Miss Mustard Seed Painting Class: How to Mix Milk Paint & Three Amazing Finishes

Ever since I laid eyes on Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture, I have wanted to learn how to achieve that look… that genuine I’ve-been-around-for-centuries-look! Well, thanks to the blogging conference that I attended last weekend, I had the opportunity to take a painting class with Miss Mustard Seed herself… you best believe I was on the front row!!

Miss Mustard Seed Painting Class

Miss Mustard Seed (Marian) has been a long time blog-idol of mine! I met her for the first time back in May, at Luckett’s May Fair, where I was lucky enough to purchase her grandmother’s vanity, that yes, she had painted! Ever since then, I had been studying that piece.. how did she make it look like that?!? Well, friends… Marian and Shaunna from Imperfectly Perfect spent two hours teaching me how (well, it wasn’t just me, but wouldn’t that have been cool?!)

Miss Mustard Seed & Perfectly Imperfect

I listened oh-so-intently, asking questions as we went along. These gals taught us three amazing painting techniques… I’ll attempt to share with you how to accomplish all three. But first, MILK PAINT!! If you have never used milk paint, it comes in a powder form that you mix with water. I have used Marian’s milk paint before, but each time I use it I have a different consistency, so I was anxious to see how SHE would mix it!!

How to Mix Milk Paint

Well, I guess I was doing it right!! To mix the paint, start with your powder in a plastic cup. We added water slowly, while stirring with a stir stick handle of a paintbrush (they ran out of stir sticks). See no one is perfect! And you keep adding… and mixing… until you get the consistency you want. Now, try it out! If it’s too runny, thin, or transparent, add more powder. If your brush drags along the surface or is chunky, add more water.

Marian Mixes Milk Paint

 As much as I like chunky, not in my milk paint! I got the seal of approval from Marian on my mix!

Mixing Milk Paint

Now for the three painting techniques:

Restoration Hardware-ish
The Layered Look
Drift Wood/Wash 

How to Paint like Miss Mustard Seed

We had several pieces of molding that we used to practice each technique. Shaunna gave a great tip to write the instructions for each finish on the back of the piece of wood. So I pried the paintbrush from my fingers long enough to jot down the instructions!

Painting Class with Miss Mustard Seed

 Finish One: Restoration Hardware-ish

1. Paint one coat of Annie Sloan paint in Pure White.
2. Let Dry.
3. Paint a second coat of Annie Sloan paint in French Linen.
4. Let Dry.
5. Take a moist cloth (we used old t-shirts) and rub off the paint as desired.

(In some places, I took it back to the white, in others I took it back to the raw wood. It’s whatever your preference is.)

Here’s Shaunna’s Example of the Restoration Hardware-ish finish…

Perfectly Imperfect Restoration Hardware

 Perfectly Imperfect Restoration Hardware Finish

Just beautiful!

Finish Two: The Layered Look

1. Paint one coat of Annie Sloan paint in Aubusson.
2. Let Dry.
3. Apply Resisting Agent (We used Vaseline, hemp oil, and wax. More about this below.)
3. Paint a second coat of Annie Sloan paint in French Enamel.
4. Let Dry.
5. Take a dry cloth and rub off the paint as desired. You will need to apply pressure.

As for the resisting agents, a couple tips, Marian has a great wax that she sells with her paint line, but she was honest is sharing that any wax will work! A candle, a crayon, anything! Think back to when you were in 2nd grade and you did those crayon/water color paintings. Remember? Anywhere you had crayon, the paint didn’t stick. Same idea here! And the same goes for the Vaseline and the hemp oil, wherever you apply it, the paint will either crackle or chip, creating a very authentic look! I just LOVE it!!

Here’s Marian’s example of the Layered Look…

Miss Mustard Seed Layered Paint

Be still my heart! This is one of my favorite pieces by Marian!

 Finish Three: The Drift Wood Wash

(Are we having fun yet, or what?!?! This one is the most in depth!)

1. Paint one coat of Miss Mustard Seed paint in Typewriter.
2. Let Dry.
3. In a separate cup mix Miss Mustard Seed paint (one part shutter gray & one part grainsack)
4. Admire the BEAUTIFUL color you just created!
5. Paint a second coat of the custom Miss Mustard Seed paint.
6. Let Dry.
7. Hurry! Now rub off some of the second coat BEFORE it dries! Not all of it, just some.
8. Let Dry.
9. Dry brush Annie Sloan paint in Ironstone on top.

If you are not familiar with the dry brush technique, take your dry brush, dip in the paint, and then dab on a cloth or paper towel to remove the access. You want the brush to be as dry as possible, but still have paint on it. And then lightly brush the paint on in the areas that you like!! You can’t mess it up!! If you do, just paint it again!

Here’s Marian’s example of the Drift Wood Wash Finish…

MMS Drift Wood Wash Technique

I love the ‘frenchiness’ of this finish!

After we completed the three finishes, we played with waxes… dark wax, furniture wax, clear wax, ear wax, ha ha!! Just kidding. And that’s just a personal preference as to what you like. One handy tip from Marian when it comes to wax, if you will be selling your furniture outside, or putting it outside at your house, DON’T wax it! It will get warm in the heat and become sticky!! Good to know!!

So, how did I do?? Well, you tell me…

Three Painting Techniques Milk Paint & Chalk Paint

I’m just smitten over the looks that I achieved and I have these two gals to thank for it!!

Thank you, both for teaching such an amazing class!!

Shauna, Candace, Marian

If you haven’t already, check out their blogs.. and of course, see Marian’s site for all your Milk Paint needs and Shaunna’s for Annie Sloan’s paint and accessories!

I leave you with this quote that I jotted down from Marian as she was talking about painting furniture…

“When you do you, that’s what makes you successful” – Miss Mustard Seed

And here’s a handy image you can pin if you want to refer back to this tutorial later!!

Three Step by Step Tutorials for 3 Most Popular Painting Techniques

Until next time,

Vintage News Junkie

Full Disclosure: I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post. I just love these gals and the information that they shared at Haven Conference 2013.

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  1. Amazing notes!! I took this class but was so hard to take notes at the same time. Thank you!!
    Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com

  2. Paula Costa says:

    Thank you so much! Beautiful!

  3. Hi Candace! This is a great, helpful recap of the class! It was my favorite hands on session. I am new to furniture painting and I’m excited to apply the techniques I learned. We didn’t cross paths at Haven but there’s always next year! Have a lovely weekend!

    • Donna… so many people I want to meet!! I need to start my 2014 Haven list now!!! Good luck with the painting… if you have any questions let me know!! I am by no means a pro… but I might can help you out! 🙂

  4. Hi Candace! I took Mirian and Shaunna’s class on Friday BEFORE they realized to tell us to write down our steps… so I’m so thankful for your post! I had forgotten what paints we used, etc. Love the tut and thank you again for posting!

  5. I must have known in my subconscious that just a table away from me, you were taking scrupulous notes and photos to document this whole experience. THANK YOU! I’ve pinned this so that when I tackle my first chalk paint or milk paint project, I can refer to it. (Reason 294 why I’m glad we’re friends!)

  6. This is very cool! Love the results 🙂

  7. This was one of my favorite classes at Haven!!! I’m so glad you posted the instructions because I definitely didn’t take any notes. For some reason I thought I would remember everything and that didn’t work 🙂

    • Oh, Julia! It was one of my fave classes too! Honestly, I took it as a ‘fun’ class… not really expecting to learn too much! But boy was I wrong! I learned so much in that class… and had FUN!! Can’t beat that with a paint stick!!

  8. Terri Hall says:

    I have a question about milk paint. I have a hutch that I’ve been wanting to re-do for awhile. I decided last summer the best thing was to spray it with a liquid sandpaper & then paint it (can’t remember exactly what I used, unfortunately), but I never got around to painting it. I recently discovered milk paint & decided that it would be great for painting this hutch, except for the fact that I already sprayed it with this “stuff”. Am I now out of luck as far as using milk paint since it already has this coat of “stuff” on it? I wish I could remember exactly what I used. Can you help me? Do you have suggestions?

    • Hi Terri! Not knowing what you used on the first go-round… I would say you have two options. One, you could just paint right over the exisiting finish if you are fine with it chipping in places to reveal the original paint you used. If you don’t want the original paint to peak through, you can use MMS bonding agent and it will adhere right over the finish that you have. I hope that helps!! 🙂

  9. In the drift wood wash, how did you wipe off the second before it dried? Like with what material and any specific amount?

    Thanks for your help! Great directions!

  10. Stacey Grimes says:

    HELP!!!!!!!!I am wondering……If you mix the milk paint, and run out, When you mix up another batch, what if the ratio is a little different? Will the color be different? I just worried that if I ran out, I maybe wouldn’t get the exact color and that would NOT be good! Do I make sense? Or has anybody ever had that happen?
    Thanks for your advise!

    • Hi Stacey! This is the only tricky bit with MMS. You have to make sure you write down the ratios that you use in case you need more. If you mix the exact same ratios, it should be the exact same color. But if you’re ratios are off, you are right, you will end up with a slightly different shade. I always try to make sure I make enough the first go-round that I can do the entire piece without having to mix more! Hope that helps!!


  1. […] and Shauna from Perfectly Imperfect.  We played with milk paint and chalk paint.  Candace at Vintage News Junkie did a great post on the How Tos and What Fors.  Check it out.  Besides all the tips and […]