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Rustic Red Pie Safe Painted with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Over the holidays, I had the good fortune to attend one of Miss Mustard Seed’s painting demos here in Raleigh. Marian is such a joy to watch. She’s so laid back about her painting techniques, that you want to jump up there with her and start painting. Of course, I resisted the urge that day. But, I did have a little time to experiment with some Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint over the break. I know, I must be one of the last people to give it a whirl, but you know this handy girl has been a little busy ;-).

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The process wasn’t without a few questionable moments. Mostly, I was questioning my paint mixture. But, I’ll share all with you so you won’t feel timid or shy about trying milk paint on your own piece of furniture.

To start, I poured some pigment into a disposable container. Then slowly added water. I mixed the paint with a stirrer, but ultimately ditched the stirrer and used the paint brush to stir.

After mixing it as best as I could, I let it sit about 5 minutes as I lightly sanded the pie safe.

Then I dove in red-handed. Hahahaha.

The paint was very thin compared to the chalk paint I had been using before. And as Marian had warned, there might be some lumps, but as you brush over them they should break up and smooth out.

The close up above shows the consistency I used, which in hindsight was probably a little on the runny side.

I checked with Marian (aka Miss Mustard Seed) to see if I had mixed the paint the right consistency. This was her reply:

“Tricycle is one of the toughest colors to mix, since it’s so highly pigmented.  Because the paint is thinner, it does usually take two coats when painted over existing finishes, depending on what you’re painting.  If it runs, it’s too thin, if it’s clumpy, it’s too thick.”

– Milk Paint Guru, Miss Mustard Seed

As the paint dries, it will have a matte finish and loses its sheen.

I lightly distressed the hutch by gently rubbing a 5-in-1 painter’s tool over the surface.

I put two coats of Tricycle red milk paint on my pie safe and then waited for it to dry (which didn’t take long.) I admit, at this point, I wasn’t sure about the color. The red was a bit pasty looking. But, I proceeded with some Miss Mustard Seed furniture wax.

Using a soft bristled brush, I dipped the bristles into the wax (not using too much.)

Then rubbed the wax onto the pie safe using circular motions.

You can see the wax gave the paint a rich red color with dimension and luster. Beautiful! Truth be told, I actually had to add two coats of wax onto my pie safe because the wood was so dry it just soaked it up.

After each coat, I lightly buffed the wax with a clean cloth. The pigment did come off on the cloth a little bit. But, I haven’t had any problems with the paint bleeding or rubbing off onto anything that touches it since then.

For a fun addition, I taped some of the leftover stenciled table runners I made onto foam core.

Then slipped it into the back of the pie safe.

I added another fabric covered foam board on the bottom shelf and called it a day.

Oooo, she looks so pretty and perfectly dressed for the holiday season.

Here are some close up pictures of the milk painted pie safe.

I really like the results. It has a rich red stained chippy look. You’d never know that it was freshly painted only a few hours ago!

I’m not a pineapple fan, but the punched tins have the rustic patina that makes me go gah gah.

Sadly this pie safe needs a new home. It doesn’t have a spot in our new kitchen, so it is up for sale on Craig’s List.

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary sample of Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint. However I was not compensated. This is not a sponsored post. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.


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Rustic Red Pie Safe Painted with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint | Pretty Handy Girl

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  1. Kim
    Kim says:

    Just wanted to tell you I love your site!! I don’t feel alone anymore (girls knowing how to use tools) lol I love what you did with this pie safe! My husband and I just bought a 100+ year old farmhouse it doesnt even have a bathroom and has to be rewired and plumbed along with building a bathroom lol you idea for the faux painting the brick fire place I definately will be using that technique on the ugly yellow bricks that are in this house!! I have been reading your posts all day and will be using alot of your ideas Thank You so much!!

  2. Abi
    Abi says:

    It looks great Brittany!! And the color is fabulous!
    I love the different between the wax and none wax–that little bit of luster is perfection!

  3. katie
    katie says:

    Gorgeous refinishing job! I need to get my hands on some of Marian’s paint and give it a try! 🙂 Love that gorgeous read and the additional detail you added to the back!

  4. Maude
    Maude says:

    I really love the look of that milk paint. I have seen pics of it before but I never actually had the guts to try it. That distressed and rustic look is fabulous and I wish I had something to use it on:)


      • Maude
        Maude says:

        You’re absolutely right Brittany. The first time I ever heard of milk paint was when I saw it in a design book that Barbra Streisand wrote. She used blue milk paint in a lounge she built to imitate the federal style. Definitely a cool product.

  5. Jill
    Jill says:

    Hi there~
    This piece turned out beautifully! A friend of mine used this MMS milk paint for the first time last week without adding the bonding agent. Over 90% of the paint did not adhere….she was so dissappointed. She expected that some areas would resist but not this huge amount. Any suggestions? She ended out repainting with ASCP but we would love any input for future experiences. Thanks so much!

    • Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl)
      Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) says:

      Jill, yes, that is the chance you take with the milk paint. I did not use a bonding agent, but my pie safe really didn’t have much of a varnish on it, so I figured it would absorb and stick fairly well. Do you know if she roughed it up slightly with a fine grit sandpaper? It is definitely hard to go from chalk paint which sticks to anything to the milk paint. As Marian said in her talk, you can’t be a perfectionist, OCD or controlling to use milk paint. You have to truly go with the flow. 😉

      • Jill
        Jill says:

        Hi again and thanks for responding! No, she did not sand at all but really didn’t think it was needed since it was mostly bare wood. We will try it again! Thanks so much!

  6. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Awesome! Found it on craigslist! I would so buy that if I had the $$ to spare at the moment, we have to pay our Christmas bills off first! Hope that it finds a happy home, it makes me smile. 🙂

    Do you know where her paint is for sale in the area? I think I saw a store listed in Cary but didn’t know if she mentioned anywhere else that carries it locally that hasn’t made it to her website yet. I have several pieces of furniture I’d like to paint, actually.

  7. Matt@theDIYvillage
    Matt@theDIYvillage says:

    This pie safe turned out beautifully! The fabric adds a nice pop on the interior! I’ll be sharing this with my Mom, as she has a similar pie safe in need of a transformation! As always, beautiful job!

  8. Amy
    Amy says:

    I love the pie shelf. I’m wondering if you used her bonding agent or just the paint. I used her milk paint for the first time yesterday and it’s so chippy (no bonding agent). I really like it but it is definitely different. Yours doesn’t seem to have any peeling. Thanks, Amy

    • Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl)
      Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) says:

      Amy, I didn’t use the bonding agent on this pie safe. There were some areas that resisted. You can’t really tell which pieces will chip and which won’t but my understanding is that if you have a finished piece with a high gloss urethane, it is likely to resist more.

  9. Lori
    Lori says:

    This would be perfect for a small shelf I have been messing with for my son’s room. My dad made the shelf, and I painted it years ago, but I have never been satisfied with it. It now sits on a shelf in the garage waiting for me to pick it back up again.

    Question: are her paints/wax sensitive to the weather? I will be doing it in the garage, and I just need to know if I should run to mom and dad’s and get dad’s propane heater. I think the weather is supposed to top out in the mid-forties tomorrow and bottom about the high-twenties.

  10. Michele @ The Scrap Shoppe
    Michele @ The Scrap Shoppe says:

    Gorgeous, Brittany! I’ve been wanting and looking for a double pie safe for AGES. I just love them! Haven’t had luck finding one locally yet, but then again I don’t have a place for it to live yet either. The paint and wax look great on it!

  11. Audrey
    Audrey says:

    Wow, that turned out beautiful! I’ve never heard of milk paint or chalk paint until recently, I think I’m liking the effect from what I’ve see so far. have a great day!


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