Author Archives: marian

two-toned milk paint dresser | part three

The two-toned milk paint dresser in Layla’s Mint is finished and she is a beauty.  Well, in my opinion, anyway!

Before we get into the details of the finish, if you missed the first two installments of this dresser makeover, you can find them here…

Part 1 – Prepping the piece & applying the first coat of paint

Part 2 – Using the Wax Puck, applying the second coat of paint, and distressing

In this post, I’ll share about applying the Tough Coat finish.  Before I do, though, here is the before & after…

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser

I adore how this piece turned out. 

You can still appreciate the beautiful lines and the age of this dresser, but it looks softer now.  And I am over the moon for the antique brass hardware that now pops against the pale green.

When thinking about which finish I wanted to use for this piece, I opted for Tough Coat.  It’ll be durable if this is used as a bathroom vanity or in a kid’s room and it will be easy to apply to all of the nooks and crannies of the mirror.  Here is a video showing how I applied the Tough Coat along with some tips for making sure it’s mixed well and avoiding drips…

Sebastian was being a total ham.

Anyway, here is the end result…

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser
I have to say that I’m not really ready to start decorating for Christmas, but when I thought about styling this piece, I just could not shake the vision of dolling it up with fresh greens, gifts, and candles.  I have to start setting up for Christmas this week, anyway, due to some freelance projects.  (At least it’s only a little early.  A few years ago, I had a tree up until February, another one back up in April, then in September, then finally for “real Christmas”.  My poor boys were so confused.)  

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser
The distressing, as well as the two-toned finish on this piece, was deliberately subtle.  It’s not the kind of piece you’d glance at and think “Wow!  She layered two different paint colors!”  And that’s sort of the point.  I wanted this decorative finish to just whisper.  The brighter green under Layla’s Mint adds a lot of variation and depth, but the technique itself isn’t immediately obvious.  

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser
With all of the pretty details on this piece, the thing I love most is the hardware.  I feel like it was easily overlooked before, but now it’s a real feature.  

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser
The mirror is also a feature and quite a practical one at that.  I love how it tilts and the little shelf is simply smart design. 

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser
There are so many carved details already that I decided to let those shine, instead of adding some painted details to this piece.  I was afraid decorative painting might detract from the original simple beauty.  

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser 
I was going to share all of the pictures and sources for some of the items used in this photo shoot, but I decided I would save those for tomorrow.

If you’re in my neck of the woods, this piece will be for sale at Adourn in Chatfield, MN after Thanksgiving (along with the Little Black Dresser.)  


Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint - Two Toned Milk Paint Dresser

two-toned milk paint dresser | part two

As I shared yesterday, I prepped this piece and painted it in MMS Milk Paint Lucketts Green

Miss Mustard Seeds - Two-Toned Milk Paint Dresser

I wanted a two-toned look with some subtle variations, so I decided to layer Layla’s Mint, a softer green, on top with a rub of our Wax Puck in between.

Miss Mustard Seeds - Two-Toned Milk Paint Dresser

The Wax Puck is perfect when you want some differentiation between two different colors, but you don’t want it to be chippy.  The wax simply makes it easier to remove the paint when you get to the distressing stage.

So, I rub the Wax Puck along the edges and lightly over the flat surfaces – so it can catch any “high points”.

Miss Mustard Seeds - Two-Toned Milk Paint Dresser

Since it’s easier to show you than to tell you, here is a video showing the Wax Puck in action, applying the coat of Layla’s Mint over it, and then distressing…

(Just a safety note, it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask or respirator any time you’re sanding.)

Here is a close-up of the two-toned look.  As I said in the video, the look is subtle because I used two colors that were similar.  If you want a more dramatic two-toned look, use colors that are higher contrast.

Miss Mustard Seeds - Two-Toned Milk Paint Dresser

I love how this look gives the illusion of the paint being worn away.  It lends lots of visual depth to the finish.

The final step is the finish.  I’ll share that along with some finishing tips and the reveal in the final post of this dresser makeover series…

PS – I shared a clip on Instagram of me singing while painting this piece.  (That’s why my mouth is moving so much!)  I always sing when I work!  It’s fun to share a little bit of that passion with you since I don’t sing publicly very often these days.  I included a snippet of another song at the end of the video in this post if you’re curious to hear what I sing when I work.


Miss Mustard Seeds - Two-Toned Milk Paint Dresser

two-toned milk paint dresser | part one

A couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of a nice day and sanded down the pieces I found at a local consignment shop.

You can find a tutorial on prepping a piece to paint HERE.

Once sanded and prepped, I brought this oak dresser with a mirror into the studio to paint it…

This piece was in nice condition, but the glossy and yellowed polyurethane made the oak look very orange and was giving it a bit of a 1980’s vibe.  The dresser has such pretty lines and I think painting it will accentuate the cottage style.

I decided to go with a very soft color from the MMS Milk Paint lineLayla’s Mint.  To give that color a bit more dimension, I’m going to layer it over the brighter, more saturated Lucketts Green.

The effect will be very subtle but will give the finish more character and even help a bit with coverage.

Here is a video showing how I applied the first coat…

And I already love it in the Lucketts Green!  The Layla’s Mint will give it a much softer look, though, which is what I imagined for this piece.

I was tempted to ditch the mirror since dressers without mirrors tend to sell better than those with (oddly enough), but this one is so pretty and I decided it was worth the effort.  The buyer can always remove it if they want to.

The second coat will go on tomorrow and I’ll use that chance to show how to use the Wax Puck for two-tone distressing…



Have you seen these beauties on Instagram??  We’d love to see what you’re doing on Instagram. Don’t forget to use #iheartmilkpaint #mmsmilkpaint #mmsmp on Instagram so we can find your lovely piece!

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Have you seen these beauties on Instagram??  We’d love to see what you’re doing on Instagram. Don’t forget to use #iheartmilkpaint #mmsmilkpaint #mmsmp on Instagram so we can find your lovely piece!

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Have you given Arabesque a try yet? This dusty pink goes beyond nursery room furniture and little girl dressers! Pink can be a surprisingly beautiful neutral to blend into your home decor. . This vanity was painted by Jenn of using Bonding Agent to spot fix some extra chippy bits and Tough Coat to seal ? . Share your Arabesque projects with us this month by tagging @mmsmilkpaint in your stories and photos ? . . #eighthundredfurniture #vanity #trifoldmirror #pinkvanity #pinkpaint #pinkeverything #mmsmp #bondingagent #boxwoodwreath #millsfloral #mmsmilkpaint #missmustardseedmilkpaint #iheartmilkpaint #milkpaint #milkpaintedfurniture #missmustardseedsmilkpaint

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Have you seen these beauties on Instagram??  We’d love to see what you’re doing on Instagram. Don’t forget to use #iheartmilkpaint #mmsmilkpaint #mmsmp on Instagram so we can find your lovely piece!

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My name is Lee.  I live in a historical little town called Port Perry with my amazing and supportive husband, two step-daughters and my beautiful daughter.  I also have an Aussiedoodle named Autumn who is super cuddly and sweet.  Summer is definitely my hobby!  I love to lie out in the sunshine, have BBQs….even paint furniture outside.  Our home backs onto a green space with a lot of trees, so we are very fortunate to see natures beauty – and a lot of birds!


I started out painting furniture 5 years ago.  I stumbled across a picture in a home decor magazine, and it was a dresser painted in MMS yellow.  The colour absolutely stunned me.  It was the perfect yellow, and I was immediately inspired.  I found a local retailer that carried the paint line, and was immediately hooked.  I have been painting ever since.  I also create a lot of farmhouse style signs – and that has been the base of my business for the last two years.  I finally took the leap into the brick and mortar world, and am focusing more of my energy towards restyling furniture again, which is where I can be the most creative.  Our brick and mortar is located in Uxbridge, Ontario Canada.


Taking the leap was a scary step.  For the last eighteen years, I had been an HR Professional in the Corporate world.  Even when I was running my creative business, I still had my HR gig to fall back on.  I realized a few years ago that my passion for HR had left.  The compliance and legislation that are now in place are overwhelming.  I refocused all of my energy into my creativity.  I am greatly inspired by my tribe of female entrepreneurs, who support and encourage me.  I am also greatly inspired by Marian Parsons and Joanna Gaines.  I love following their stories.  Lastly, my family inspires me everyday.  I especially want to show my daughter that with hard work and determination, anything can be achieved.

My favourite thing to collect (besides everything MMS….lol) would have to be my Rae Dunn collection.  It is fun to hunt for her different pieces of pottery to display in the house, and yes, we even use the pottery!  I also love to collect old pieces such as scales, window frames, doors, crates and mason jars.

Choosing a favourite colour for MMS is very difficult!  They are all so awesome!  But, I would have to say that Farmhouse White would have to be my favourite.  I paint A LOT of furniture in it.  I find it to be the perfect white.  Not too warm, yet not too cool. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT | little black dresser makeover

In yesterday’s post, I shared how I prepped this piece of furniture to get it ready for painting.  If you missed that post, you can find it HERE.

So, this is what the dresser looked like after the hardware was removed and it was sanded to give the surface “tooth” (something for the paint to grip)…

dresser makeover

As I was debating what color this piece should “wear”, I decided to go with MMS Milk Paint Typewriter.  First of all, it’s been a long time since I’ve painted anything black.  It’s one of our most popular colors, so thought it would be nice to showcase it in a makeover series.

dresser makeover

I love the way black looks over dark and medium woods, too.  When a piece like that is distressed and finished, it is gorgeous and I envisioned that look working with the classic lines on this dresser.

Another reason I wanted to use it for a tutorial series is that this is the color we receive most customer inquiries about.  Working with black can be tricky, especially when it comes to the finishing.  Black can show textures and imperfections more than the other colors, but a little extra care can yield a beautiful end result.

 Lastly, Typewriter is one of colors of the month for October, so it seemed like a good time to mix up a batch.

For this dresser makeover:

I mixed up six tablespoons of milk paint.  That’s 6T of powder and 6T of water.  I ended up adding a little bit more water when the paint felt too thick coming off of the brush.  (If you’re completely new to milk paint, you can find a detailed tutorial on mixing HERE.)

That amount of paint was enough to do one full coat and a second thin coat.  I was also able to paint both coats in succession since the dry time is so fast.

Because I sanded the piece with 120 grit sandpaper prior to painting, I was not concerned about chipping or flaking, so I did not add the Bonding Agent to the paint.  I just used straight milk paint powder & water. 

Here’s a video showing how I applied the paint…


As you can see, when the dresser is painted and left unfinished, it looks very chalky and the color is inconsistent…

dresser makeover

This is much more dramatic with the darker colors and is true of any type of flat/matte black paint.  But just wait.  Don’t panic.  The finish will bring out the richness of the color and will pull it all together.

But first, I wanted to bring out more of the details of the piece and some of that pretty wood tone, so distressing is next…

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT | prepping a piece of furniture to paint

prepping furnitureI intended to get a post up last night and then this morning, but time escaped me.  The mix of work, family, and church stuff has kept me busy.  I still have a few more posts to write about my trip, including our quick stay in Florence.  But today I’m going to share a dresser I have been working on…

I bought this pretty dresser off craigslist just a few weeks ago.  From the listing photo, I thought it was an empire dresser, but it’s actually a reproduction of an empire dresser.  It’s smaller in scale and it’s machine-made.  It’s still an older piece (probably 1940’s-50’s) and it’s a nice piece.  It had been refinished at some point and whoever did it did a beautiful job.  The finish is smooth and unmarred, so I sort of hate to paint it.  The whole reason I bought it was to paint it, so it’s getting painted.

Don’t worry, I’ll treat it well.

I think this is a piece that will look good either way, though.  Great as is and great painted.

Painting it will bring out some of the details a little more, which I like.

While I was working on this dresser, I took the opportunity to make a video sharing how I prep a piece of furniture to paint.  I went over sanding (and the reasons for it, tools used), removing the hardware, and removing contact paper from the inside of drawers…

How I Prep a Piece of Furniture to Paint

In the video, I use THIS orbital sander and 120 grit sanding discs.  

I didn’t mention it in the video, but another reason I like to sand prior to painting is so there isn’t a glossy finish showing under any distressing or chipping that may happen.  I want any exposed wood to be matte or flat, so it will look more authentic.  A shiny poly finish peeking underneath distressing is a dead giveaway that the piece was recently redone.  The whole point of distressing is to make the paint finish appear as if it has worn over time and the details really matter.  Taking 15 minutes or so to prep a piece creates a good foundation for a beautiful end result.  

After seeing the some of that pretty wood exposed after sanding, I was tempted to continue removing the finish and just rub it with Hemp Oil…

…but, I have other plans for it.

On another note, I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we got some snow Sunday.  While I was working on this piece yesterday, it cold and breezy and the snow hadn’t yet melted in the shade.  Leaves were scurrying across the pavement with every gust of wind and it was so cold that my hands were turning pink and my nose started running.  All of that to say that I’m missing my big studio in PA.

However, there is something authentic about working on furniture the way most people do…on my driveway, in my garage, in the house, and just finding a way to make it all work.

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Inspiring European Style Makeovers with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint