explore the piece and spy any areas that need addressing such as a loose board, drip marks from the previous finish, loose veneer, water rings, etc.  As you open and close the drawers or doors on your piece while you sand, you get to see what it looks like on the inside and determine if further repairs are required before you put paint on it.  You can also learn if the drawers are even able to open with a tug.  The piece below gave Miss Mustard Seed a run for her money.  These drawers were super difficult to open and close and she needed to spend time filing them down prior to painting it.

Scuffing your piece with sandpaper does not equate to taking it down to the raw wood and completely removing the existing finish.  (If you want to, that’s completely fine, but it’s not necessary.)  It means you’re roughing up the surface enough to create one on which Milk Paint can adhere.  Here’s a good example of a scuffed surface.  The process does not need to be a lengthy one.  An ounce of prep in the beginning is worth a pound of troubleshooting once you get going.

Photo via Eight Hundred Furniture

You can also squirt some of our Bonding Agent into your mixed batch of MMS Milk Paint to boost adhesion.

Bonding Agent is a water-based emulsion that contains the bonding agents that are present in modern pre-mixed paints.  MMS Milk Paint offers it as a separate product that can be added in if needed.  Bonding Agent does change the look of Milk Paint slightly.  It gives it more of a subtle satin luster (not necessarily a shine) and it smooths out the consistency, giving you a product that feels a bit more familiar on the brush.

So now do you have a better understanding of why Milk Paint chips randomly?  Do you have more of an appreciation for why prep work is important?  Thanks for reading through our thoughts, and we’re happy to continue helping you Move Mountains In Your Home with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint!

Tips For Painting With White

Farmhouse White is our second Featured Color of the Month for February.

It’s a fresh and bright white that reminds us of picket fences surrounding a country farmhouse.  It offers the best coverage of all of our whites too, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking to freshen up a piece in your home.

But did you know that painting with white can sometimes be a bit more tricky than expected?  Because white paint doesn’t have nearly the amount of pigments as other colors, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to pull out when you’re using this particular color.

If you’re going to paint a piece of furniture that has an existing dark stain or paint color, it may take more than 2 coats of Farmhouse White to fully cover over the dark layers underneath.  One of the best tricks we can offer to you is to paint on a layer of one of our grays first.

You can choose from Shutter Gray,

our mid-tone gray, Trophy,

or our warm “greige”, Schloss.

Painting on a layer of either of these three lovely grays will provide a neutral base on which you can apply Farmhouse White (or any of our whites for that matter).

Here’s an example of a project that required three coats of Farmhouse White.  This antique pie safe found its way into Miss Mustard Seed’s heart when she was out shopping one day.

As you can see, the wood was very dark and it required three full coats of Farmhouse White to get the clean coverage she was looking for.  It was well worth it, would you say?

Here’s an example of a project where a coat of Trophy gray served as a base.  Remember Miss Mustard Seed’s Restoration Hardware rocking horse?

The wood had an existing dark finish, so Miss Mustard Seed painted on a base coat of Trophy first to help neutralize the color of the wood.

Next, she added Grain Sack on the body.  The hoofs, mane and tail received a custom blend of Shutter Gray and Trophy.  Finally, the runners and bridle were painted in straight Shutter Gray.

There was something in the wood that did not play nicely with Milk Paint, so Miss Mustard Seed used a bit of Bonding Agent in her mixture along with some extra sanding to keep it under control.  The rocking horse still turned out chippy and charming, but it was a bit more reigned in with these extra efforts.  (Do you see what we did there?  Reigned in?!)

Miss Mustard Seed also used this trick on an Antique Victorian Settee she painted and upholstered for Chapel Market back in 2014.

The wood was very dark, so she had Kriste paint on a layer of Shutter Gray first to act as a neutral base.  Then, coats of Ironstone were applied to get the white finish Miss Mustard Seed wanted.

On her original post, she wrote:

“You may be wondering why I’m painting this piece Shutter Gray if I want it white.  Well, you may be aware that white doesn’t cover very well, especially over dark wood.  I knew I would be in for multiple coats of paint if I went straight for the white.  By applying a mid-tone gray on first, the number of coats will be reduced.  Kriste applied the first coat of Ironstone…once the Shutter Gray was dry.”

Again, this trick paid off!

Another tip to keep in mind when you’re working with Farmhouse White is that it may not always mix to the ideal consistency when you use our recommended one-to-one ratio.  If you watched Miss Mustard Seed’s latest Facebook live on our Facebook page, she mentioned that some of the colors in our collection mix thin or thick even though you add one part Milk Paint powder to one part water.

Milk Paint Demo

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Demo!http://missmustardseedsmilkpaint.com

Posted by Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint on Friday, February 2, 2018

Like Miss Mustard Seed said, mixing Milk Paint is kind of like baking.  Think of your Grandmother’s biscuit recipe that reads, “Add 4-6 tablespoons of water”.  Well, is it 4, 5, or 6?  There are so many variables that can influence the amount of ingredients you’ll need, and Milk Paint isn’t any different.  Sometimes you’ll need more water while other days you’ll need more powder.

We personally find that Farmhouse White mixes a bit thicker and more water is needed to get it to the consistency of melted ice cream.  Don’t stress though!  Simply add what you need to get a mixture that looks right to you.  Milk Paint should ideally fall off a stir stick in a steady ribbon, string, or stream, kind of like this:

As always, you should stir your Milk Paint in your container every few brush strokes or dips.  Because our paint is such a simple and primitive product, there aren’t any suspenders or binders in it to keep everything mixed throughout the painting process.  Your hand and a good ‘ol popsicle stick (or spoon, or mini whisk) are the magic agent that keeps everything blended together.

For more tips on Milk Paint coverage, you can visit our post from a few days ago.  Farmhouse White can be purchased from your local brick-and-mortar retailer.  Search for a location closest to your home here.  We truly “heart” our retailers, so we encourage you to pop by one of over 250 locations worldwide!

If you own a small business and would like to join the Milk Paint family, you can learn more about our retailer application process here.  We’re getting more and more applications as time goes by, so we’d love for you to join us and move mountains in your community!

If you’re an online shopper, we have options for you too!

Wherever you go to shop, we hope our tips will help you love Farmhouse White even more!

 

Cleaning Your Paintbrushes

Did you know that cleaning your paintbrushes and keeping the bristles hydrated is one of the major keys for extending their longevity?  We have the perfect product to help with the process – our Brush Soap!

Before we dive into the cleaning process, we have a question for you.  What would your hair look like if you neglected to condition it for a week?  How about a month?  A year?

Not a pretty sight, huh?

Did you know your paintbrushes need to be cleaned and conditioned, just like your hair?  The good news is that our Brush Soap is much more affordable than high-end salon products and in a few extra minutes, you can quickly implement using it into your regular brush cleaning routine.

Our Brush Soap does not contains any synthetics or detergent chemicals.  It’s free of phosphates, ABS, LAS, fluorescents and artificial fragrances.  Our Brush Soap is made with natural, eco-friendly, certified sustainable, and responsibly produced oils and fats that perfectly clean and condition paint brushes.  It’s ideal for cleaning Milk Paint from natural bristle brushes, but you could use it to clean any type of water-based paint from any type of brush.

Rinse your paintbrush in lukewarm water and swirl your brush across the soap puck.  It’s shaped like a disc, making it easy to hold in your hand as you clean.

For stubborn jobs, you can use any brand of dish detergent, especially if your brush has been left out overnight and the paint has become crusty.  (It’s OK…we’ve done it too!)

Continue to wash and rinse the brush until all of the paint is gone and the water runs clean.  It may take a few rounds of scrubbing and swishing.

What’s nice about our Brush Soap is that it acts as a soap and a conditioner all in one.  It cleanses and hydrates every bristle of your brush to ensure its longevity and to prevent splitting and fraying.

Once your brush is completely clean, wrap it in some brown paper or a paper towel.

You can either tie it closed with a piece of string, use a rubber band, or simply lay it flat to dry.

This step is important because it maintains the shape of your brush.  Over time, as brushes dry naturally with no re-shaping, the bristles can spread out and develop a bell shape.  This wrapping step will “train” the bristles to keep their proper shape and allow the brush to dry without spreading out in different directions.  It essentially prevents a bristle “poof”!

You can shop for Miss Mustard Seed’s Brush Soap at your local brick and mortar retailer or online.  Don’t paint furniture?  Our Brush Soap can also be used on makeup brushes to ensure a clean and fresh makeup application every time!

DECORATING WITH PINK

Arabesque is one of our lovely featured colors for the month of February.

This soft, muted, dusty rose of a pink is the most darling color.

But did you know that this color can be used for so much more than nurseries and dressers for little girls?

Let’s talk about how you can incorporate shades of Arabesque into your home decor.

Pink works well with more colors than you would think!  It adds a softness to grays and navy.  This photo via Pinterest shows how one blush pink pillow and some springtime flowers instantly add a feminine touch to an otherwise masculine scene.  We also loved how the warmth of the wood stool and the breakfast tray play with this shade of pink.  See how it can lean cool or warm (or both) depending on what’s around it?

Here’s an example of how Circa Dee combined the blush tone of Arabesque with cream, warm wood tones, and deeper pink accents to pull Arabesque in the warm direction.

We love how Jen Farr of Design Devotee used pops of blush pink to create a serene and tranquil bedroom.  We see colors similar to Marzipan and Bergere in this photo too, don’t you?

Speaking of our European Colors, Arabesque works well with any of the other colors in that line. 

Whichever color you decide to pair it with, Arabesque is a perfect match with its fellow European tones.

You can soften Arabesque with our white wax to create dreamy softness or use our Antiquing Wax to give your piece richness and age.

Photo via The Golden Sycamore

So whether you decide to add accents of Arabesque throughout your home or you use it on a featured piece of furniture, we hope you appreciate the sophistication of this marvelous featured color!

January Colors of the Month – Ironstone and Bergere

Welcome to January 2018, everyone!  In our opinion, January is a special month because it’s filled with new beginnings and fresh starts.  It resets the calendar and surges forward with exciting possibilities.

Let’s get 2018 started off by featuring two wintery colors in our line – Ironstone and Bergere.

These two shades pair well together and remind us of soft Scandinavian palettes.  It’s appropriate that they represent the featured colors for January, as this time of the year is quite cold here in the United States!

Ironstone was the purest white we had in our collection until Farmhouse White was developed.  It was named for the earthenware that Miss Mustard Seed loves to collect.

Ironstone is a fresh and cool white that obviously pairs well with everything!  It’s a must-have in your MMS Milk Paint collection because it can be mixed to lighten other colors in our line.  Laura of The Ironstone Nest did a great job explaining the differences between all of the whites in our collection on this blog post.  Here’s how Ironstone and Farmhouse White compare side-by-side.

Photo via The Ironstone Nest

Ironstone is a cooler white while Farmhouse White has warmer undertones.  (Did you know that Farmhouse White is actually a 1:1 mixture of Ironstone, Grain Sack, and Linen?  If you ever run out, you can mix your own!)

This beautiful buffet was painted in Ironstone and is featured in Look Book One.

Photo via 12th and White

It was painted by Abbe of Doll Design Co. for Courtney of 12th and White.  Abbe used Ironstone and our Bonding Agent to achieve this full coverage look.

Back in 2014, Miss Mustard Seed painted this $10 cabinet for Kriste of Rosemary & Thyme.

Miss Mustard Seed painted a base layer of Trophy gray first, and then followed with two coats of Ironstone, using some vaseline as a resist in between.  This photo shoot was actually the first one in the old Mustard Seed Studio in PA!

Here’s a closer look at those layers:

It’s only fitting that this piece was staged with…you guessed it…lots of ironstone!

Bergere is a lovely complimentary color to Ironstone.

It’s a smokey blue/gray that is a member of our European Collection of colors.

When properly pronounced, the name “Bergere” rhymes with “air” and “there”.  We’ve heard everything under the sun, including “burger”!  It’s actually the name for a specific style of French chair that Miss Mustard Seed loves.

Bergere is an idea color choice if you want to add some blue to your home decor, but you want it to be soft and muted.  It’s not as intense as some of our other shades like Flow Blue or Kitchen Scale.

It reminds us of snowy days, icy skies and Nordic winters.  Visit our Pinterest Color Focus Board to delve more into the mood of Bergere.  When Miss Mustard Seed first introduced Bergere, she painted this empire dresser to feature it.

This pretty piece started out with a very dark stain, so a layer of Tough Coat was applied followed by a few coats of Bergere Milk Paint.  The final topcoat was our luscious Hemp Oil.

The muted color of Bergere plays well with warm and cool tones.

Miss Mustard Seed herself describes it as a chameleon color because it can lean in different directions, depending on the light its in and its surrounding decor.

So are you feeling the vibes for January yet?  You can pick up your own pouches of Ironstone and Bergere at your local brick and mortar retailer or online.  We’re sure you’re going to love these two shades just as much as we do!

Make sure you share your Ironstone and Bergere pieces with us all month long by tagging @MissMustardSeedsMilkPaint on Facebook and @mmsmilkpaint on Instagram.  We love seeing what you’re creating!

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