MMSMP Finishes – Hemp Oil & Tough Coat

Today, we’re continuing our tour of the fabulous finishes in our MMSMP collection.  We’ve already covered the wax options, and now it’s time to learn about the liquid finishes.  One is an oil and the other is water based.  Both are incredibly versatile and must-have’s in your MMSMP stash.


Hemp Oil is our deepest penetrating and most absorbable finish in the MMSMP line.  It deepens the color of Milk Paint the most of any of the other finishes and it  created by cold pressing hemp seeds and collecting the oil.  The process is very similar to olive oil, but not quite because you use Hemp Oil for finishing furniture and not baking cakes.  Plus, Hemp Oil will not go rancid once it is applied, which is what would happen if you used Olive Oil or Canola Oil on your pieces.  So don’t go to your kitchen cupboard for a substitute!

The hemp seeds that are used to make Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil are grown and pressed in Ontario, Canada without the use of pesticides.  It’s solvent-free and food safe, so it’s ideal to use on surfaces that will come in contact with food.

Photo via Eight Hundred Furniture

As a note, this is a food safe product, but it’s not a food grade product.  Hemp Oil is used for food and health purposes, but we do not recommend our product for that, since it is processed to be a finish, not to maximize flavor and health benefits.   If you would like to use Hemp Oil for cooking or medicinal purpose, purchase it from a grocer.  If you want to use Hemp Oil as a finish, you can buy that from one of our fabulous retailers!

Depending on the pressing that is bottled, Hemp Oil may take on different colors ranging from dark green to light yellow.

One isn’t better than the other and the color difference doesn’t impact the performance of the finish.  They are simply different crops and/or different presses.  Neither of them will yellow (or green) your finishes – even the whites!  They both perform the same when it comes to bringing out the rich color of natural wood or hydrating antiques that have dried out.  Both are applied in the same manner, dry the same and cure the same.  The only difference is literally the color!

Hemp Oil is incredibly versatile and has tons of practical applications.  It can be used as a finish over Milk Paint as a topcoat that seals your project and gives you the deepest and richest color of all our finishes.

It looks fabulous when applied over our darkest colors like Artissimo, Typewriter, Curio, Boxwood and Flow Blue!

You can also apply Hemp Oil on raw wood or antique pieces that are made of wood that have a dried out finish.  Miss Mustard Seed applied Hemp Oil to the dresser below, and the difference is like night and day!

Here’s another example on an old tool box.

Photo via Eight Hundred Furniture

Hemp Oil also works wonders on metal too!  Use it on cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, buckets, wagons and sewing table bases.  Miss Mustard Seed used it on her goat bell she hung over her rocking horse.  It hydrated the metal bell and the leather strap!

It even works on leather shoes too!

Photo via Breida with a b.

You can apply Hemp Oil with a bristle brush or a soft cloth.  It’s as easy as brushing it on and wiping the excess off!  Our favorite method of applying it is to pour a small amount into a cup and brushing it on.

If we have the time, we let it sit overnight to soak in as deeply as possible.  Use a lint-free cloth to rub it gently until the excess is wiped away.  If you want additional sheen and protection, add 2-4 coats.  You can only apply as much as the surface can absorb though, so there is a limit to how much product can be applied.  There should not be oil simply laying on top, so make sure you wipe away all of the excess.  Otherwise, your surface will feel sticky and tacky.

Just like the rest of our finishes, Hemp Oil takes 20 – 30 days to fully cure.  Now during this cure window, remember that this finish is an oil, so we recommend caution when placing linens and papers on top of surfaces that are curing.  Excess oil may leach out from the surface and be absorbed into your fabric or paper.

To maintain a piece of furniture that has been treated with Hemp Oil, simply apply a light coat every other year as needed.  To remove scratches, lightly sand the blemish and then reapply the oil.  This product is not suitable to use outdoors or in moisture prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Watch this video to see how to apply Hemp Oil and get some tips on how to use it in when finish sanding to get a buttery soft finish on Milk Painted pieces!


Tough Coat is the second liquid finish in our collection.  While Hemp Oil is an oil finish that is designed to soak into the surface and cure, Tough Coat is a water-based acrylic polymer resin that is formulated to lay on the surface and dry hard.

It comes in one size (500 ml) and once you start using it, you’ll wish it came in gallons!  Tough Coat is our favorite finish to use on pieces that have a chippy finish.  Whether that chippiness comes from original paint or a MMS Milk Paint finish, Tough Coat is the perfect finish to keep chippy paint in place for good!

Here’s an example of a project where Tough Coat was used to keep original chipping paint in place.  Jenn of Eight Hundred Furniture found a killer antique mantle with lovely chippy paint.  To seal it all up, she applied Tough Coat.  Jenn poured it into a small dish and carefully brushed it on, taking care not to overwork the product.

Tough Coat may darken the look of dry old wood, but see how it created more of a contrast?

Here’s all of that original crusty goodness that was sealed to perfection.

Tough Coat is low odor and is safe to use indoors.  It’s UV tested and will not yellow over time, even when applied over white paint.  If any yellowing does occur, it’s not Tough Coat that is causing it.  There’s something under the surface that is being pulled out.

Tough Coat is ideal to use on high use pieces that will receive a lot of traffic like shelves, headboards and table tops.  Miss Mustard Seed used Tough Coat to seal this Eulalie’s Sky hutch.

Tough Coat dries to the touch quickly and like all of the other finishes, it needs 20-30 days to fully cure.  It should not be used in addition to any of our other finishes, but rather it’s to be used instead of our other finishes.  It should not be combined with waxes or Hemp Oil.  Tough Coat is a stand-alone finish that is intended for interior use only and is not food safe.

The best method of application is with a bristle brush or a foam applicator pad on flat surfaces.  Watch this video to learn how to apply Tough Coat.

Tough Coat can be likened to a clear coat of nail polish.  It is meant to be applied over top of a surface and should not be over worked.  It is designed to lay down and dry hard on the surface.

It has a lovely matte sheen, so you don’t get a shiny finish.  When you open a brand new bottle of Tough Coat or one that has been sitting on the shelf for a long time, gently swirl it in the bottle to combine all of the ingredients.  Shaking will result in bubbles, and those will dry on your finish, leaving a bumpy texture.

Whichever finish you choose to use in our collection, each one will provide you with a beautiful and durable surface that beautifully compliments the old world feel of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  Remember to give the finishes 20-30 full days to set up and cure so they can be at their most durable for you.  Be gentle with your pieces during this cure window and take care to protect them from heat, water and scratchy/heavy objects.

If you have any other questions about our finishes, you can contact us via our website or comment below.

13 thoughts on “MMSMP Finishes – Hemp Oil & Tough Coat

  1. Kathleen

    What finish do you recommend for painted furniture with either stencilling or a transfer?

  2. Deb

    Hi, I have a piece of waxed furniture that I am using in a bathroom am I able to use Tough Coat over the top of the wax?

    1. Jennifer Baker Post author

      Hi Deb! In general, we don’t recommend applying Tough Coat over wax because it’s a water based finish, and they are not compatible with waxes. If you are set on using Tough Coat as your finish, you will need to make sure the pre-existing was finish is completely cured. Then you will need to completely sand it off and repaint your piece. Then finish off with Tough Coat.

  3. Joanne Bolyard

    Can I use milk paint on an outside potting bench? And do I need to put a top coat over the paint? Thank you.

    1. Jennifer Moon

      I’m using white milk paint for my daughter’s bedroom set. She wants the antique look. Is it going to be better to use wax, tough coat or hemp oil for a top coat to protect the finish from an 11 year old girl’s wear and tear? Thank you!

  4. Samantha

    I would like to use MMS Milk Paint on a dining room table and use the Tough Coat on top, since we use it daily. Is this a good choice? And, how do I clean the table? Do I need to reapply the Tough Coat every so often?
    I appreciate your advice!

    1. Jennifer

      Hi Samantha! Tough Coat is a great option for a high traffic piece like a dining room table. If applying to a recently painted surface, allow the surface to dry 24-36 hours before applying it. For maximum durability, apply two coats waiting 2-4 hours between coats. Clean up spills as they occur and use soap and warm water for tougher messes. You may need to reapply the Tough Coat as you use your piece. It depends on the wear and tear its subjected to.

  5. Cat

    Hi there can I use Danish oil or Tung oil as a top coat over my chippy milk paint on an outdoor table and chairs to protect it?

  6. Laura

    Hello! My house is 118 years old and has the original oak floors. Some areas are well worn, and I would like to try MMSMP on the staircase and in the rooms upstairs. I would like to use the color Typewriter, but is it possible to use Tough Coat if I want the floors to have a distressed look? I am not crazy about having to apply Hemp Oil every year. One of the articles said Tough Coat should not be used with darker colors of milk paint? Thanks for your wonderful website!

  7. Stacy

    Do you recommend using Tough Coat after all coats of hemp oil have been applied? I want just a little darker finish…will the Tough Coat give me that look?

  8. Sami V.

    I love using hemp oil for my cutting boards and wooden utensils as it dries, no matter how much oil I use. However, I read hemp oil should not be used on leather because it is a drying oil and will dry the leather out instead of keeping it supple.
    I used hemp oil over a milk painted coffee table and love the look, but any water drips immediately reacts and seems like the paint is leaking. Would more coats of hemp oil stop this or should I use another type of sealer? Kids in the house, so I need a durable piece and don’t always catch spills.


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