This morning I added a coat of pitch black milk paint to my sack-back chair.
After you strain milk paint, it’s a lot more like adding a colored wash than it is like painting. (It’s funny how my wife doesn’t even bother asking me what I want her old pantyhose for anymore.)
As Michael Dunbar states in his article in our February 2010 issue, it’s really best to work milk paint differently than you would latex. Don’t let the paint puddle or build up. Keep stretching it with your brush and go for a thin and even coat.
This helps prevent a blotchy finish, which is exactly the problem I had when I used milk paint for the first time 13 years ago.
Tonight I’ll rub the paint down a little bit with burlap (thanks for the tip Joel Jackson!), then spread a thin coat of wiping varnish on it.
I was surprised to see all the comments from people who were distressed that I was going to distress this piece. But the bottom line is that I want the piece to fit in with our home’s decor, which is filled with antiques and my furniture, which our children have lovingly distressed for me.
But believe me, I’m not going to be beating on the thing with keys or burying it in manure or lighting it on fire. Just some judicious rubbing.
Dunbar has a two-part article coming up in our magazine on the politics and process of adding age to furniture. I think it will prompt a lot of spirited discussion. Look for it later this year.
In the meantime, here’s a photo of the effect I’m after. These are two chairs from Dunbar’s home.
- Christopher Schwarz
Chairmaking Resources Worth Checking Out
- The Windsor Institute, where I took my class
- Peter Galbert’s excellent chairmaking blog
- “Chairmaking Simplified” by Kerry Pierce