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Milk Painted Patio Tables AKA Wooden Spools

Check out my freshly painted patio tables created from wooden utility spools.

I live on the Canadian prairies and our fairly new home was built in the middle of a hay field. This means we get ALLOT of wind so everything we have outside needs to be sturdy (or stacked when not in use like the Adirondack chairs)

We use these wood utility spools for tables around our fire pit and on our deck. They are however lacking personality. Bring on the paint!

As in all projects the first step is a good deep clean. I used a hose and scrub brush along with a bucket of soapy water but a pressure washer works great too.

Flip so all sides get a good scrub.

Let them dry well and make any repairs, this one had a board lifting so it was glued and nailed back in place.

I chose milk paint for these two projects. Milk paint works really well on raw wood absorbing into the fibers for great adherence.

This one was painted solid in Homestead House Milk Paint laurentien then Homestead House Milk PaintQuaker blue dry bru…

Gorgeous Green Milk Painted Waterfall Vanity

This stunning waterfall vanity has captured my Creative Moments Instagram audience to become my most liked post of 2020 so far. I think the green and gold are the reason, you?

A very kind lady offered me the antique vanity in hopes of it getting a new lease on life, thank you Dale! (I can tell you she loved the finished result)

Antique pieces always amaze me with their hand written notes on them. It proves just how hand crafted they really were.

Step one in all my projects is a deep scrub with warm water, mild detergent and some TSP. After scrubbing it down with a small scrub brush inside and out it is rinsed well and left to dry.

Then small repairs are usually needed after the years of service they provided. Below you see drawers reglued using Titebond glue as well as areas of lifting veneer clamped and drying.

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A tip I have for drawers that are warped is after cleaning well and they are still wet, set heavy items such at paint cans on top of a piece of cardboard on the bulging side of the drawer and let dry naturally. Your drawer will be nice and flat.

Once the piece is dry it is time to fill in any areas that might need wood filler. I like to use an artist spatula. I filled in the hardware holes too just in case I chose a knob for the updated look.
Above edges needing wood filler and below filled and left to dry. I am not overly impressed with this wood filler. I would recommend DAP wood filler

Once dry, I used my Dewalt orbital sander and 220 grit sand paper to smooth the wood filler as well as remove any loose finish on the entire vanity.

It is all filled, sanded and ready to paint.

I recently ordered a "new to me" brand of milk paint from Shackteau Interiors.

and chose kettle cove green for this project. I used the color sand milk paint on this adorable antique side table.

It looks like such a beautiful green with a hint of blue all mixed up. I added bonding agent to the milk paint as well.

Using one of my favorite brushes; Zibra 2” angle brush I brushed the milk paint on.
This is the first coat drying.

But as per antiques and milk paint there were some adherence issues even with bonding agent. The great thing about milk paint is you can sand it down and reapply which is exactly what I did.
On many places! Even doing a good deep scrub is not always going to perfect as there might be something deeper in the wood. Have no fear, it can all be fixed. It just requires patience and fortitude and more bonding agent (it seems this piece needs more).

Even after a complete second coat I had more issues. I am not a super chippy fan and if only certain areas really chip and not others it does not look authentic to me so I always have to sand it down and redo it.

And the wood filler area had adherence issues after coat #2. In the future I will be sure to seal larger areas that are wood filled with a poly sealer.

Using my trusty razor scraper to smooth it off then sanding with 220 grit sand paper it was back to perfect, for an antique. (TIP- I use orbital sanding paper that has lost its backing after use for hand sanding as well as sanding sponges)

The third coat had issues yet again on that side but NOT where the first issues were as well as a couple drawer fronts.

but when all else fails sand it off and start again ;)

I added more bonding agent to a fresh batch of milk paint and put on the final coat.

This time it was all perfect!!

For the hardware we decided to go with vintage pulls I had in my collection. New holes were drilled using a cardboard template to make it easier.

The vintage hardware was in need of an update. Rub 'n Buff to the rescue in antique gold using the perfect applicator.. my finger. I felt like Midas when I was done.

Then it was on to the drawer insides. Over the years these antique drawers seem to end up well used. I like to freshen them up with pretty removable drawer liner. Measure, cut with an utility knife , peel and insert.

Now the drawers look fresh.

Once the milk paint was dry, the vanity was hand sanded with a sanding sponge to smooth the paint and soften the areas where the milk paint chipped perfectly. I think subtle chipping keeps the authentic look of the antique as does milk paint seeing that was the paint used back then.  

The vanity was sealed with Minwax dark wax and buffed to a shine. To add further age and dimension, the edges and grooves were dark waxed using Daddy Van's cafe noir. The hardware was installed and this beauty is ready for years more service. I would love to hear what you think of this furniture makeover in the comments below.

I have linked items I use on my projects via my Amazon affiliate for your convenience. Rest assured there is no pressure to purchase nor is there any increase in price using my links. It is only meant to share what products I find useful.

Other links to pages such as Shackteau Interiors  and Daddy Van's is to share their websites and give you more information right from them.

Feb 12, 2020

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  1. The gold handles are fabulous. Sometimes we wish people would include more photos of steps in their process and of the finished product. You will certainly never be accused of that. Very nice transformation.

    1. THANK YOU Johanne. I appreciate the feedback. I may do too many photos of my process but way back when I was trying to find online tutorials I too wished there were more photos shared as I am a very visual learner so I strive to capture the process as best and as real as I can.

      Thanks again!

  2. I'd like to say thank you. I love old and used items. I to read the special things people write or color on once loved items. You made this to have someone love it again and that is the best treasure of all.

    1. You are so welcome, thanks for taking time to leave this comment. It makes me very happy to hear. I love giving new life to old things !!!

  3. Your desk came out gorgeous! Congrats on your feature at Farmhouse Fridays! Hope to see you at Tuesday Turn About!

    1. Thank you!! for both compliments. I would love to join Tuesday Turn about, do you have the link?


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