Sometimes taking a wrong turn is a good thing… I was heading to my local thrift store last week and missed the turn into the parking lot, so I decided to go back around through the alley. It just so happens that the store takes in all of their furniture donations in the alley, and as I was driving by, I noticed this little demilune table on top of a pile of stuff. I asked the guy that was loading it inside if he could price it for me right away and then headed back to park the car and go inside and grab it. I’m glad I did, because several people were eying it as I headed to the cash register!
I decided I wanted to try some of the milk paint on it that I bought at Lee Valley a few weeks ago. I chose slate for this project and first gave the table a good hand sanding with 120 grit sandpaper. I mixed it with some water until I got a consistency I liked and then got painting. I let the first coat dry overnight, and the next day I was horrified to see the paint flaking off ALL OVER the table! I had read a bit about milk paint flaking a little (which is one reason it’s desirable way to achieve a vintage look), but I wasn’t expecting anything like this! I ended up sanding the table again, repainting, sanding more and repainting until I was satisfied with the look and there was only a little flaking (I sanded these away).
Milk paint really DOES have a mind of its own, and I think it’s one of those things that I’m going to have to learn to love. It’s best used on very porous and untreated wood surfaces – hmmm, I guess I didn’t read the instructions very carefully before I started! Unfortunately, I’m often working on pieces that have previously had some kind of finish. There is an Extra bond additive that you can buy when painting less porous surfaces and I think I will try this next time. I finished off the table with poly acrylic in a satin finish.
Milk paint certainly hasn’t won me over yet, but I’d definitely give it a second chance…