Milk Paint Farmhouse Dresser: Before and After
Sometimes, a piece of furniture you set out to rehab does not turn out the way you envisioned. Sometimes, it turns out better!
I bought this dresser off Craigslist, sight unseen. Well, I didn’t see it anyway. I sent my husband and Dad over to pick it up and truth be told if I had gone along, I probably would have rejected it.
The veneer was peeling off and splintered. And the drawers were falling apart at the seams.
It needed far more work than just a coat of paint to pretty it up. And I certainly wasn’t feeling it. But eventually it got in my way in my garage and I got tired of tripping over it so I set to work. I tried every trick in the book to get that peeling veneer off the top. Wet towels soaking overnight, wet towels and a hot iron, and finally sanding. Trust me I tried a lot of techniques. What I ended up with was a gouged hot mess. There was no saving it! The top was removed and replaced. Luckily, I was able to put my husband on that job.
Once the dresser was repaired, I painted it with Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in Flour Sack. I didn’t use the shellac trick to control the chipping. You can see that technique here. I just let the Milk Paint do it’s thing. And trust me it did. It chipped a lot! More than how I envisioned it would chip. And would you believe I forgot to take pics of that whole process? Bad blogger, bad! But the process was the same as here and here.
This dresser not only chipped, but it crackled too. Which I have to say I love. In fact, I liked it so much I ended up replacing my old bathroom dresser with this “new” one. It has a lot more storage room than the old one.
Interestedly, this piece became a great case study in what Milk Paint does best. Be unpredictable. The front chipped like crazy, the sides not so much. So when I am explaining to people what Milk Paint does and they want to know what it will do on the piece they are painting, I can never give a definitive answer. It might chip a little, it might chip a lot, it might not chip at all.
But that’s what I love about Milk Paint. That unpredictability gives it that authentically aged look. A real farmhouse dresser salvaged from an old house or barn wouldn’t have evenly chippy paint. Or just the edges neatly rubbed away by sand paper. It would be chippy, a little here and a lot there. Or like the new top on this dresser, not chipped at all, just crackled and old-looking.
Now I know I’m really living on the edge here. But I didn’t even seal this piece. Well, not yet. And maybe never. I was so excited to get this to my bathroom that I figured I would wax it right there when I had time. I haven’t gotten to it yet. So it’s becoming an experiment in what happens when you do nothing. Is the paint falling off all over my bathroom floor? No, what’s chipped has chipped and what’s sticking is stuck. Make sense? The worst that has happened is that I left a coffee ring on the top. This is an old dresser I plan to have it for a long time. I’m sure it will end up serving a lot of purposes in its lifetime under my roof. I want it to age even more. I want it to have coffee rings, and dings and dents. I know I’m blowing your control freak minds right? Sometimes you just have to let it go when using Milk Paint. You’re results may be better than you ever could have planned.