The Flow Blue Milk Paint Sideboard

by | Jul 20, 2021 | Farmhouse Furniture, Refurbishing Furniture | 3 comments

Do you want to know how flow blue milk paint looks on an antique sideboard?  I will walk you though the process of refinishing this sideboard.

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The Backstory

Truth be told – photographs for this post were a serious challenge.  Let’s just get that out in the air – front and center.  Here in the northeast for the ENTIRE month of July it has been raining.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Rainy weather = not much natural light in the house = many a dark photo.  I took the after photos of this sideboard when, for 5 whole minutes, on a Sunday afternoon, the sun came out.

As a result of the numerous attempts to take photos of this project, I am suddenly inspired to upgrade my camera.  However, that is a topic of conversation for another day.

Today’s post is about this antique sideboard and how it came back to life.

The Flow Blue Milk Paint Sideboard

Photo: Sky Lark House

Now technically, there was nothing really wrong with this piece.  It was built out of solid oak (Hello muscles I didn’t know I had) and everything functioned really well, including the charming little wheels on the bottom.

I bought this piece from an elderly woman who was moving to Florida. She said, this sideboard belonged to her mother.  She also said “Unfortunately, none of my kids want it”. This is something I hear a lot.   So many people have really great antique pieces of furniture that their kids just don’t want.  I have mixed feelings about this reality.  My first thought is “What? No way. That’s crazy! How can your kids not want this?”.  My second thought is “Awesome.  I will give it a good home and promise to take really good care of your furniture.”

Photo: Sky Lark House

As I said, everything functioned well on this piece of furniture.  So, here’s the catch – it had a terrible paint job. (You knew there was a catch – right?)  It was old, thick, and gloppy paint.

Photo: Sky Lark House

So here is the story of how this antique sideboard got a makeover.

Day 1: Strip Off the Old Paint (AKA The “That wasn’t so bad” part)

The first step in the process was to remove all the old paint.  I used Citristrip to remove the old paint from the top and the drawers.  First, I removed all the drawers and removed all the hardware on each drawer.  Then I applied Citristrip to each drawer and the top of the piece of furniture.  Once everything was coated with the stripper, I then covered all the pieces with saran-wrap and let it sit for a couple hours.

When I removed the old paint- I scraped it into a large plastic container.

Photo: Sky Lark House

By the end of Day 1.  I had the top and drawers free from the old paint.

Photo: Sky Lark House

At this point, I felt like the piece of furniture was already looking better. I wiped the top and drawers down with denatured alcohol and steel wool to remove the gummy residue that the stripper left behind.

Photo: Sky Lark House

The photo above shows the progress made during Day 1.  I was particularly happy with how the top turned out. At this point in the project, I packed up my stuff and called it a night.  Hey – that wasn’t so bad.

Day 2 : Strip Off The Rest of The Old Paint (AKA The not so fun part)

I would love to tell you that refurbishing furniture is a walk in the park.  The truth of the matter is, it takes patience, practice and sometimes experience.  To remove the rest of the paint on this piece of furniture, I used a variety of techniques.  Because the paint was so thick, I found a heat gun worked best for those areas that were flat.  For the remaining areas, I used sandpaper to remove the paint.

Photo: Sky Lark House

There isn’t much more to the work on this day than that.  Lots of scraping when using a heat gun and lots of sanding.  This just requires patience and a willingness to get through the “ugly phase” of the project.  If I could give you one piece of advice at this stage – don’t give up.  Every piece of furniture has to go through the ugly phase before it can be pretty again. This phase definitely was not fun.

Day 3: Paint Her Up! (This is the fun part)

Wait! Hang on.  I forgot to mention some other important steps that I took before painting.  First, I vacuumed the piece and every little crevice.  Next, I mixed up a bucket of Krud Kutter concentrate with warm water.  I spent about an hour cleaning the outside and inside of the piece of furniture.  It was pretty gross.  The water was black when I was done.

Photo: Sky Lark House

After cleaning the piece of furniture, I mixed up some milk paint. I decided to use Flow Blue because 1. I had a couple of bags in my stash of flow blue milk paint and 2. There is a contest that I hope to enter this piece of furniture into and it could be painted only a few select colors.  One of those colors was Flow Blue.

Milk paint comes in a powder and it requires the addition of water for it to become a paint.  The ratio is 1 part powder to 1 part water.  Further, after mixing the paint – you will need to let it sit for about 20 minutes.  This process allows the paint to thicken and creates a consistency almost like pancake batter.

While the Flow Blue milk paint was setting up – I took the sideboard and drawers outside into the driveway where the sun was out for a short period of time.  This helped to accelerate the drying process.

I wiped everything down one last time with a dry cloth and then applied the paint.

Photo: Sky Lark House

The photo above shows the first coat of paint as it was drying.

Photo: Sky Lark House

Here is the main body of the piece with the first coat of paint still drying.  By the way, did you notice how CLEAN that drawer cavity is on the bottom?

Two coats of Flow Blue milk paint were applied.

Photo: Sky Lark House

I could not believe the transformation that was occurring and was beginning to remember why I like to refurbish furniture and I was having fun again.

Photo: Sky Lark House

After the paint dried, I went over the entire piece with 180 grit sandpaper. This is how she looked at the end of Day 3.  That was rewarding!  Also, see those “new” glass knobs?  They are actually antique glass knobs from France.  I was waiting for the perfect project in which to use them.

Day 4: Waxing and Staging (AKA The Finishing Touches)

On Day 4, I went out early in the morning and applied Miss Mustard Seed clear furniture wax and buffed-off any extra wax. Then, I asked Mr. SLH to help me move this blue beauty into our home to stage and photograph.  At this point, I did a lot of waiting for the sun to come out.

Photo: Sky Lark House

I love the subtle variation in the color – milk paint has such a depth of character that is fitting for old pieces of furniture.  After adding more props and moving some items around, I waited again for the sun to come out.

Photo: Sky Lark House

Photo: Sky Lark House

My favorite part is how the glass knobs compliment the piece. Don’t you think these antique glass knobs from France found the perfect home?

Photo: Sky Lark House

Thank you for stopping by the blog today.  I hope – if nothing else- you found some inspiration to push through the most difficult part of refurbishing furniture.  Or perhaps, you found some inspiration to endure endlessly rainy weather to wait for sunshine.  Really – it’s the same thing.

3 Comments

  1. Brenda Amunrud

    Lovely, just lovely! The color reminds me of blue jeans. I would have taken that piece if my mom had given me one! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Sky Lark House

      Hello Brenda -Thanks so much for commenting. Yes! Blue jeans is a perfect description.

      Reply
    • Sky Lark House

      Thank you Brenda! I know! Can you believe they didn’t want it?

      Reply

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