Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Coffee Table

Since I painted this coffee table three months ago, I guess it’s time to write about it.

I found the table on Craigslist for $15 in Conway, AR. (See why I love Craigslist???)  It is solid wood and heavy.  I didn’t hate it as it was, but I was looking to experiment with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint line, and I figured a $15 table was a good, risk-free place to start.

I bought Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in “Grainsack” as well as the bonding agent, which looks sort of like runny glue, and the hemp oil at Reinvented Vintage in west Little Rock. (Find stores near you who carry milk paint here.)

I watched these short video tutorials on painting with milk paint and decided that since the finish on the coffee table was so shiny, I would add bonding agent to the first coat.  Then I did a second coat of just milk paint followed by an application of the hemp oil to seal it.


I left the top in the natural finish because I have never had good luck painting such a large horizontal surface. Plus, the glossy finish on top makes for easy cleaning. Oh, and I like how it looks.

If you wanted a more distressed look, you could sand the corners and places that would naturally wear before you applied the oil.  You could also skip the bonding agent.  I was not looking for something too distressed- just worn. Plus, I was experimenting and wanted to see how the full process would turn out.

I’m pleased with the result, especially the inconsistency in finish from the brush strokes and varying degrees of the paint adherence to the surfaces.  I love that it looks aged and hand-painted, but not too contrived.  (Ask me sometime about when people take beautiful pieces, paint them, sand them beyond repair, and apply streaky antiquing wax in ridiculous amounts.)

Happy painting!


  1. I have an old coffee table that we used for over 20 years. It has held many magazines, snacks and tired feet. That table is in need of a make over and you have given me an idea to sand the top and finish it and then paint the sides and legs for a new look. Now, I just have to choose a color.

    1. Picking a color is always the hard part. I'm glad you have a direction to go with the table! Send a pic when it's all finished!

  2. Is milk paint similar to chalk paint?

    1. Hey Rebecca! Sorry I'm just now responding. Milk and chalk paint give a piece a similar style (worn, antique), but there are some differences. Milk paint is sold as a powder and must be mixed with water and used within a few days of mixing. It acts almost more like a stain, as it soaks into the wood nicely. Milk paint does have to be stirred frequently during application. When you're applying it, milk paint will feel different because it's thinner. I'm more a fan of milk paint because it doesn't have to be sanded to yield a worn look (but you can sand/distress if you want to). Chalk paint is thicker and comes already mixed. It has lots of options with different waxes. Both are kind of expensive compared to latex paint. Hope this helps!

  3. I am a little overly obsessed with the look of stained wood on top of a painted piece, so I think you made the right decision keeping the top the way it was! Love it!