freshly formulated matte tough coat

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.

Miss Mustard Seed-1342

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.

Miss Mustard Seed-1419

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?

  1. It has a matte finish, which is very fitting for milk paint and antique pieces.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It is fantastic for sealing chippiness to keep it under control or to make it more practical for everyday use.
  5. 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!

10 thoughts on “freshly formulated matte tough coat

  1. Jen Banker

    You mentioned using it to prevent the dreaded pink bleed through-which I’m very excited about! How does the milk paint take to it though? Will it stick to it pretty well or will it chip?

  2. Cathy

    I cannot wait to try this! I hate yellowed whites. I get so frustrated with pink bleed. And I love the fact that it will dry smooth. THANK YOU for yet another great product!!

  3. Emily

    Would I be able to put this in nail holes to fill them or would it yellow like poly? Also can it be applied over poly? I’ve got a table with barn board top. I don’t want it super shiny but want the dips and grooves smooth so it’s easier to clean. It already has several coats of poly on it. Thanks

  4. Laura Ferguson

    I recently used the tough coat to finish a bathroom vanity that I had painted with a mixture of boxwood and flow blue. On a few sections of the vanity the tough coat dried very white and streaky (resembles the glaze on a raised donut). I’m not sure if I need to add another coat or if I just need to take the sander to it. I would appreciate any advice before I resort to the sanding block, as I’d have to mix up more paint and I fear it won’t quite match the rest of the vanity. Thank you for your help!

    1. Sandra C

      In having the same issue with Top Coat, Laura. Dud anyone ever respond – & what was their advice? Eeek!

      1. Marian Parsons


        Sorry you’re having this trouble! This can happen sometimes with Tough Coat over dark colors. It helps if you apply it in thin coats and if you swirl the bottle prior to application. If it is streaky, you do have to reapply a light coat of paint to cover it and apply the finish again. If you don’t have enough product to finish your project, you can e-mail Marian directly.

  5. Julie

    Just wondering if this would be suitable for kitchen cabinets as I’m not looking for a distressed finish but rather your colors. Is there another product you would recommend to go over your milk paint to create a tougher finish?

  6. Roni noffz

    I just painted my coffee table with the artissimo milk paint. I like
    The chalky appearance but if the table gets wet will it ruin the paint? Should I use the tough coat sealer to protect it?

  7. Fanny

    Hello, I’m looking for a Matt top coat/ sealer to waterproof terracotta plant pots I want to paint with milk paint – the pots will be for outside deck/garden use. Would this be suitable? If not, what do you suggest? Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *