This post walks you through the transformation of a thrifted rocking horse a makeover using milk paint and clear wax.
This is the time of year everyone is purging! Closets are being cleared out and organized. Boxes in the attics and basements are being sorted through. A good portion of this stuff is donated to local thrift stores. So, mark my words, this is the best time of year for you to go thrifting to see what you can find.
The other day, I was out and about when I came across a small wooden rocking horse. At first glance, I didn’t think it was my style nor did I think I had a use for it. However, when I picked it up, I noticed the horse had some nicely carved details and that it was the perfect size for a table centerpiece. When I studied the rocking horse a bit more, I realized that it would look great if it was given a makeover – particularly if the paint had a patina that looked as if it had been on the horse for years.
The best part, this rocking horse was $8.00. I thought, heck for $8.00, I can’t go wrong.
Today, I will walk you through the steps I used to give this little rocking horse a makeover. This was an easy project and took less than 2 hours from start to finish.
Thrifted Rocking Horse Makeover
As with any project, the first thing we will need to do is gather our supplies. You can apply this technique to any wooden item that you find. I selected this rocking horse because it was a small size and perfect for a table centerpiece. Also, I thought it would be perfect for holding napkins.
- MMS Milk Paint in any color you choose. I used the color ironstone.
- MMS Milk Mix EZ
- A small paint brush. I use Zibra brushes.
- A stir stick
- Painters tape. I used Frog Tape.
- 220 grit sandpaper
- MMS clear wax
Step 1 -Prep work
There was nothing wrong with this rocking horse, it’s simply that I didn’t like the look of the existing paint job.
It’s difficult to tell from the photos, but horse has lovely carved details on its eyes, nose, mane and tail.
It was already clean and didn’t need any repairs. So I simply gave it a light sanding using 220 grit sandpaper and wiped it down thoroughly with a cleaning product. I used Mr. Clean because it contains a degreaser.
Then using some painters tape, I taped off the “rocker” on the bottom. I liked the existing color of the rocker and didn’t want to get any paint on it.
The prep work for this pieces took an estimated total of 20 minutes.
Step 2 – Apply the Paint and Wax
If you are unfamiliar with milk paint, it comes in a powder form. You mix the powder with water using a 1:1 ratio. For this project, I used 1/2 cup of milk paint and 1/2 cup of warm water. Then I added 3-4 drops of MMS milk mix EZ. One of the reasons I use milk paint is because it imparts a time-worn look to pieces. It naturally “chips” when applied to previously painted surfaces and it also has natural crazing. The result is that it makes pieces look as if they are old and storied with a good deal of character.
Once the paint was mixed, I applied it to the rocking horse.
The original painting could still be seen through the first coat of milk paint. Don’t panic if this happens.
Wait about 30 minutes for the paint to dry and then apply a second coat. If necessary, apply a third coat.
This little horse required 3 coats of paint. You can see that once it starts drying, there will be areas of chipping and crazing. Can you see how nicely the carved details show up now that the rocking horse has been painted a uniform color?
You can see the texture the paint creates in the photo above. Doesn’t it look like the horse is 100 years old?
When the horse was completely dry, I gently sanded the entire piece using 220 grit sandpaper and wiped away any dust. Then I sealed it with MMS clear wax.
Step 3 – Enjoy your Thrifted Rocking Horse Makeover
Once your horse has been sealed, you can use it! Of course milk paint is nontoxic and food safe so its entirely safe to use this horse on my table. I thought this would be perfect for holding cloth napkins. It would also look cute with a vase of flowers set in the middle. Below are some images you can pin to your Pinterest account for future reference.
Don’t you love fast and easy projects that generate great results? Me too.
This little rocking horse was perfect on the buffet where folks could get their cutlery, napkin and glass. I love the slight chipping of paint that occurred in various areas.
Here is a little side by side comparison showing the before and after.
Thank you for stopping by the blog today where we work on projects large and small. The place where we also, we love a good old fashioned transformation. One final note, I did try to find a similar rocking horse that you could purchase online. I did not have success. However, I would encourage you to look on Etsy, Ebay and at craft stores, in addition to thrift stores, for similar rocking horses.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy the following milk paint projects: