Step-back Cupboard Build #19: Time to watch the paint dry!

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Blog entry by rwyoung posted 09-27-2009 12:59 AM 2116 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Cupboard backboards Part 19 of Step-back Cupboard Build series no next part

The cupboard will be painted with milk paint ( ). I’m using two colors, mustard and barn-red. The paint comes powdered, mix it with water to get a nice paint like consistency. Keep stirring until the powder is well dispersed. Let the mix stand for about 10 or 15 minutes then strain it to remove the lumps.

Milk paint doesn’t have a lot of body especially the light colors. It acts more like a wash coat. So for the mustard I’m going to need to apply three coats. Being water based it will raise the grain so I did a quick wet sanding to the pieces before painting. To apply the paint use a foam brush or a chip brush. Expensive brushes aren’t needed for milk paint, it won’t make it go on any better. After each coat has dried it should be sanded back to level the paint, remove any hairs that came out of the brush and remove the funny bubble marks. I used a fine grit sanding sponge. This makes a lot of “dust” so have some rags handy or maybe the vacuum cleaner and brush attachment.

And don’t panic about the color yet…

To get the final color and protect the paint from water (milk paint is durable but will spot easily) it is necessary to apply linseed oil (BLO). This brings the paint to its final color and helps seal it against water stains. After the oil soaks in you can apply a top coat of wax, shellac or varnish. I chose to apply wax.

Once I got the door re-installed it is back to not fitting the opening. However this time it is just a hair too wide. Since the milk paint is water based, it swelled the wood just a little more than the thickness of a dime! Dang it! But I’m not going to do anything about the fit for at least a week. My bet is that the wood will go back and the door will fit again. If after a week it won’t fit then I’ll take it off and re-plane the door.

All that is left is to make the knob and latch.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

7 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5013 days

#1 posted 09-27-2009 01:09 AM

Nice work!

View Bureaucrat's profile


18341 posts in 4992 days

#2 posted 09-27-2009 03:10 AM

Thanks for the short primer on milk paint. When I saw that first picture of the mustard on the boards I didn’t think very highly of your color choice but the finished product is beautiful. Very cool!

-- Gary D.

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4931 days

#3 posted 09-27-2009 03:42 AM

Very nice cupboard – great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View dustyal's profile


1322 posts in 4815 days

#4 posted 09-27-2009 03:48 AM

Really nice.

Two things I want to try: Aniline Dyes and Milk paint. You’ve given me encouragement.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4917 days

#5 posted 09-27-2009 04:10 AM

View rwyoung's profile


412 posts in 4812 days

#6 posted 09-27-2009 04:42 AM

Everything I read about milk paint and a short discussion with the people at all comes down to those immortal words: “Don’t Panic”. :) My apologies to Douglas Adams.

The final color is not the funky, chalky, overbright color you see when the paint is dry on the wood. Rub in a little BLO and like magic, the paint will transform. The transformation of the brick-red was quite dramatic too. It went from a shade with a touch too much pink good ole’ brick red!

I didn’t mention it above, but as an experiment, on the shelves, I slathered on a coat of “Maloof” finish (1/3 BLO, 1/3 turpentine, 1/3 beeswax) and that worked too. But it took a couple of days for the beeswax to harden. In the end I went back over those with my paste wax (wax cleans wax) to make everything have the same sheen.

And my suspicions about the swell seem to be correct. Already after just 4 hours the door is only a hair too wide. I bet it closes by tomorrow and I have the gap back to even in a week.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View woodchic's profile


841 posts in 4698 days

#7 posted 02-12-2010 11:42 PM

Nice work…................I like red!


-- Robin Renee'

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