Vintage Cabinet Makeover with Milk Paint

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Two and a half years I ago I bought this cabinet at an estate sale with the intention of painting it, but never did. Here’s why:

You know how there’s this certain guilty feeling that comes around when you really want to change something, but the thing you want to change is “nice” or “good quality” or others would probably be upset by the very fact that you did such a thing? That was me with this cabinet.

I found out about this particular estate sale via a Facebook ad on the last day it was going. Usually by the third day all the good stuff is gone or there’s a herd of people throwing elbows to get the remaining stuff clearanced. It was pretty sparse when I got there – with only an hour left to the sale most everything was gone except for a few furniture items. I had gone to the sale specifically looking for this cabinet and a black Windsor chair – both of which I had seen in the ad – totally expecting them to already be gone…

…lo and behold they were both still there! Not only were they still there but they were half off. The original asking price for the cabinet was $300. It was down to $150, so I offered $100 figuring they’d probably like to get it off their hands…and they accepted! It was definitely a close call, though – I had taken the tag off the cabinet and carried it with me to the front table. Just as they accepted my offer, a gentleman came up behind me asking the sales people how much the cabinet was and if it was still for sale! Yikes! Guess it was meant to be.

I bought the cabinet with the intention of painting it. As soon as I got it home (with the very generous help of my In-Laws!), my husband cried, “don’t paint it!” seeing the lovely tiger stripe wood.

I admitted it was nice vintage wood.

And so it sat, in my basement, for 2.5 years, piled with stuff, with me never really loving it and it feeling too dark and heavy and uninspiring….

…until a few weeks ago when I finally said, “You know what? It makes no sense – keeping something a way I don’t like it just because I’m supposed to value and like it that way.”

And so I painted it.

And I love it.

This was my first time working with milk paint.

I used Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in “Lucketts Green” for the exterior and “Linen” for the interior. I wanted something cheerful and fun and this definitely fit the bill! I purchased the paint from a lady on Ebay who was clearing out her supply after closing her shop. Mine was the original formula; they’ve since changed their paint formula to be completely natural and eco-friendly. You can find retailers that sell the paint here.

The paint was super easy to use – you literally just mix the powder together with water in a container, wait a few minutes, mix again, then paint away! I used a 1:1 ratio of paint to water but you can adjust according to what amount of coverage you want. I just used a regular old paint brush from the hardware store.

One thing I did find was that keeping a light hand while painting produced a better result – pushing too hard seemed to rub the paint off as I went.

Also, be sure to clean your piece before beginning. I like to give my furniture pieces a quick wipe down with Simple Green All-purpose Cleaner – it takes away grease, odors, and dirt.

I am seriously enjoying my cabinet so much more now! It makes me smile when I see it. I’ve even intentionally gone over to my craft area for no other reason than to just smile at my cabinet.

I hope the biggest take away you get from this post is not so much painting furniture or using milk paint, but to stay true to your style – to make your space one that makes you smile, no matter if other people like it or not.

I mean, if other people live in your house you have to respect that…but you know what I mean!

Happy creating!


Please note that this page contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I truly appreciate your support! Click here to learn more.

2 thoughts on “Vintage Cabinet Makeover with Milk Paint

  1. I love how this cabinet turned out, it looks so fresh and pretty! The information about the paint is very helpful. I’m hoping to paint my hutch in the next couple of weeks and have been trying to decide which type of paint to use.


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