It’s been some time since I took photos of a furniture makeover from start to finish, including everything in between. When it’s time to work on a piece, I get so darn excited that I go into makeover mode and taking photos to document the process becomes an afterthought. The process is so automatic at this point that I get into the painting zone and before I know it, I’m halfway through and I realized I never took a “before” shot!
When it was time to work on a second pair of nightstands for the Spring Barn Market, I did my best to sloooooow down and document the process entirely.
These nightstands were the sides of a vanity at one point. I found them on Facebook Marketplace and drove to Northern Maryland to pick them up. They are incredibly solid and well-built. I started their makeover by giving them a very thorough scuff with 100 grit sandpaper. I even used 80 grit in some spots that were particularly stubborn.
Perhaps I went a little too hard, but I didn’t want these nightstands to be overly chippy.
I made sure to smooth out these spots on the bottom where the base of the vanity attached to the sides. I filled in a small hole with wood putty and sanded it smooth.
And then I wiped everything down with an oil-free tack cloth. These kind aren’t sticky and they get rid of dust better than using a vacuum!
The brand that I use is “Dust Pro Oil Free Tack Cloths”. They do a great job picking up the particles left behind after sanding. They help produce a perfect end result and are designed for use on water base finishes because there is no linseed oil added to the cloth.
Once the nightstands that were dust free, I mixed up some of the newest Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint color, Aviary. This color is not available yet for retail purchase, but we have the recipe as MMS Milk Paint retailers and can use it on pieces we’re selling to promote the color. It shouldn’t be too much longer before it’s officially released, so hang in there!
Photo by Chris Hardine of Midwest Cottage and Finds
Photo by Miss Mustard Seed
Aviary is the prettiest steely blue gray. It’s much darker than Bergere and more blue than Shutter Gray and Trophy. It’s quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite colors to work with, and I chose it because it matched the lovely original metal knobs.
I mixed up a batch of Aviary and added in some of Miss Mustard Seed’s Bonding Agent.
I didn’t want the piece to chip very much, so my first coat was applied using Bonding Agent. When you add this product into your mixed MMS Milk Paint, it creates a tinted primer, essentially.
I brushed on Aviary with my F50 Cling On! brush. I really like using this brand of brush, but you can use any paintbrush you have on hand when you’re using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. It’s super forgiving with brush strokes because it soaks in like a stain rather than laying on the top like thicker more modern paint.
The coverage was great!
Pretty soon, one nightstand was covered.
And then two!
It took two coats total to get the coverage I was looking for. I find that when I use blue/gray colors, I typically only need two coats. I did not use Bonding Agent in my second coat because I had it in the first. Sometimes when you follow this painting method, the second coat of paint will chip a bit, but not nearly as much as it would have if you didn’t use Bonding Agent in the first coat. That’s exactly what I was looking for. Just a little bit of chipping.
To smooth out the gritty feeling of the MMS Milk Paint, I used 400 grit to finish sand every surface of the nightstands.
Taking the time to use this fine of a grit to finish sand ensures a super smooth feel.
Once the pieces were smooth, I went back with 150 grit and did some minor distressing to highlight the shape of the piece
I painted the piece with the drawers shut, so to clean them up a bit, I stuck a screwdriver into the holes where the knobs went.
I gently pried them open…
…and then cleaned up the edges with sandpaper. I don’t like painting over the joinery on my pieces, because I think it hides the craftsmanship. I try to keep it just along the edges and the fronts of my drawers. This is one way you can distinguish your furniture painting from others who simply apply a coat of paint and call it a day. Taking the time to clean up your drawers goes a log way in helping your piece look professionally done!
Once all of the sanding was finished, I wiped the nightstands down with another oil free tack cloth.
See how well they grab dust?
The insides of the drawers looked worse than they really were. All they needed was some hydration, so I used some of Howard’s Feed-N-Wax and they shined right up. I buy mine from Morgantown Market, but typically antique and hardware stores sell this product.
I dribbled some of the Feed-N-Wax inside the drawers.
And used a shop rag to wipe it all around. I did the inside bottom, sides, and the outside edges too.
It was like night and day! I used a razor blade to scrape off those crusty pink spots in the lower left corner. I’m not sure what that stuff was, but it sure was crusty!
To seal the nightstands, I used Hemp Oil.
It’s so easy to apply and it deepens the color of MMS Milk Paint like none other.
See the difference it makes?
I applied the Hemp Oil all over the piece and let it soak in for a day. I find that it creates a more even finish and I have less to wipe off because it has soaked in so deeply.
While the nightstands were sitting, I used some more Hemp Oil on the original knobs. Now I wiped those off immediately. If Hemp Oil sits on metal for too long, it will get sticky and tacky. Wood is a different story.
See those tiny prongs at the end?
Those line up with the holes that are on either side of the big hole in the photo below. Sometimes you’ll see these prongs on knobs, and they’re meant to keep the knob from spinning in the hole.
You just line them up, gently tap them back in and use the screw to tighten everything up!
Here’s where the nightstands were at this point in the makeover. The bottom 2 drawers were out of order, but it was okay. Everything was drying at this stage.
And here, you can see how I cleaned up the sides of the drawers and the top.
Once the nightstands were dry and wiped down, I brought them up from the basement workshop and got them ready for their beauty shots.
Are you ready?
Didn’t they turn out so cute?
I was so happy snapping photos that I failed to notice that I had the drawers all mixed up. Compare the photo below to the one above. Do you see where they’re out of order?
I was about 10 photos into their shoot, so it wasn’t too hard to put the drawers back where they belong and back track to get proper photos. It actually made me chuckle. Only a furniture flipper would need to keep track of drawer order!
I paired the nightstands with a lovely basket and cotton wreath. My matching brown transferware pitchers tied in nicely!
The aspect of MMS Milk Paint that I absolutely love is that it soaks in like a stain and you can still see the original texture of the piece underneath. Take this top drawer for example. Can you see the little bumps that almost look like gator skin? That’s called “gatoring” and it happens when the original oil finish expands and contracts due to shifting temperatures. The finish buckles and puddles, then hardens, forming those charming little bumps. I personally love gatoring, and it’s so much fun to paint over.
Those metal knobs look lovely now that they’re shined up with Hemp Oil.
I did get some tiny patches of chipping.
The legs on these nightstands are so sweet and simple.
The drawers look fabulous with their hydrating coat of Feed-N-Wax.
They’re so much cleaner inside!
These nightstands are coming with me to the Spring Barn Market at Pheasant Run Antiques on April 28th. You can read more about the event here. If you’re interested in this pair, you can contact me and place them on hold ahead of time and pick them up the day of the event. Holds are good until noon and then they become free game for anyone to purchase.
The nightstands measure 15.5″ wide, 19″ deep and 28″ tall. They’re $250 for the pair, or $125 each. Perhaps they’ll become a part of your home decor soon!