If you want to add a touch of rustic charm to your home, there’s no better way to do it than by upcycling or refinishing a piece of furniture with milk paint.

To us, rustic style encompasses a laid-back look with warm, natural materials, weathered or distressed wood, and a creative, do-it-yourself attitude.

What You’ll Need:

With milk paint, it’s easy to achieve a distressed, two-tone rustic look. Here are a few things you’ll need:

  • Milk paint in two different colors. Choose an underlying color and a top color. The underlying color will be exposed slightly on ‘worn out’ areas. You may like to have contrasting colors (for example, salmon and moss green for a more noticeably rustic look), or two similar colors for a more subtle look.)
  • Brush (any natural bristle brush works well)
  • Rag and bucket of water
  • Burnishing paste (low-sheen)
  • Sandpaper (optional)

Easy Instructions and Painting Tips

  1. Apply one coat of your underlying color. It’s important to paint following the grain. If you happen to paint against the grain, when you distress certain areas, you’ll notice the brush strokes.
  2. Let dry for about two hours.
  3. Lightly sand the dried paint. Apply a light second coat of the underlying color. Let it dry overnight to harden.
  4. Apply one coat of the top color and let dry overnight. If you try to paint the underlying color and the top color on the same day, the colors may get muddled. Once you have your piece of furniture completely painted in the two coats of underlying color and one coat of top color and have allowed it to dry overnight, you can begin distressing it.
  5. Wet a rag in a bucket of water and wring it out completely so that it is just damp.
  6. Rub the rag over areas you’d like to distress. Some natural areas that would have wear and tear are the bottom edges, sides and anywhere that hands will be in contact with such as near handles. You’ll notice that the color comes off slightly from rubbing with a damp rag for a subtle look. If you would like a more distressed look, use sandpaper.
  7. Once you’ve finished distressing your piece, we like to use a low-sheen burnishing paste to add a protective layer and make the piece easier to wash and clean. This is an acrylic paste that slightly darkens the color but is an easy finishing solution to your distressed piece. Brush on the burnishing paste with a brush to completely cover your furniture.

Voila! You’ve created a one-of-a-kind piece of distressed furniture that adds character and charm to your home.

For more information we have a video tutorial on how to distress furniture using Real Milk Paint.