MMSMP on metal


This little card file is (for now) the last post in my series of experiments with using MMSMP on metal. I’ve had this piece for quite a while. It’s been sitting out in the barn alongside the vintage rolling cart (click to see that finished project). I got the card file for free; it was left behind in a vacated law office in the building where my husband works. I grabbed it because I had seen this magazine cover:


Cottages & Bungalows Magazine, June/July 2014

and I wondered if I could replicate the look of that red and white beauty there.

But – it sat there – out in the barn – collecting dust because, as I said in another post about painting on metal, “I just felt like it was going to be…difficult or…something…“. This is actually the piece that gave me that feeling the most. It was so…charmless. Modern. Shiny.



But – you know there is something very freeing about painting something that you have gotten for free and to which you have zero attachment.

Absolutely nothing to lose.

I did face the same dilemma that I always face though. I always want SOME amount of chipping – thus I almost never use Bonding Agent. Sometimes I get stuck between thinking that something will be too chippy without Bonding Agent and using it – and getting no chipping at all.
This little card file was really shiny and I assumed the paint might not stick at all without Bonding Agent. But – I also thought it would remain totally charmless with a “straight” paint job. The appeal of the inspiration piece is really in the age (real or created) so that’s what I needed to replicate.

Again, nothing to lose!

I painted the card file in a combo of MMSMP in Tricycle and Linen. I used no Bonding Agent and I finished the piece with a single layer of Tough Coat (old formulation).


As you can see – the “ugly phase” was strong in this piece. The first cost of paint did NOT seem like much of an improvement.


However – with 2 more coats of Tricycle – it really started to shape up. There was a only a little bit of natural chipping on the front of the file and a bit more one side. I’m fairly certain that I caused the chipping on the side by using a fan to speed the drying process on the final coat. I arrested the amount of chipping by covering the entire piece with Tough Coat. It enhanced the color and gave it a subtle sheen.

Note: Milk paint dries really quickly. Compared to latex paint – it dries almost instantaneously. I could have let the paint dry on its own if I weren’t so darn impatient – and I don’t think it would have chipped on the side at all. Luckily – I LIKE the way it came out.

Here is a close up of the largest area of chipping as it was happening…


And here is the part on the front that chipped – this may actually have been from “hand oils” as it’s in a place where you would naturally touch the card file…


But that was about the extent of the chipping. I went for the Tough Coat finish because I thought the chipping might decide to continue as time went on – it came out a little “brush strokey” – but I think that adds to the age and imperfection of the piece.


Now: a note on using Tough Coat on a piece like this (one that is painted with two very different colors). My advice is to put a very small amount of the product into a plastic cup and use that to dip your brush. While brushing it onto the Tricycle – the Tough Coat in your cup will color…and then you can’t use it on the Linen sections. I dispense small amounts at a time – so that I don’t accidentally waste any.

unused Tough Coat on the LEFT -- Tough Coat used for Tricycle on the RIGHT

unused Tough Coat on the LEFT — Tough Coat used for Tricycle on the RIGHT

I staged it up in a little sewing corner – similar to the magazine cover…


SO! Based on my “experiments” so far I know that I’ll be painting more metal pieces. I’m so impressed with how well it works that I’ve now got a whole new category of vintage items to shop for.

And lots more things to PAINT!


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