DIY Dresser Makeover With Milk Paint

12 Materials
3 Hours

Sharing how Miss Mustard Seed’s Tricycle paint transformed a hand-me-down dresser to become the star of the show in my children’s “new” bedroom. This blog post features the step-by-step tutorial to show you how to work with this fun paint medium to update any piece of furniture. Happy Painting!

I love using Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. Since the milk paint is non-toxic it is the perfect medium for me to paint indoors while my young children are napping. I love vintage pieces and I love giving them a new take on life Milk paint is especially beautiful for vintage pieces because it really allows the original character and charm to shine through.

Today’s milk paint project is part of my design makeover for my children’s shared bedroom. When I decided on my vintage-inspired color palette, I knew I wanted to incorporate Miss Mustard Seed’s Tricycle Paint into the design plan. On a recent visit to my parent’s house, I noticed a vintage dresser sitting on their porch that they were willing to part with and today’s blog post tutorial was born.

The original dresser spent some time in my parent’s outdoor shed on their farm so it was a little beat up, and needed a great cleaning. I saw past that and was excited to put a piece that once lived in my childhood home into my children’s “new” room. I love the money I saved, and the character and story my children’s “new” piece tells.

I love how it turned out and I hope this tutorial inspires you to bring a piece of furniture that isn’t making you happy back to life, or to save some money and re-imagine a used piece versus buying new. I love how the milk paint brings this dresser new life, and my children love it even more!

To start your milk paint endeavor, you will need:

  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint. I used Tricyle paint. (affiliate link)
  • Miss Mustard Seed Bonding Agent. (affiliate link)
  • Sand paper with Sanding Block (optional). My husband let me borrow his sanding block, and it was a game changer.
  • Cleaner. I used Dixie Belle's White Lightning Cleaner, and it worked very well.
  • Paint Brush
  • Antiquing Wax
  • Furniture Wax
  • Wax Brush
  • Cloth
  • Cup for Mixing
  • Miniature Whisk for Stirring
  • Measuring Cup

Embellishments (Optional)

  • Glass Floral Knobs
  • Adhesive Shelf Liner

Above is the before picture of the dresser. The bones were great, but it needed a good cleaning and some love.

Step 1: Remove the hardware.

I didn’t use the hardware from this piece, because one was missing and I had my heart set on some glass knobs. However, I did save the hardware to possibly use for a later project since it was in good condition.

Step 2: Sand the furniture piece down to remove excess dirt and grime, as well any uneven edges.

* I recommend sanding outside since it can get pretty dusty and dirty.

Step 3: Clean the furniture piece.

You can use your favorite cleaner. I used Dixie Belle’s White Lightning Cleaner with a cotton rag. This cleaner worked really well on the dirty dresser. I mixed two tablespoons of the cleaner with 1 gallon of warm water.

* I recommend wearing gloves and ensuring the room is well-ventilated (outside if possible) since this cleaner is pretty strong.

Step 4: While your furniture dries, mix your milk paint.

Mix 1 part milk paint to 1 part water. I like to use a disposable cup, and I have found that a miniature whisk is the best mixing tool to ensure the milk powder stays fully integrated into the water.

Step 5: (optional) Add Miss Mustard Seed’s bonding agent to the milk paint mixture (1 part to 1 part

Then mix throughly.

I love the worn, chippy, vintage look, but I didn’t want the dresser to have the same chippy factor like in my media cabinet (please visit my blog for the full tutorial for this project) or my bench (please visit my blog for the full tutorial for this project) so I decided to add Miss Mustard Seed’s bonding agent this time around. It worked like a charm, and provided nice, even coverage to the dresser.

Step 6: Apply 1 thin, even coat of the milk paint mixture to the furniture piece.

Allow the paint to dry fully before you add another coat. My first coat took about 1 hour to dry.

*Warning: the bonding agent lightens the color of the milk paint when it is wet. However, it will dry the correct color. This scared me a little, because as you can see from the picture above the paint appeared to be a bright pink, instead of the bold red.

*I found it helpful to pull the drawers out of the dresser and just paint the faces of them.

Step 7: After your first coat of paint dries, add another coat of milk paint.

Allow the second coat to dry completely.

You can stop here or you can continue to add more layers of paint if you would like to. If you like some of the original color showing through, then 2 coats may be the best stopping point. It is all up to you!

I applied one more coat (3 coats total) so that the dresser was fully covered.

Step 8: Once the paint is dry, add your embellishments.

I added a $1 shelf liner from Dollar Tree to the inside bottom of the dresser.

I also added the new floral glass knobs to the dresser at this time.

Allow your paint to dry overnight.

Step 9: Once your paint has dried overnight, you can add Miss Mustard Seed’s antiquing wax.

I always like adding a little more depth and texture to a piece. So I decided to add antiquing wax to the piece to bring the deeper red tones out even more.

Using a cloth or natural bristle brush apply the antiquing wax to the entire piece of furniture. Then wipe off the antiquing wax with a clean cloth.

*I used a Miss Mustard Seed Wax Brush (source link on my blog) to apply the antiquing wax, and it made the process so much easier to apply the antiquing wax than with a cotton cloth.

*It is helpful to work in small sections so that you get the consistent look that you want throughout, and you don’t get overwhelmed.

Step 10: Once you apply the antiquing wax to the entire piece of furniture, finish your piece off wi

Use a clean cloth to massage the furniture wax onto the entire piece of furniture. The Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Wax (source link on my blog) is a lot smoother and thinner than other waxes. It almost has the consistency of lotion and is so easy to apply. However, keep in mind a little goes a long way.

Then, buff the wax into the furniture piece with a clean cloth.

Voila! you are complete. Allow the piece to cure for a total of 30 days.

I hope you enjoy giving an old piece new life with milk paint and embellishments!

I really love the beautiful pop of red this piece gives my children’s bedroom.

Please visit my blog post for the full kid's shared bedroom reveal.

I believe upcycling is more fun when we share our projects. Please email me at, or please tag me @thecountrypeony to show me your beautiful, custom creations!

Thank you so much for following along!

Resources for this project:
Miss Mustard Seed Tricycle Milk Paint
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Elizabeth at Country Peony
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Michelle Michelle on Apr 30, 2020

    Beautiful.... love the color❤️

  • Lynn Lynn on May 21, 2020

    Did you paint the brass bed pink ? if so what kind of paint did you use ?

    I have a bright brass bed and would like to change it .

    thank you

  • Grandma Frogge Grandma Frogge on Jul 16, 2020

    I have our first bedroom set and I’m so tired of it. It’s 48 years old and needs an update. I have looked for ideas for some time to no avail until seeing your project!!! Wow, it turned out beautiful and now I’m ready to get busy and do my furniture. Is the paint etc something I can buy at a local painstaking store or will I need to order it?

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4 of 82 comments
  • Roberta espinoza Roberta espinoza on Apr 29, 2021


  • Mary Njus Mary Njus on May 02, 2021

    I bought a similar color to paint a desk but lost my nerve last minute. (Or maybe I just got lazy?😁) I have the same colors in my room that you have. Thanks for a preview of what it will look like! Oh and yes, your piece is gorgeous!

    • I completely understand. I have so many unfinished projects. Thank you for your kind words and good luck with this project! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!