Antique Jelly Cupboard

Apr 17, 2018 | General Finishes, Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint, Tough Coat | 0 comments

This jelly cupboard came to me at the same time as my Mustard Seed Yellow Empire Dresser.

It was just as solid as the empire dresser and it had amazing bones.  This piece was just as sturdy as the day it was made.  Its damage was minor and all it needed was a light cleaning and a fresh coat of paint.

Now the jelly cupboard didn’t come to me with this haze all over it.

When it was time to begin work on this piece, my Mom prepped it using a 50/50 mix of Denatured Alcohol and water and spritzed it over the surface.  Then a Scotch Brite pad was used to clean the surface.  That’s when the white haze showed up.  This can develop when you’re preparing an existing lacquer finish.  So the original red finish on this piece was lacquer based, and it was reacting with the Denatured Alcohol.

The haze needs to be removed before you go any further, so if you are going to follow up with an oil based finish, then sand lightly with sandpaper and then wipe down the surface with mineral spirits.

Now I wasn’t going to follow up with an oil based product.  My plan was to prime it and paint over it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – both of which are water based.  To get rid of the haze for water based applications, just sand lightly and skip the Mineral Spirits.  You NEVER want to apply Mineral Spirits when you’re going to follow up with a water based finish.  So if you’ve been cleaning your pieces with Mineral Spirits up to this point and have been putting water based paint on, I strongly recommend switching to Denatured Alcohol and water.

All of these products I’ve been mentioning can be found in the paint aisle of your local hardware store!  It’s an amazing place…

So here goes the sanding to remove the haze.

It came off completely and I used a combination of my vacuum and a few oil free tack cloths to remove it.  You can buy those from me at Morgantown Market if you’re local!  They are amazing at removing dust after sanding.

Once the jelly cupboard was cleaned up inside and out and completely dust free, I used my new go-to primer to lock in that original red finish.

I applied two coats, allowing each coat to dry overnight.  You don’t always have to prime your pieces before you paint, but I strongly recommend you use it in the following circumstances:

  • If your piece has a lot of knots (especially pine pieces).  Knots have high concentrations of tannins (or wood oils) and sap in them and they will seep through your paint, causing bleed through and staining.  This piece of mine had a lot of knots on it. 

  • If you want to cover wood grain. (Primer fills wood grain in, so if you don’t want it to show, you can fill it in.  I love wood grain so I wouldn’t use it for this reason.)

  • If you want to paint a light or white color over dark wood.  Keep in mind that not all dark wood projects will lend themselves to a light or white paint makeover.  You still may get bleed through even if you prime.  Always test first! 

  • If you’re painting a wood that is known to bleed, such as pine or mahogany.

  • If the existing finish on your piece has staining, a lot of red or orange tint to it, like my Grain Sack Counter

  • If your piece is very glossy and sanding it down would take too long

If you want to learn more about General Finishes Stain Blocker, you can watch my Facebook Live post about it here.

(Can I just say that it’s really hard to pause live posts at a good spot when your eyes aren’t closed and your mouth isn’t open from talking?!)

After two coats of Stain Blocker, the jelly cupboard got three coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in a happy aqua color called Eulalie’s Sky.

As you can read in the description above, the color got its inspiration from the color of the sky in a painting by Cindy Austin.  She painted a cow named Eulalie, and Miss Mustard Seed loved it so much, she named a color after it.

I used three coats of paint because my final coat was particularly gritty on the top of my piece, so I gave it a good sanding and recoated it.  You’ll have that from time to time when you use a natural style of paint like a true casein based Milk Paint like Miss Mustard Seed‘s.  It comes with the territory and it’s something that you’ll just have to get used to.  MMS Milk Paint was the perfect choice for this piece because it was so old.  A dead giveaway were the hand-cut dovetails.

I finish sanded my piece with 400 grit sandpaper for ultra smoothness and went around the edges really gently with 220 grit.  This jelly cupboard already has a buyer, and she requested a super light distressing so the white primer would show through.

I sealed the piece up with Tough Coat and washed the original glass knobs in some blue Dawn dish detergent and warm water.  They shined up beautifully!  Here’s how they looked before…

…and here they are after their “bath”.

These glass knobs are original and they’re really big!  I absolutely love when a piece has original glass knobs.  They’re so pretty and sparkly.

Marc helped me get the jelly cupboard upstairs once it was finished.  This puppy is super heavy and ultra chunky.  There’s no veneer here!

I dove into my collection of ironstone pitchers and brought out my favorite steer wall art again for staging.  I thought his colors matched Eulalie’s Sky perfectly.

All of these ironstone pieces are coming with me to the Spring Barn Market on 4/28.

These too!

The inside of the cupboard was cleaned out and I used Hemp Oil on the inside of the doors.  You can see how orange/red the original finish was.

The glass knobs are so SO pretty!  I can’t get enough of them.

The shape of this piece is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s empire in style but still primitive at the same time.  Look at those feet!

As per usual, I took the paint just to the edge of the drawers, making sure not to paint over those gorgeous skinny dovetails.

Like I mentioned earlier, this jelly cupboard already has a buyer, so it’s not available.  I still wanted to capture some beauty shots and document the makeover process.  It’s such a special piece and I think it’s one of the prettiest jelly cupboards I’ve ever done.  I’m so proud of it and I kind of wish I had a place to put it.  But, if I kept all of the pieces that I paint, then I’d have a hobby, not a business!

The jelly cupboard will be delivered this week in between rain showers and windy days here in PA.

Today, my tasks are to deliver a park bench to Morgantown Market, take inventory of my MMS Milk Paint products and place a restocking order for the Spring Barn Market, and restock my own stash of colors.  I’m running low on the gorgeous Eulalie’s Sky, so I plan on picking some of that up for sure!

Oh, and I need to figure out how to stage a brass bed in the living room.  Any thoughts on that one?

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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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