Things with age, character, patina, depth… they’ve so much more to offer. So much more to tell. Even if you “fake” it.
I started with this little stool from Ikea, and though its finish was sleek and modern, I found the shape charmingly antique. I couldn’t resist trying the same technique I had used on my old pine box, which I have loved.
The process is easy. You’ll need the following:
- a stool (or anything wooden, for that matter)
- dark brown stain
- milk paint* (I used tricycle red by Miss Mustard Seed)
- wax (or some other sealant, like polyurethane)
*Milk paint is a unique product. You can achieve a similar look with other paints (you can seem my tutorial here for achieving the “chippy” look with chalk paint), but milk paint is unique in its vibrant transparency. Though the color is rich, you can almost see the wood grain peeking through…
You begin by staining the wood a dark brown. In retrospect, I might like the stool even more if I had beaten it up a bit or sanded down some places so they would take the stain and paint differently… Maybe add a little more texture. But I can’t complain about the fun of my first staining project with my 3-year-old. (Don’t you just love kids’ hands?!)
Next, add a little vaseline in natural places where the finish would wear: corners, edges, the steps, etc. Then paint the entire stool with the milk paint. Finally, use a sanding block or a scraper to lift the paint in places (it should come off wherever you put vaseline, but milk paint has a tendency to chip in other places, too… embrace it!). Once you like the look, seal the piece with a wax or poly for durability and richness.
I love how this kind of finish complements so many types of decor, from traditional to cottage to even sleeker modern (like my file cabinet I did last summer).
Since I already had the supplies (I originally bought the milk paint for my husband’s dresser last year), my only cost was the $15 stool. For an afternoon of fun with my kid and an adorable accent piece (plus a useful way to help my kids wash their hands!), I’d call that a pretty good deal.
Have you made anything new look old?