How to use milk paint to ‘stain’ your table!

Hi there! It’s me again!

{Melanie from Mango Reclaimed)

I want to share a quick little ‘how to’ with you today. Have you tried using milk paint as a stain yet?! Did you even know you could do that?! One of the great things about milk paint is that you mix it yourself with water so you have a lot of versatility in the opacity of the paint you mix up. If you use 1 part milk paint powder and mix it up with 3 parts water . . . . you get a gorgeous stain!

just. like. that.

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Ok, so now that you know how to mix it up . . . what will you do with your milk paint stain?

Well for me it seems that almost every other customer of mine has an old oak pedestal table. You know the one – its a honey oak colour, it’s solid wood, its got good lines, it fits your space and has worn really well . . . but its ugly!

Here’s what I recommend – get out your sander and sand that table top down to some beautiful bare wood:

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Next, grab your perfectly mixed up stain – for this table I used ‘Curio’ which is a rich and beautiful brown . . . and just paint it on.

Yes, it’s that easy!

And look . . .

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Don’t you just love how the stain brings out all the grain in the wood?!?

{Oh, by the way – this table top is currently on top of my studio work table, incase you’re wondering what all that awesome and messy looking colour is, lol!}

Now if your feeling even more ambitious you can add another stain on top of this first one! I wanted to soften the look a bit so I mixed up 1 part ‘Mora’ which is a soft and beautiful grey, with 3 parts water.

And I painted it right on top of the Curio . . .

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It looks a bit scary at first, I’ll give you that, but stick with it!

Now for this table I used a clean damp rag and rubbed a bunch of the Mora off right after applying it so the look would be really soft.

Once it was dry I gave the whole table a light sand with 400 grit sand paper and then sealed in all the gorgeous new colour with hemp oil.

Take a look at this table finished and in it’s new space . . .


The base of this table was painted solid in ‘Linen’, then mildly distressed and hemp oiled. I didn’t want to strip the table base to raw wood so I just roughed it up a bit and made sure to add bonding agent to my paint so I wouldn’t get any chipping.

I can’t take credit for the kitchen reno – this was done by the talented team over at Square Footage Inc. 

Isn’t this kitchen gorgeous??

And that restyled table fits right in! What a great way to keep something old and make it work in a space that’s all new!

I hope you found this helpful! Thanks for reading along!

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17 thoughts on “How to use milk paint to ‘stain’ your table!

  1. Colette J.

    That’s gorgeous. I was wondering how the tabletop would hold up with children and/or messy adults?

    1. Gretchen

      I love the look. I have been looking for away to get the “driftwood” look and I think I could get this with this tip. Thank you.

    2. Melanie Curley

      Hi Colette!
      Thank you for the compliment! Hemp oil creates a durable finish although it is not completely indestructible . . . you can build up your tables durability by applying multiple layers of hemp oil.
      Alternatively you could forgo the hemp oil and use the MIss Mustard Seed Tough Coat Sealer on top of the milk paint stain which is perfect for high traffic areas.
      I hope this helps 🙂

  2. Delilah

    I’ve been wanting to stain my kitchen table and now feel like I can tackle it! Thanks for the inspiration. How do you care for the table once you’ve stained it and do you use it for every day use?

    1. Melanie Post author

      Hi Deliliah! Thank you so much for the comments 🙂
      This table was finished with multiple coats of hemp oil. The table may weather a bit over time, but it will only add to the overall ‘patina’.
      Alternatively you could forgo the hemp oil and use the Miss Mustard Seed Tough Coat Sealer on top of the milk paint stain which is perfect for high traffic areas and everyday use.

  3. Amy

    I love your table, can you please tell me what kind of sand paper you used to sand the top?

    1. Melanie Post author

      Hi Amy – thank you so much!
      I used a 220 grit sandpaper to strip the table.
      Once the table was stained I used a 400 grit sandpaper to smooth it out before applying the hemp oil 🙂

  4. Scott Smith

    Do you think this technique would work on pine or would you get the blotchy results you get with stain? We are replacing all our doors with solid pine and I’d like to add some color but still see the grain. Let me know. Thanks

  5. Donna

    How long did you allow the curio to dry for ? I found that when I did this technique that some of the curio came off with the damp cloth as well .

    1. Amy Salazar

      Hello Donna, I read your question about how long to wait for the Curio to dry as I had the same problem, did you get an answer to your question and if so can you share that information with me? Thank you!!

  6. Kim

    how many coats of the curio did you put on? If I bought the sample package is that enough to do a table that size and 4 chairs??

  7. Amy Salazar

    Hello, when you used the Curio as a stain on the pedestal table did you have to add the bonding agent to the stain?

  8. Mccall dunaway

    Wondering if this is food safe? Could I use this method on my butcher block countertops?

  9. Misty

    would this technique work for window sills. I’m trying to freshen the 1960’s window sills in my house before the new window treatments arrive… I sanded the area that was bad and was going to go ahead with the stain and polyurethane. Then I thought how milk paint can be used as a stain and my google foo led me to this blog. I just started wondering why do we use polyurethane in the widow sills if sun and condensation makes it ugly over time. .. I love my waxed furniture and kitchen cabinets that are done in chalk paint/waxed finish, so in my rambling of thoughts I just have a feeling that a waxed surface would be pretty nice in a window sill environment. If I’m lucky you will say its a good idea… and maybe you would have a recommendation to a color that would go with the current walnut trim…… Thanks for your time. Misty


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