Painting With Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Over the weekend I was in creative painting heaven with Marian, a.k.a….Miss Mustard Seed, her mom, her assistant, and 7 other woman who gathered for a hands-on milk painting workshop.

I had never painted with milk paint before and was excited to learn all about it.


The BYOF (bring your own furniture to paint) workshop was 10 – 3. Marian’s studio is a welcoming and airy light-filled space that is perfect for painting furniture.  It was the perfect day, learning, creating, and making new friends who share the same passions.

You may be asking yourself…what is milk paint? Here is a quick primer:

Milk paint has been around forever, Marian created her line to show people that one of the oldest forms of painting is still relevant today.  It has versatility that no other paint has since it comes in a powder form. This allows you to mix the amount needed for a project, no need to buy a quart or gallon of paint for a small project. It also is unique since you can mix it to the opaqueness you desire. It looks wonderful when you layer one color over top of another to make a chippy and aged finish, and then add a layer of wax or hemp oil to protect the finish.


It even looks fresh and modern left alone, buffed, and shined with wax or used as a color wash over raw wood so the grain will still show through.  When using it this way, it will never chip or peel.  If you want a chippy look, paint it over an existing finish.  There are many ways to use it.  It is a healthy way to paint, too…no VOC’s since it is made with all natural ingredients.


While we waited for everyone to arrive, we introduced ourselves while Marian took a “Before” shot of the piece of furniture we each brought to paint.


Once that was done, drop cloths were laid down and we got to work with Marian explaining every step as we worked.


All of the supplies we needed to paint were out on the tables so we could use and get familiar with what is needed to first mix the paint, then paint, and then add the protective finish.

Here is what I painted: BEFORE


I brought a brand new unfinished IKEA Bekvam Step Stool for my project.  It is for my youngest daughter’s red and yellow kitchen.

Since a coat of milk paint dries within 30 minutes and can be recoated when dry to the touch, we were able to paint our pieces from start to finish at the workshop.  Instant gratification!!!



I used the color, Tricycle, to paint the stool. I used 2 coats. Once dry, I used 160 grit sandpaper to distress the edges and places that would have gotten worn if this was really an old piece of furniture.  I then added dark wax to transform it to look like I unearthed the stool in an old barn.


Before adding the dark wax to the top, I used white acrylic craft paint and a fine-tipped paint brush to paint the design around the stool’s handle.  Once the paint was dry, I rubbed a sanding block over the design to distress it so it would look like it was just as old as the rest of the finish. I then added the dark wax over the entire top and buffed to a subtle shine.

When I got home from the workshop, I added a few more thin coats of dark wax over the finish to darken it more. I was after a deep dark red. I buffed after each coat with an old t-shirt. I repeated this until I liked the deepness of the color.

Helpful Tip:

I did learn a tip about adding wax by watching Marian who uses a brush to apply the wax. She uses a circular motion as she applies wax and then buffs it with a soft cloth.

I always applied wax over my chalk painted pieces in long fluid strokes across the surface with a cloth. This works, but I found I liked the way it looked better when, still using a cloth, I applied the wax using round circular motions instead.

Then buff it with a soft lint-free cloth.  Either a brush or an old worn t-shirt work well when you use a circular motion to apply the wax.


I did learn a tip about adding wax by watching Marian who uses a brush to apply the wax. She uses a circular motion as she applies wax and then buffs it with a soft cloth.

I always applied wax over my chalk painted pieces in long fluid strokes across the surface with a cloth. This works, but I found I liked the way it looked better when, still using a cloth, I applied the wax using round circular motions instead.

Then buff it with a soft lint-free cloth.  Either a brush or an old worn t-shirt work well when you use a circular motion to apply the wax.  

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint is very versatile. You can create many different types of finishes with it.  You can see on the underside how I experimented with using black and red until I got the the color I wanted. I tweaked the mixture until I came up with the deep red color.

To create the opaque red color, I mixed equal parts powder to water.  For creating a color wash over unfinished wood so the wood grain is still visible, you would add more water to the mix.


Here is what one coat looks like.  The paint is best on raw wood, like this stool, as it soaks right into the wood fibers and becomes part of the wood. It will never chip or peel.  It is only when you apply the paint over a previously finished surface that you can achieve the chippy look like the table done by Megan, one of the other workshop attendees. (photo below)


She transformed a previously finished dark wood table with a base coat of Boxwood mixed with MMS Bonding agent. It is a liquid that you add to the powder and water mix. It is needed when painting over previously finished surfaces for adhesion.  Once that coat was dry, she added Luckett’s Green on top.


Before adding the Lucketts Green coat, Marian showed us how to rub a hard beeswax puck across a few sections of the table so the Luckett’s Green coat would not stick in these areas. When the coat of Luckett’s Green was dry, it chipped off easily where the wax was rubbed on. A little sandpaper to distress around the edges helped to give the table the perfectly aged patina in a few hours time.

Hemp Oil was the finish used on this table instead of soft wax or poly.  You can see the slight sheen. It does not feel oily to the touch and will cure in about 30 days.

I enjoyed the day immensely, learned a lot, and made new friends. If you live within driving distance of Marian’s studio near Gettysburg, Pa, I highly recommend attending this workshop or one of the others she has started to hold. It was sad when we completed out pieces and had to leave such a fun-filled and creative environment.

I will be posting soon about the differences between milk paint and chalk paint and why I would use one or the other for different applications. Using it is more about giving you options, one is not better than the other.  Just more creative ways to paint.

To see more before and afters from the workshop and the many different looks you can achieve with the paint, head over to Marian’s blog where she posted the styled photos of each attendee’s piece of furniture.


Before I sign off, I had to include this photo for all my color-loving readers….these peonies were on the counter in the studio. They are a week old and still looked beautiful.  My peonies, even when they are still on the plant, uncut, don’t last a week. :-(

I thought you may enjoy seeing them on this cold February day.  Fresh happy colors, just like Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint colors.

To find out more about the paint or to find a retailer in your area, check out the MMS Milk Paint blog.


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  1. You did such a beautiful job on the stool! Red is my favorite color so I loved it. Do your daughters know how blessed they are to have a talented mother who makes them things?

  2. What a lovely overview! It was great working with you and picking your brain!! I look forward to learning more on your blog. Blessings!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lorraine – I enjoyed the workshop and getting to meet you, I only wish it was longer, the day went by way too quickly. I also enjoyed the yummy chocolates you brought. :-) If you have any more questions on blogging, don’t hesitate to send me an email. Happy Friday XO

  3. Your Post was so timely… I was just looking at this stool wondering what I could do with it… and I just opened your e-mail and read your post. Oh My Goodness…. I need to go and buy the stool and get some of this paint…. Yours came out so nice… Love it… Thank You so much for taking this class and posting about it….


  4. That red stool is absolutely adorable!!!

  5. Great post Diane!
    I’ve been using MMS milk paint for a couple years but still learned a couple things today :)
    You didn’t mention how you mixed it; I usually put it in a jar w/ lid and shake (using cold water).
    Did you use her little mixing tool? And did you use warm or cold water?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda –

      Happy to hear that you learned a few things in my post :-) We mixed the milk paint in glass jars with wood tongue depressors and the little inversion blenders. The water was lukewarm. Marian told us that the color that I used, Tricycle was one of two colors that are hard to mix. I just had to stir until it was smooth. She did tell us about the the jar shaking method, too.

      1. Thanks for the info….reason I ask about the water is b/c most people I know actually mix it with cold water, saying it’s less lumpy (tho I know the packaging says warm water).
        Your red stool turned out beautiful! I love how milk paint makes new pieces look old :)

  6. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Wow! Very interesting…… love the stool. Now to me, that paint look is what I ‘would’ have called “Glazed”, but I am a novice, so good to know about her milk paint and it coming in powdered form…. real winner to me.

    I immediatly thought of my childhood rocker that my daddy, many, many years ago already painted in a similar shade of green……. but I don’t want the chippy look. I have enough with the distressed…… grin. I like that you do not go overboard with that distressing. Here in Florida, with all the humidity, I just don’t want anything purposely distressed….. even with wax, it is not a great thing….. well, less you live hermetically sealed in conditioned air all year. I like to open my windows for most of the year. As they say, to each, their own……. and I really do like it, just not practical for me with my very poor funds. Now if I remember to play the lotto (first have to play) and win it, then it will be a whole ‘nuther’ story with me…… lol.

  7. Your stool looks amazing. I’m a red loving person. I enjoyed reading about your experience with the milk paint. Vikki in VA.

  8. Stephanie @ Casa Watkins says:

    I love the stool! Hmmm I’m already thinking of some things to paint. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for the Peonies, they became my favorite flower a few years ago.

  9. I Iove your step stool especially with the curves and curls you painted. Now I wish I had signed up too. I’m just down road from Marion’s. My peonies are just plain soft pink. i see I need another bush! Linda

  10. What a nice post, Diane. It was nice talking to you at the awesome workshop!

  11. Christy Keytion says:

    I love your stepstool! So glad you had a great time – I thought you would love milk paint. I painted two more things with it today. Milk Paint is fast becoming my “go to favorite” for all my painting projects!

  12. Connie Nikiforoff Designs says:

    There are some pretty neat”redo’s” shown on Miss Mustard Seed’s blog!

    Question: Would you recommend using milk paint on a new unsealed wooden floor? You say it won’t chip or peel with milk paint? That would be awesome for a floor! Of course scratches can/will occur if not sealed, right?

    Now that you’ve got some milk painting experience, let me know what you think of using it on a floor :-)

    Your step stool turned out nicely. I’m sure your daughter will love it! :-D

  13. What a fun event, and the furniture turned out beautiful. That studio is to die for!

  14. Melissa Leach says:

    Very Informative! I can’t wait to learn about the different applications for milk and chalk paint. Thank you.

  15. Beth of designPOST interiors says:

    Looks like a magical place!