Thursday, August 4, 2011

Armoire Redo in Milk Paint

Mr. Charming actually brought this Armoire home for me one weekend.
Some women like jewelry, some like flowers, I like old furniture wrecks, and my sweetie knows that. Y
So this post will cover a couple of things ~
1. A vintage armoire gets a makeover and a new purpose. 
2. I’ll cover how to use Milk Paint.
I know everyone has jumped on the Chalk Paint bandwagon, but I happen to think that although the paint might be great, the paint itself is costly. Couple that with shipping costs and a quart of paint could cost $50 or more.
I’ve been wanting to try Milk Paint for some time. Thankfully I found a local Manufacturer for Milk Paint and went and picked up a few bags. Jennylyn was incredibly helpful.  She went over the instructions, the different finishes for it and the TON of colors available, (and if you can’t find a color you like for some reason, just mix up some powders to make your own). Here are some of the products I picked up at Homestead House Paint Co.
armoire milk paint 006a

CONTINUED... (click link below)

I know the thought of actually mixing your own paint might scare you off, but I can’t stress enough how simple this was. Mix the powder with water in a blender and pour in a container.
 armoire milk paint 025a
A few reasons to use Milk Paint:
100% Natural – No chemicals -  Environmentally friendly - No odor – No primer required – Biodegradable – A porous paint that breathes – Clean up is a breeeeeze!
You can make the consistency you want; add water to make a thick paint, or more water to make a thinner wash. During application brush marks will remain to give an authentic, textured, worn finish that a liquid latex flow out does not.  This paint gives a perfect, old world fresco look.
armoire milk paint 013a
Milk paint is easily applied on raw, unfinished wood, but my piece had a shiny finish. With the addition of a bond mixed right in the paint for the first coat only, you can apply it over non-porous (or previously painted) surfaces.  To further ensure a good bond, I scuffed up the shine on the armoire quickly with my power sander.
antique armoire 011a
Here is a peek inside. A crooked stick for a rod and a bag of ‘somethingorother’ hanging off it. 
antique armoire 015
I have NO idea what that was.  Mr. Charming said it was once potpourri, (um..I dunno, what do you think it is ??)
antique armoire 016 
A few modifications were needed.  For some unknown reason someone cut the back legs off this unit, but Mr. Charming reattached them perfectly.  As I’m not sure that Armoires are in high demand anymore, I wanted to make this piece a little more functional so off came the mirrors. 
antique armoire 018a
and on went the shelf supports.
armoire milk paint 002a
I used a thin consistency milk paint on the outside to show more brush strokes and an even thinner wash on the inside. I want this piece to look as authentically old and worn as possible.
armoire milk paint 019a
Now on to finishing. There are all kinds of ways to finish a project and I have products I could have used, but I wanted to try something different. When I asked the people at Homestead House about their Hemp Oil product, they told me to liken it to wetting your finger and putting it on a chalk board.  Without leaving a shine, it brought out the color and distressed areas beautifully. You can apply this with a brush or a rag.  I used both. I brushed it on sparingly and wiped it down with a rag.
armoire milk paint 031a
I love all these products and this is just one reason.  Not only does the Milk paint clean up very quickly with water, but how many top coat finishes do you know that also clean up with soap and water?
armoire milk paint 042a
So in place of the mirrored doors, I used Fiberglass screening in charcoal color.
I purchased these little square dowel pieces and painted them.
armoire milk paint 050a
Lay the screen over the door, stretch and secure with the square dowels with a nail gun.
armoire milk paint 055b
Trim the excess screen with a new sharp exacto knife.
armoire milk paint 057a
With the addition of these awesome, rusted looking handles, the doors are now complete.
armoire milk paint 073a
And that means the project is complete!
armoire milk paint 094b
armoire milk paint 111a
armoire milk paint 121a
The finished and painted wood shelves are nailed in to add extra stability to the entire unit.
armoire milk paint 107a
armoire milk paint 082a
armoire milk paint 088a
armoire milk paint 101a
armoire milk paint 113a
armoire milk paint 114a
Bottom line on this project is, the Milk Paint really set this piece off. The paint looks old, worn and authentic.  I’d use it again… as a matter of fact, I plan to!
armoire milk paint 127a
homestead house
Thanks to Homestead House for all their help
and thanks for reading~

Linking Up to:


  1. I just today picked up some milk paint, so I was excited to see your post about it. My sister used to paint with it years ago and I finally decided I'd give it a try. Glad to see that you liked it also.

  2. It really turned out nice. I was not sure if I would like it as well without the mirrors, but I like it even more. Great job. I am on the lookout for one for my deck to store all my outside pretties from the weather.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous!! It doesn't even look like the same piece. Thanks for all of the tips about milk paint. I haven't used it (or chalk paint) before so I appreciate the info.

  4. Recaptured charm indeed! Love the finished piece and love milk paint. I worked at Lee Valley Tools for a while in my early 20s and discovered it was the perfect fix for some of my shabby (but so NOT chic) furnishings.

  5. MY OH MY! This turned out amazing! Love every bit of it!

  6. OH. MY. GOSH. Are you kidding me? this is absolutely gorgeous. Here's what I love about you. Often times I see the same projects all over blogland (which is totally fine) but there is very little original creativity out there. Not many would think about removing the glass, adding shelves and those fabulous screens. It is fabulous! You are to talented. The finishing work I can handle... creativity... would you pass some along my way?? :)

  7. PS- I totally agree with you on the crazy price of chalk paint, but it too is so amazing to work with. I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog right now for a quart in the color of your choice, and clear wax. There aren't many entries so far, so head on over if you are interested!

  8. You did a fantastic job on this, Lisa! Adding shelves was the perfect thing to do and I love the screen you added to the doors.

  9. Wow, what a transformation! I love the color and the screen doors, so pretty! I haven't tried the milk paint yet, but now I'm dying to! Thanks!

  10. Wow, what a big difference! Love it! Thanks for sharing it and joining in at Farmhouse Friday! xoxo


  11. Totally LOVE this. I love that is that old pie safe look to it now. Thanks for the scoop on the milk paint as well. I have some but haven't used it yet. I think I'm going to give it try now!! Thanks


  12. It's gorgeous! I love how you changed the whole look of the piece.

    Milk paint sounds like more fun than chalk paint, to me. For one thing, I can afford it!

  13. This is truly inspiring. I love it!
    I'm your newest follower!

  14. Lori
    That is exactly the look I was going for. I love the old farmhouse pie safe look. I'm so glad you got that. Not many know about the old pie safes. I actually wanted to buy a pie to put in there for pictures, but I didn't get out :(

  15. this is such a cool piece, great job!

  16. Oooooooooooohhhh, what a transformation. Your blog's other name, you know, when it is in the mood for a change, could be: "Recaptured Charm Transformations"
    I REALLY did not like this piece before. Who knew this lovely gem was waiting to come out? Just fabulous!
    Thanks for all the info on the milk paint. :)

  17. Totally LOVE it!!! Just fabulous!!

    Lou Cinda :)

  18. wow- wow- wow- wow-
    can I say -wow what a fab transforamtion of a great piece to spectacular...


  19. I think this is just beautiful! I have an old armoire outside that I was wondering what to do with and now I know! For some reason, every old cupboard I have brought home has one of those "somethingorothers" in it. Maybe they think it still gives it a nice smell after fifty years :p

  20. What a great product ~ will have to keep it in mind for my next project! As always your piece turned out amazing Lisa ~ bravo once again! Have a fabulous week-end.

  21. Oh my goodness, Lisa, it is gorgeous!!! And I absolutely love the milk paint on it! You're right, it looks more authentic. It's so, well, milky looking. :)

  22. I just love how that came out!! It is beautiful!
    Thank you for showing us the steps of your transformation ~


  23. Your cabinet is just gorgeous. Love your paint and the screen.

    And I thought my simple white paint job was good.... :)

    Nice to visit with you from LaurieAnna's.

  24. Stopping by from LaurieAnna's. Your armoire is beautiful -- the paint job, screened doors and the display.


  25. What a transformation, GORGEOUS!!

  26. I just love this armoire...super job! Thanks for the tips on milk paint. We are new followers!

  27. Now that piece turned out charmingly! Not sure if that is a word but it is wonderful. The color, the screen it is just "charming"
    Smiles, Alice

  28. I forgot to add. Those handles are fab!
    Smiles, Alice

  29. I LOVE it...yes, chalk paint certainly is the rage now...but so expensive...I am going to check out this milk paint...we are professional painters and every now and then we get requests for finishes like this.
    I love everything about your new cabinet!

  30. Another beautiful transformation!! I love the result of this milk paint, and look forward to trying it myself. And, lucky me (I never would have said that before seeing what you did here), I have a tired armoire....

  31. How awesome is this! I would not have given the before a second glance!I really want to try milkpaint now.
    Following now..

  32. Awesome looking makeover...come by and show her off at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAY.


  33. This is *stunning*! Love the paint, the shelves, the did a fantastic job.
    Oh, and the mystery bag? I think it was garlic. To scare off the vampires!

  34. Dried lavender in the bag. Love the new 'old' look of the wardrobe now! Wonderful job!

  35. I love it!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured your post in my wrap up Have a great rest of the weekend!

  36. Oh my, that looks amazing ! What a wonderful job, looks so professional........

    I'm having a STINKY Give Away on Lavender Hill... I'd love it if you'd pop over !


  37. I LOVE this! It is absolutely gorgeous! The color is to die for! Thanks for sharing!

    I ♥ Nap Time

  38. What a great makeover! I just finished a makeover on our dining room set with stain, and let me tell you... the clean up was not that easy, in fact it's still under my fingernails. :) Thanks for a great tutorial, makes me want to try milk paint.
    I found you from Metamorphosis Monday. Here's my redo:

  39. Wow!! This turned out amazing! I love the doors, I'd also love to work with chalk paint (still haven't) but it is expensive, now I think I will have to try this milk paint!

  40. I am glad I found your blog. I read all of your post and learned a bit from your great tutorial.

    xoxo BunnyJean @ BunnyJean's Decor and More!

    I am # 141 in the Met Monday party.

  41. It turned out gorgeous. Great job.


  42. Really well done! I love the screen wire!

  43. So absolutely fantastic!! I love it! It came out perfect!! Thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

  44. Wow, oh, wow! What an inspiration, thank you! I hope you can join Design Gives Back for our Miracle Makeover reveal August 12-18 at I hope to see you there!


    Sherry, The DGB Team

  45. I love this!! Absolutely amazing!! Might have to look for milk paint around here!! :) Love the use of the screen!!

  46. How beautiful!! I just love your new armoire! I need to find some milk paint!

  47. Awesome! I LOVE the screen, and I want to use milk paint. I love some chalk paint, but milk paint makes me think colonial, and that appeals to a Virginia girl, somehow! Thanks for sharing! Did I mention I love the SCREEN?!

  48. What a beauty! I saw a mirrored cabinet recently, and didn't even consider removing the mirror to replace with mesh... but I love it. So well done!

  49. hey there Miss Lisa! congrats on the Miss Mustardseed feature :) this is definitely one for the books, I love to source milk paint in Niagara :)

    I'm still keeping an eye out for you!

  50. Stunning transformation. I love it. Found ya from MMS.

  51. My lord, this is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I just pinned it and it will be repinned a million is sooo cute.
    I am not on the hunt for one that I can do the same with. Just love it to pieces.

  52. just to add I am a new follower and going to get you in my email, now. :)

  53. Totally awesome. I cannot wait to try the milk paint and do an armoire. You encourage me to get off my buff and start a project. Thank you for sharing.

  54. This is awesome in every way...the tutorial and the repurposing. Thanks for the fun look and the inspiration.

  55. Hi sweetie! Your armoire is just gorgeous - the screen really makes it, I think. I've got this linked to my milk paint post too today, well done!

  56. Hi Lisa ,my name is Katrina,i was born in Ireland and came to Australia 28 yrs ago,i love everything Farm house style , French,Shabby chic and i am madly in love with Perfectly Imperfect Old Furniture,so much Beauty and So Beautifully Made,it has a mystery that i so love.Your Site is totally Fantastic and personalised,your work and creativity is very inspiring,i am very glad i found you. . . . . Kind Regards Katrina

  57. Thank you for sending this link to me. This armoire is identical to my armoire. I wish I had seen this before I started on mine, I would have gone in a different direction if I had. I love the way you refinished it and gave it that farmhouse look. Yours is beautiful! If mine turns out even half as nice as yours and I will be happy.
    You have a wonderful blog. I see you live in Canada, anywhere near Winnipeg?
    Hugs, Cindy

  58. I just found your blog .... Love it! Do u remember what color u used on the outside of the armoire? I'm trying to finish my wainscoting & was going for a washed looked but haven't found anything I really like until I saw your armoire. I wanted a crackled whitish/ grey color to look like old drift wood so I think this would work. Any suggestions would be appreciated

  59. My email address is

    Thank u!!

  60. So cute, love the color and the screen.

  61. Sly furniture builders have applied the space, organization and security offered by armoires to another facet of modern life: the computer.

  62. OMG! The next time I see an old wardrobe I am bringing it home! I love what you've done here. Taking the mirrors off was the best idea. I used milk paint a few times back in the 1980s. Hope that doesn't date me too much.

  63. I adore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Found you on hometalk and I'm already a huge fan. Thank you for sharing this! oh and is that bag filled with old moth balls maybe??

  64. It's perfect! It's got my creative wheels spinning about a few pieces I have sitting in storage.

  65. The bag hanging in there looks like what I have seen on Pinterest. You hang up a bag of water on the porch or next to the garage to keep flies away. When light reflects on the water flies don't like it because of the way their eyes are. However, I have no idea why they would hang it in an armoire.

  66. Wooden armoires come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. The basic design is usually the same, but there are a lot of variations that can really make your armoire unique.

  67. I'm guessing that you also did some sanding after painting? (Looks like it in the final pics near handles and elsewhere) And, I agree.. I think it was a bag of some sort of potpourri/scented stuff.

  68. Great idea! Thanks for sharing about applying milk paint to armoire to recapture its charm.

  69. Like everyone else who commented, I have to say "beautiful job". I have been a fan of Homestead Milk paint since the early 90s and have recently be using the wonderful Annie Sloan chalk paint. Yes, it is expensive but if time is of the essence, it's worth it b/c there's no priming, or sanding necessary. But it has it's drawbacks too. So I think the more options of products that are non-toxic and user-friendly we can put in our homes, the better for all. BTW, I just discovered Van Gogh - a Canadian-made chalk paint which I purchased (same price as ASCP) but have yet to try. Apparently their beeswax is a wonderful product. Keep up the good work; I check in with you often and have been inspired by all your "stuff". Oh, and I think that there are cedar shavings in that little bag.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments and your tip on Van Gogh paint. I have to say I have never pursued the Chalk Paint craze because of the price, but I will contact Van Gogh and give it a try, I'm sure even lower shipping costs will make a difference. P.S. I bet you're right about the cedar shavings!

  70. Hi there - love, love love it! Just a quick question for a step that I didn't see covered (or did I miss it?)....
    When do you sand off some of the paint to scuff/create the distressed look? is it before or after the hemp oil finish? Also do you simply use a fine sandpaper to distress it? do you have any tips for doing that step?
    Thanks in advance!

  71. I just got a very old armoire from a friend that I am going to attempt to fix up. How did you attach the shelf supports without damaging the armoire? The sides are thin and I did not want nails to show on the outside.

    1. Hello... take a look at the last picture before the armoire is painted you'll see the braces are attached to the frame of the sides. This is the only way to attach anything without it going through to the other side. You need this extra thickness of wood for the braces to be stable anyway. Don't attach anything to the sides of the piece, only the frames. Hope that helps.

    2. That helps a lot and I believe that is what my husband was trying to tell me lol.

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