September 21, 2018

Milk Paint: A Series

How to Distress & Finish  

Hello Branch Tribe,

We're excited to share with you the final steps to our Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint series. We've had so much fun creating these blog posts & videos for you! In this blog post we'll be teaching you how to distress & seal/finish your piece.

Milk paint is a powder that needs to be mixed with water before using. Learn more about how to do this in our Mixing Milk Paint blog post.

Also, learn about how to apply the first layer of Milk Paint to raw wood.

Then, learn about how to layer Milk Paint colours.

Now let's get going on the distressing and finishing!


Distressing is good for a few different purposes...

  1. Hides imperfections in the paint.
  2. Brings out details and adds interest.
  3. Creates a sense of a historey and age.

There are a couple different techniques you can do to distress a piece:

  1. Handsanding with sanding sponge or sandpaper
    • Start with a medium grit to remove paint
    • Finish with a fine paper to smooth
  2. Orbitol sander
    • Gets the job done quick, however, it's not as easy to control the amount of distressing.
  3. Wet sanding
    • Take a lightly damp cloth and rub areas you want to remove paint. This is a great technique if painting indoors because it won't create the dust that the other methods do.

Tips for distressing:

  • Think about how a piece would get worn naturally through everyday life.
    • Corners, edges, handles, keyholes and raised areas will wear quicker. These areas are great spots to distress!
  • Take a step back to look at the overall effect to know when you're happy with the look of your piece.

Serving Tray Project Recap

We applied 2 coats of Curio, then applied a Hemp Oil resist. Then we did 2 coats of Farmhouse White.

Now that our Farmhouse White is completly dry, you will notice the areas where the hemp oil was applied will be chippy and flake up.

This is where we left off and are ready to complete the project by distressing and sealing with hemp oil.

Here's a short video that shows you how we distressed and finished this serving tray we've been working on.

We'll go through a step by step process below.

How to Distress Milk Paint

We've listed above the different ways of distressing. For this project we used the hand sanding method with a sanding sponge.

  1. Start with a medium grit to remove paint.
    • We did this around the areas that would have natural wear. Such as: where the handles will be, edges and some areas in the middle.
    • You'll notice as you distress the paint will flake and come off in the areas you applied the hemp oil.
  2. If you are wanting a bit more, try using the wet sanding method.
    • Grab a cloth and wet it. Then start rubbing areas you want the darker colour to peek through.
  3. Now, take the fine paper to finish.
    • This will smooth and soften the finish.
  4. Once you're happy with the look, vacuum or wipe up the dust.

How to Seal Milk Paint with Hemp Oil

Now your piece is ready for it's top coat. For this project we use MMS Hemp Oil as it works great on milk painted raw wood.

  • Hemp oil is a solvent-free oil finish which provides a protective, water-resistent surface. It can be used on bare new wood, stained milk paint wood or to revive old wood finishes.
  • It doesn't leave a film, chip or scratch.
  • It's food safe and can also be used on stone & cast iron.  
  1. Apply a small amount of hemp oil over your entire project with a clean cloth or natural bristle brush.
  2. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. With a clean cloth gently rub in circular motions to wipe up any excess oil that didn't get absorbed.
  4. For additional sheen and to add even more protection, you can do 2-4 coats of hemp oil.
    • Allow 2 hours dry time between coats.
  5. Repeat step 3 after 12 hours.
  6. The hemp oil will take several days to cure, so it's best not to put anything on it until it's finished curing.
  7. Apply a light coat every other year to revive as needed.

If you have any questions feel free to come in store or send us a message! We love Miss Mustard Seed products and want to make sure you get amazing results.

We're passionate about upcycled + reusing and would love to see your projects, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram and Facebook!

Happy Painting!

The Branch Crew


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