Here at Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, we’re always on the lookout for talented artisans who use our products in unique, creative, and beautiful ways.
One day, we were scrolling through Instagram and we noticed a woodcrafter who made the most gorgeous furniture out of reclaimed wood. We drooled over pictures like these:
See why we literally “slowed our scroll”?
These gorgeous creations were made by the wildly talented, Donnie Galli of Designs by Donnie.
Growing up, Donnie had many memories working with his grandfather. Whether they were painting, drawing or building, his grandfather helped to foster a love for making something out of (what felt like) nothing. Pieces of scrap wood became valuable to him in an instant!
Fast forward nearly forty years and Donnie found himself unemployed during the holiday season. While his kids were at school and his wife was at work, he was alone. Instead of drowning in his own sorrows, he walked into his garage and began to make a mess. He started taking old furniture apart and rebuilt it with a vision he had in mind. Just like that, he was on the path that his grandfather paved years prior.
“Designs by Donnie” was born in a garage during (what he considers to be) the lowest point in his life. Every day since then has been a training session for him as he continued to build his dreams one piece at a time.
Donnie’s family is his number one priority and he feels blessed to be able to use his craft and his own to hands to provide for them.
This passion makes every tear, every ER visit and every sore muscle worth it for him!
Donnie has always had an interest in drawing, sketching, and painting, but he could never figure-out how to incorporate that talent into his life on a level more than hobby. (A feeling many of our readers often share with us!) Donnie found that his love for sketching actually fit quite well with his love for designing furniture. He wanted to set himself apart from other furniture makers and learned that only a select few were using curved shapes in their designs, so he started sketching furniture with contoured shapes and eventually that lead him to a ton of inspiration and possibilities. When his clients come to his workshop and describe the style they want, he immediately begins sketching an idea for them. Donnie says it’s incredibly rewarding to see his sketches come to life – literally!
One aspect that makes Donnie’s designs unique is his use of reclaimed lumber. He says this medium allows him to offer his clients custom designed furniture with amazing stories about where the material came from. He says it’s essentially, furniture with a soul! Donnie’s favorite is river/swamp rescued “Sinker Cypress.”
Donnie has been using our MMSMP products on some of his projects and he love how it bonds to wood with significant strength. It doesn’t seem peel or fade, which is a huge benefit for his products. The fact that MMSMP sinks in like a stain rather laying on the surface of raw wood makes this possible! In addition, our paint comes in a powder form, so Donnie gets to play with the amount of water he mixes into it. Sometimes he mixes more water than needed so the Milk Paint will be slightly transparent, acting like a stain or a wash. Considering how often Donnie is around stains, sawdust, and fumes, it’s very important that he use products that will keep his lungs healthy and protected for years to come!
Donnie’s favorite MMSMP product is our Hemp Oil (which we have to agree with)!
Because he mostly works with reclaimed lumber, our Hemp Oil gives a complimentary finish to the old wood. The Hemp Oil doesn’t change the color tones or the natural weathered look to the wood at all. Rather, it simply enhances what’s already there.
Most wood is very porous and Hemp Oil will seal the top and penetrate inside the pores as well, offering extra protection. Donnie has tried many sealers on furniture, and he says that none of them can measured up to MMSMP Hemp Oil. In his opinion, it’s a superior product!
One of Donnie’s most popular designs using our Milk Paint is his whitewashed look. The bench below is actually one of his most favorite pieces he’s created so far!
We shared some of his pieces that were painted in our Farmhouse White and our social media blew up with positive comments, likes, and loves!
We asked Donnie if he would share his secret with us, and he obliged! First, he suggests using this technique on pieces of furniture that have drastic highs and lows in the grain. Old barn wood would be a perfect choice! After he has his grainy wood selected, he covers the entire piece in Farmhouse White mixed to normal rations (1 part MMS Milk Paint powder to 1 part water). He doesn’t do any prep work to the lumber i.e. no sanding or milling. He says this part is critical to achieving his signature look because if you sand the board smooth, then the grain will no longer pop. The wood needs the “highs and lows.” Next, he uses a paint scraper and begins to scrape away the paint. If the blade is sharp, it will remove the paint from the “highs” of the grain and will leave the remaining paint in the “lows.” He recommends scraping about 10 minutes after the Milk Paint is applied, not allowing it to fully dry because its more difficult once completely cured. The scraping works as a smoothing agent as it knocks down the high points of the wood. Once the Milk Paint is totally dry, he applies our Touch Coat or Hemp Oil to seal the piece. Finally, he uses a dry cloth to hand-buff the whole piece using “a bunch of muscle”.
As you can see, the effect is absolutely stunning!
We can’t get enough of Donnie’s designs, and we hope you’ll join us in supporting him in his furniture ventures. You can follow Donnie on Facebook, Instagram, and visit his website to learn more about his inspiring creations!
If you are an artisan who loves using MMSMP products, please reach out to us so we can share your beautiful work! Email Jenn Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your love of Milk Paint!