Last Saturday, I ventured up the coast to Ventura, California to take a milk paint class from Mary Livingston. She has an adorable shop called Lavender Blue and she just recently expanded her store to larger quarters. Mary has been painting with milk paint since she was in high school. Our class lasted around 3 hours and during that short period of time Mary shared so many tips and tricks that she has learned from her many years of experience.
Primitives are not for everyone, but where I live and sell, original peely paint pieces are highly sought after and coveted, and although I have tried to attain this look with every paint and special effects product on the market I have never been able to replicate an original paint finish. Until now!
I can't give you all of Mary's secrets because she is writing a book, but I can tell you the tools I used, and by the way, Mary has her own line of milk paint. It's called Lavender Blue. This product really delivers. See all that glorious crackle? I didn't have to use glue or a crackle medium either.
I painted the cabinet with Calendula which is an old yellow color. Then I top coated with French Linen which is a white. I'm a mix and match kind of person, so I started with a candle stick. This is my own trick so I can share it with you. I rub my corners and any place on my piece that would receive natural wear. Then I paint my piece. When I sand those areas that are waxed, the paint falls away unevenly like it was worn that way over the years. So yes, I did rub this piece down with the candle. I did not use a binding agent either with the paint because I could get the aged finish much better without it.
I used a heat gun to dry the paint and I worked in small sections. I painted a side and then dried it with my heat gun. Then I went to the other side. Then I did a door and then the other door. Working in small sections helped me concentrate until I reached the desired aged look I was going for. I also rubbed a little Annie Sloan clear wax here and there. I'm not sure it's compatible with the milk paint because it is an oilier wax so next time I will stick with the Lavender Blue wax. This all sounds like it took me forever, but the cabinet was done start to finish in around two hours.
When all the painting was completed and dried, I scraped it with a paint scraper to get any flaking that occurred with the heat gun. Then I gave it a rub down with a wet cloth. The wet cloth helped expose the Calendula that was hiding under the French Linen color. Milk paint will wash right off if it's not sealed with a sealer such as wax or hemp oil. Next I took a fine grit sanding block and just sanded enough to knock off any more loose paint and to gain a little more patina.
When all of this was completed, I rubbed it down with a light coat of clear wax mixed with a little dark wax. Mary's wax is more like a thick hand cream and, therefore, it is much easier to manipulate into the crevices than a harder wax. This look isn't for everyone, but if you love aged patina like I do and many of our customers do, then I strongly suggest you give milk paint a try. Below is the before picture. Milk paint gave this cabinet an amazing transformation and so did Mary's wonderful class.
Lavender Blue has a website and they do ship the milk paint and the accompanying products. Their website is http://www.lavenderblueventura.com.
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