When Jennifer Hoffman of Stonehouse Vintage Market, one of our retailers in PA, asked what I thought about using milk paint on her deck, I sort of thought she was kidding!
You really want to use milk paint on your entire deck?!
It wasn’t that the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. Is fact, just a few months before she asked me about it, I had painted a swatch of milk paint on my own deck to see how it would stand up to the elements.
When I realized she wasn’t kidding, I shared that I had thought of painting my own deck in milk paint and, if she does do it, I’d love to know how it turns out.
Well, Jennifer and her husband did it! They used Curio on the decking and Farmhouse White on the rails and spindles.
It ended up taking 5 lbs of Farmhouse White and 10 lbs of Curio (it is a big deck!) It was then all finished with two gallons of Hemp Oil.
And here’s how it turned out…
I mean, why did I ever doubt? I’ve said it time and again that milk paint is the absolute best paint for raw wood and this is a great example of that.
When the excess is wiped away, the Antiquing Wax stays in the dents, dings and “worm holes”, simulating the look of age, wear and patina. It’s not quite as warm as pine that has been aged over decades, but it’s a great option for instant age.
The cool thing about using the Antiquing Wax is that it’s one step. It’s the technique and the finish all in one. I only applied one coat, buffed it by hand and then buffed it with a buffing pad on my orbital sander to make it smooth and slightly shiny. It’s not glossy, but the buffing pad brings out a luster.
No stinky stain. No waiting for poly to dry. Just one coat of Antiquing Wax, a little buffing, and you’ll be eating dinner on it that night.
When it came to having a water based poly topcoat in our line, I was a really tough sell! I am a huge fan of waxes and oils and I really wasn’t sure I would use a poly product.
After much testing and thinking about how the product would interact with the rest of the line, I decided to add the Tough Coat to the line in 2014.
I used it primarily for sealing old chippy pieces that may be hazardous (due to lead) and as a sealer for pieces that had the “dreaded pink stain” that would seep through fresh paint. It wasn’t my personal top choice for a finish, but I felt like it was still an asset to the line.
Well, all of that has changed with our freshly formulated Tough Coat that was released in March of 2016.
In the Mustard Seed Studio, it’s a bit like “Tough Coat is the new Hemp Oil.” And you know how much I looooove my Hemp Oil! Okay, so Tough Coat is never going to replace the Hemp-Oil-shaped spot in my heart, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite finishes ever.
So, why do I love it so much?
It has a matte finish, which is very fitting for milk paint and antique pieces.
You can apply it with a brush, roller or sprayer and get great results no matter how it’s applied. When I used to work with water based poly products, back in the day, I had to spray them to get a nice, smooth finish. A roller, applicator pad or brush would leave application marks. This new Tough Coat can be brushed on and it levels out as it dries.
Since it has a matte finish, if there are an imperfections in the surface, it doesn’t catch the light and draw attention to it.
It is fantastic for sealing chippiness to keep it under control or to make it more practical for everyday use.
It does not yellow whites at all. Hallelujah.
A few tips if you’re applying Tough Coat…
It is thinner than other poly products I’ve worked with, so if you try to lay it on too thick, it will drip. It’s better to apply two thin coats than one thick one.
Don’t judge it until it dries. It can look a little streaky/brush-strokey as it’s drying, but it looks velvety smooth once it’s dry.
Give it 30 days for fully cure. You can use the piece, but be gentle with it!
It’s a durable finish, but it’s not bulletproof! It’s still a good idea to use trivets for hot dishes, coasters for drinks (or wipe up sitting water), etc. to prevent water and heat marks.
So, if you weren’t in love with Tough Coat before, you should give the new one a try!
PS – The bottles look identical, except the label says “dries to a matte finish” in the instructions. Ask your local or online MMSMP retailer which formula it is before you buy!
I’ve mentioned Farmhouse White, the new MMSMP color we’re launching in January of 2016, a few times, but we also have some other new products coming out.
One that’s been in the works for a long time is the 100% Beeswax finish…
I tested it out years ago, before we launched the paint line, but I wanted to start very small, so we just launched with two waxes and the hemp oil as finish options. Now that we’ve grown beyond all expectations, we’re constantly considering, testing and developing new products we can add to the line. But we don’t want to add more just to add more. We want to add products that complement the line and brand well and ones that will address the requests of our retailers and customers.
It was all of these considerations that brought me to revisit the 100% Beeswax finish.
So, the #1 question is, “How is this different from your other waxes?”
Furniture, Antiquing and White Waxes are all made with beeswax, but they also contain carnuba wax and odorless solvents to make the wax creamy and workable. It is a beautiful product and we get compliments on our waxes all the time. Those are still going to be my go-to waxes.
But, we have many customers and retailers who use and sell our paints because they are all-natural, so we wanted to add an all-natural wax to give them that finishing option.
Because it is 100% beeswax, it isn’t as creamy as our other waxes. The Beeswax finish is similar to the feel and consistency of a body balm whereas the Furniture Wax is more like a lotion. Both are massaged and absorbed into the surface, but are applied in different ways. With beeswax, a little bit goes a long way.
Just pull a little bit out of the jar with a soft, clean cloth…
…and rub it onto the surface. You can use a brush to apply it as well, but make sure you’re only picking up a little bit of wax and then really working it into the surface. Any wax that’s left sitting on top will feel…well, waxy.
I had an old, somewhat dried-out rolling pin hanging out in the studio, so I gave it a little rub-down with Beeswax to bring out the shine and hydrate the wood.
The beeswax is food safe, so it can be used on rolling pins, wooden spoons, cutting boards, salad bowls, wood counters, wooden baby/kids toys, etc.
There are other applications for it as well and I’ll share some projects and techniques with you in the weeks to come.
We’re also launching a limited edition Lavender Wax. It is our clear Furniture Wax, but it’s been scented with lavender essential oils and it smells absolutely divine!
We know a lot of you furniture-painters are cooped up indoors during the winter months. If you’re going to be waxing furniture inside, it might as well smell amazing, right? It’s fragrant, but not overpowering.
You’ll know you’re buying the Lavender Wax, because of the pretty lavender-colored label.
Another thing we’ve been working on for months…maybe even a year…has been new labels for all of our waxes. Having your brand on a product is pretty awesome, but the labels are enough to make you want to curl up in a ball. Especially with paint and finishing products. They have to meet very specific label laws, which is especially tricky for us, since our products are sold on four (soon to be five, hopefully) continents.
Since our products are made and sold in Canada, we have to have all of our labels in French and English, which means double the amount of all text and proof-reading in two languages.
It was a really long process involving conversations like, “Can you make the font .5 larger, move the logo 2mm to the left, and the barcode is getting cut off when the label is wrapped, so we need to rearrange everything else…”, but we finally have our beautiful new wax labels that are a bit easier to distinguish from one another. They each are printed in a different color…
…and they each have their own chair “mascot” for the lid…
You’ll start to see the new wax labels trickle into stores when the old labels are exhausted.
In all of the proofing, reviews and reworking, we somehow missed one pretty obvious typo…
I didn’t even notice it until I received an e-mail pointing it out. It went something like this…
“Is there a reason why there is an extra E on the front of the small beeswax label…”
I quickly opened the picture I had of the new Beeswax labels.
And the e-mail was from our distributor in Europe, so it was definitely too late to change it. The misspelled label was out in the world and I was having flashbacks of the sweatshirt my parents gave their horrible-speller-of-a-daughter for Christmas one year. It read “bad spellers of the world untie!”
And now I’m untying with my Beesewax finish.
I wonder if they make a sweatshirt that says that.
So, there it is. Of course, we’re reprinting them and, at some point, the misspelled labels will be out of circulation and I won’t feel like a total moron every time I see it.
Until then, let’s just pretend it’s some fancy spelling for beeswax, like junque or colour or theatre.
Love this hoosier by Dana (Circa Dee)! She used Mustard Seed Yellow and finished with hemp oil and some antiquing wax. The sign is also painted in MMSMP! She used Grain Sack for the letters and a custom mix for the shadowing. See more details and beautiful pictures HERE!
Do you have a masterpiece you want to share with us using any of our products? We’d love to see them! Send them to us HERE!
I spent some more time today on the empire buffet. If you missed what this piece looked like before and how it got to this stage, check out PART ONE.
So, we last left the piece with the top stripped off the finish and the body painted in one coat of Shutter Gray MMS Milk Paint with the bonding agent added in. Since milk paint is thinner than most modern paints, the coverage can be streaky in the first coat if the paint color your using is drastically different than the surface you’re painting. In this case, I was painting a really dark wood with a medium gray paint, so it wasn’t going to cover in one coat.
This is the stage where some people lose heart…
As with most multi-step furniture painting projects, it looks worse before it looks better. I’ve said it many times; do not give up at the ugly stage.
See how much better it looks with just a second coat of paint?
This piece had the “dreaded red stain” that seeps pink through the paint. Ugh. Fortunately, the finish was mostly intact, sealing the pink in, but it bled through in a few places. Once the milk paint was dry, I brushed on a little bit of Tough Coat (our new finish that will be available soon) over those areas…
I let the Tough Coat dry and then applied a little more Shutter Gray. The Tough Coat sealed the stain, so there isn’t any pink showing through.
Once everything was dry, I took the piece outside and sanded down the top. I had stripped it already, but the reddish/pinkish stain remained and I really wanted a light and airy look for this piece.
When sanding a top down, I start with a really rough paper like 40 grit, then move up in steps…100, 180, 220, 320. The higher the number, the finer the grit and the smoother the wood will be. The lighter top was working so much better with the pale blue/gray paint now.
But I wanted to go even lighter, so I rubbed in some White Wax.
It gave the wood a beautiful, bleached look, which was just what I wanted. The key when doing this technique is to work on raw wood, to really work it into the grain…
…and then to wipe away the excess, revealing the grain.
As with our other waxes, the finish shouldn’t feel sticky or tacky after it’s applied. Really work it in and rub it away, so it feels smooth and only slightly wet to the touch.
I decided to do some decorative painting on this piece, so I chalked out a simple, sort of Scandinavian, design and painted it with white acrylic paint. Once that was dry, I wanted to soften the look, so I usedWhite Wax on the body of the piece.
I just wanted a soft, faded look, so I only loaded a little on our medium wax brush. It brushes on heavy at first…
…but I really worked it over the surface until the look was muted and soft.
In the picture below, the top and right of the piece has been White Waxed and the left is unwaxed, so you can see the difference. It’s just a very subtle difference that blends in the hand painted detail and makes the paint almost look faded.
Waxing the piece also “erases” any chalk lines that remain.
I’ve shared before that I wasn’t originally planning on carrying Hemp Oil with our line of products. I was really in love with waxes and I didn’t see the need to offer a different option. The manufacturer of the milk paint encouraged me to carry it with the line and I liked the fact it was an all-natural finish, so I added it. I am so glad I did! I really think it’s one of our best products. It’s the kind of thing you use once and then want to try it on everything in your house that will hold still long enough.
The way it revives wood, brings out the warmth and patina, is really amazing. And it’s not a one trick pony. It can revive old wood, metal, cast iron and even leather. You can use it to finish floors, counters, raw wood, stained wood, painted wood AND it’s food safe, so you can use it on cutting boards and cast iron cookware.
I’m planning to use it to refinish the floors in the old part of our home and to give new life to all of the antique wood chairs I just bought for my new studio. (I sign the lease and get the keys today!!)
So, as a part of Kriste’s Milk Paint Journal (a series where I’m introducing her to milk paint & the companion products), we made a video where I teach her how to use Hemp Oil.
You see, I’m a pretty tough sell when it comes to adding new products to the line. I have to really love them, use them and being okay with them sporting my name. I never planned on carrying a water based poly product, because my preference is for oils and waxes. When I first started furniture painting, I used water based poly and was usually disappointed with the finish. It got so much better when I found smooth applicator pads and even better when I started using my sprayer. I never imagined going back once I started using waxes and oils, though.
Then, I had to deal with this piece…
I painted it with one coat of milk paint that almost all fell off! I have had pieces chip before, but this was crazy. Just a few scraps of paint were clinging on for dear life. I decided it was time to pull out the sample of Tough Coat I had been ignoring for a few months. I lightly sanded the chipped milk paint and applied a coat of Tough Coat to seal the chipping and, hopefully, help the next coat of milk paint adhere. I ended up learning a lot about the product and saw what a great compliment it would be to the line.
It stopped the chipping, it “primed” the piece, so that milk paint would stick to it, and it even sealed the yellowish stain that was bleeding through. I was able to get a really cool finish with it, actually. I e-mailed the manufacturer immediately and let them know I was finally ready to consider it for the line.
A few months later, we were in production and it was launched this fall.
I’ve since used it to seal the “crusty counter” (it did an amazing job at that)…
…and we used it to seal several pieces before painting them for the Chapel Market.
A video for this product is long overdue, so Kriste and I made one to cover the basics of the Tough Coat.
And here it is…
(There’s a blooper at the end in case you didn’t watch through the credit screen, just as an FYI.)
I’ll have to share a picture of how the sample board Kriste painted looked after it dried. I’ve really only used the Tough Coat over pieces that were painted over an existing finish, so this was my first time seeing it on milk paint over raw wood and it looked lovely. I think I might still favor oils and waxes, but it’s a great alternative finish.
Here are a few more tips about working with the Tough Coat –
Make sure you give it plenty of time to cure before heavy use. This would include setting heavy/wet/hot things on the surface or banging it around a lot. Most dings and chips will happen during the cure time, so it’s important to be gentle with it. (Remember it’s like nail polish. Don’t go “digging through your purse for your keys while your nails are wet”, so to speak.)
I would suggest this for all finishes and paints you’re using for the first time… test it out on a small spot to make sure you like the way it looks. Everyone has different preferences for feel, thickness, gloss level, etc. Make sure you like the look before you slather it over an entire dining room set.
With four alternatives for top coats in our line (Furniture Wax, Hemp Oil, Tung Oil & Tough Coat), plus all of the other options available on the market, you should be able to find one that’s just right for you and your project!