The Dry Sink In Progress: My First Experience with Milk Paint



So, back in November I bought my first box of Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint. I have been wanting to try it for forever and I'm just now getting around to using it.

I chose the color Linen (an off-white/ivory) with a specific project in mind...painting the old "dry sink" that we used to have in my house growing up. I remember when I was a kid that Mom had it stuffed with things like construction paper and crayons and other craft supplies so when I realized it was just sitting in my parent's basement not being used, I figured it would make for some good toy storage in our family room. If you're wondering, like I was, why this is called a dry sink, here's what I discovered after googling it:

"The dry sink is a basin used for basic hygiene functions that is not connected with a plumbing system. Used extensively in the days before indoor plumbing, such sinks were considered valuable kitchen accessories as well as ideal for placement in bedrooms a washroom, or other areas where people would wash or shave....When it comes to the basic design for a dry sink, the construction involves a cabinet that is coupled with a simple washbasin installed in the early times, the cabinet normally included an open front that was covered by two doors. The interior could be used to store shaving supplies, towels, and other toiletry items."  -

{dry sink "before"...with doors and drawer handles already removed}
I was a little hasty/excited when I started this project and forgot to take a real before shot of it. I didn't remember until after I had already taken off the doors and bad drawer hardware. But you get the idea. 

I thought the milk paint would make sense on this piece because it is so beat up to begin with. Plus, kids are going to be using it and as it will take a lot of wear and tear, I figured a "chippy" finish would only help hide more abuse. I took the doors off to create open shelving, so that Maura and her little brother (who should be here in little over 6 weeks, yikes!) have easier access to their toys, blocks, whatever (have since removed the magnet thingies that keep the doors closed). I'm planning on getting some good looking storage containers to fit the shelves.

{doors removed to make open shelves for toys, etc.}
As you can see, its got this sort of recessed part on top where the old basin might go. The raised bit around it is supposed to be like a back splash. The bottom of the recessed part is covered with this black stuff, not sure what material it is, but I'm not painting over that - keeping it black, I think the contrast will be cool. The flat surface on the right actually lifts up on hinges like the top of a trunk and has storage inside. It will be a nice spot to keep some of Maura's finished "artwork".

Here's what the old drawer handles looked like. If I had liked them more, I would have kept them as is, but these are not the look I'm going for:)

I wanted more of a card catalog type feel to the drawer pulls, something I could put a label in... so that everyone would know where the Play Doh and paint, etc. is. I ended up ordering three of these Burke Card Holders in Vintage Brass from the Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Company. I'm hoping the warm, worn brass will be nice with the off-white and brown wood poking through. Aren't they so pretty? The six little screws for each one will be a pain, but hopefully worth it. (These came in the other day and they are really nice in person. Love the patina.)

Before I started painting, I filled the holes from where the drawer hinges and drawer hardware were with white wood filler. There was also a huge crack and a couple of big dings on the top piece that lifts up that I figured would be good to fill while I was at it. Looking back, this might have been a mistake.

When I started painting, the first coat was way too watery and transparent. Like I was going for a white-wash look instead of an opaque white. Oops. This is totally my fault, as the paint comes in powder form and you have to mix it yourself with warm water. I tried a second coat (with less water) and it was still very clear and you could see every brush stroke, etc. I might have started panicking a little at this point. There was no way I was going to abandon this project, I just wasn't expecting to have to put in the time and paint (I ended up having to buy more) to do more than 2 coats. But I kept going and finally, things started looking more like I wanted them to when I applied a third coat! Yay! To give you an idea, and it might be hard to tell, but here's a pic of the inside of the cabinet/shelves with only 2 coats. Still pretty splotchy and see through.

Before the third coat, not much "chipping" had occurred and I was almost bummed that none of the original wood was going to show through. However, after the third coat, it was like "BAM!", paint is peeling off everywhere!!! Now its to the point where I hope that some of the 3 coats of white I painted stays on:) Marion says not to peel off the chipping paint until you are done painting all of your coats, but I couldn't help myself...I had to see how it was going to look. Here's a pic of one of the corners with some of the paint peeled off, and more just ready to fall off (I'll be scraping that off when I know I'm done painting). I do really like how this bit is looking.

Unfortunately, even after three coats, you can still see the wood filler spots under the linen paint. Darn. My bad. Maybe I should have researched if this stuff would work with milk paint. Here's a photo of one of the drawers...see the 2 big white circles where the holes for the old hardware were? Maybe I shouldn't have gotten so carried away with the wood filler, but I assumed it would get covered:( In this case the new drawer pulls will sort of hide them and hopefully all the wood with draw your eye away from them. See how much paint is ready to flake off at the top of the drawer?

To finish this baby up, I'm going to add a third coat to the inside/shelves and a fourth coat to a couple of the white wood filler spots to hopefully cover up them up better. Then I'll take a putty knife to the whole thing to scrape off all the peeling paint (like Miss Mustard Seed recommends) - can't wait to see what it looks like with all that wood showing, hopefully there's still some white left after all this work!!! Then I'll cover the whole thing in MMS Furniture Wax and put the new drawer pulls on. Phew:)

Have any of you guys used Marion's milk paint yet? What are your thoughts/experiences? I'm going to have to wait to see this piece finished, but I think I'll be saving this paint for things I only really want that "chippy" look for (you can apply her bonding agent to the paint if you want it to completely adhere and be 100% opaque/smooth - maybe I should have looked into that more for parts of this piece). For the rest I'll stick with ASCP - mostly because its easier not to have to mix up yourself (I think I lost my confidence!) and it comes in more colors.

PS. I know I should write something about what happened on Monday at the Marathon, but to be honest I'm not really sure what to say. My brother and his girlfriend were a couple of blocks from the explosions watching the race (I started crying when he answered his cell phone, even though he had already emailed everyone to say he was safe), a couple of my cousins were right in the mix too.  The whole thing is just unbelievably sad and confusing (I don't understand how someone could do something like this). I know all those of us up here though are very thankful for everyone's love and support. I'm adding my thoughts and prayers to yours.

Quick Spring Updates



Hi! The weather around here is having trouble making up its mind, but I'm over winter and moving on! While the fireplace mantel got updated for Easter, the family room ledge shelves got just general spring.

 In an effort to get this post out, I am, for once, going to be brief:) Here's what's going on:
  • "SPRING" felt and burlap banner from Target recently ($7.99)
  • fern and butterfly DIY prints from
  • bird print cut out from a calendar
  • white (and blue) ceramic pitches and tea pots
  • "vintage" (from when I was growing up) Cherry Ames books
  • a little nest and eggs 
  • bunny drawing "linen" pillow from Home Goods for $9.99 (reminds me of all the pillows I love from Dear Lillie)

 Are you guys off to a good start of spring so far?

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