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Milk Paint-How to Deal With Unwanted Chipping

So we've all had that ONE piece that's chipped a little more than we anticipated right? I'm not talking about little chips here and there that look appealing, I'm talking clumps and big patches flaking off with the slightest touch or wind. You know what I mean...

Just know that you're not alone.

This can sometimes happen and there are ways and means of dealing with this! In this blog post I share my recent experience with this on a dresser and how I dealt with this to create a beautiful masterpiece full of chippy goodness! Hopefully after reading this blog you'll feel encouraged and know exactly what to do if this happens to you.

This dresser (as illustrated above) was highly glossy and I wanted chipping to occur. I initially started prepping it by giving it a thorough clean inside and out. I then gave it a scuff sand with a medium 120 grit sand paper to create tooth to allow the milk paint to adhere well. On areas I wanted natural resistance and therefore chipping to occur, I simply didn't sand these areas as I wanted chipping to occur. Once sanded a gave it a dust over and clean down with water.

Once my batch of milk was mixed and had time to sit and develop, I then proceeded to paint away. The first coat went on beautifully and once I finished the whole dresser, I set it aside and let it dry completely for about 40 minutes.

As you can see, it's chipping beautifully as expected in this image below.

When I started painting the second coat, the paint was flaking away in undesirable clumps and dragging along with my brush as I'm painting. My first tip here is not to stress. I could see by this point where lots of resistance had occurred and was flaking off in large clumps. I decided to stop at this point, and let the whole piece dry for another 40 minutes. Once dried, I used 120 grit sandpaper and sanded those problem areas where large clumps of flaking had occurred. This cleared away most of the flaking paint and gave the surface more "grip" so to speak. It also smoothed out the surface ready to paint subsequent coats. I gave it a light dust off before proceeding to the next step. As you can see from the image below that the surface is almost completely bare at this point, but rest assured it all comes together!

You can at this point apply bonding agent (Bird’s Special Bond) directly over problem areas with a paint brush then allow to completely dry. This essentially primes the surface and gives tooth for better adherence. You can also add some bonding agent into your milk paint mixture and apply it to subsequent coats to the problem areas to cover up the patches. This essentially gives your mix an inbuilt additional bonding property. I'm quite adventurous and like chipping to occur as much as possible so I felt that sanding to give tooth was enough for me to carry on painting without the use of bonding agent. I proceeded to paint away and to my delight, better adherence occurred with only slight chipping over those original problem areas. Winning!

Finally once all the paint dried I gave it a light sand with 240 grit sandpaper to smooth over the whole piece and remove any flaking paint. It finally started coming together and looking somewhat "normal" and even again. I decided to seal with whole piece with a water based polyacrylic (Flat matte sealer from the Artisan Paint Company). This essentially sealed in the paint and gives a durable finish preventing further chipping from occurring over time. I then finished the whole piece with clear and antique waxes and buffed it to a beautiful sheen. This married everything together and gave the piece a sense of aged appeal. Here is a close up image of the final result! I love the amount of chippy goodness achieved in the end!

Despite the minor hiccup, I thoroughly enjoyed painting this piece and literally "watching paint dry" to reveal the beauty of natural chipping that milk paint can give. I'm not suggesting that this happens frequently. In all the times I've used milk paint, its an absolute pleasure to play with. I hope this blog post helps encourage you to challenge your fears of using milk paint and overcome excessive undesirable chipping with a few of these tips outlined above. Most of all, have fun with it!


Happy Painting!
Meg x