How to Paint a Coffee Table With Milk Paint

Leslie Saeta
by Leslie Saeta
3 Hours

So many of you asked about our white coffee table that I painted with milk paint! I thought it might be fun to share my DIY tutorial.

Oh my gosh. You know when you have an idea in your head for a DIY, but you are afraid that it might not work? I had been very nervous about my DIY milk paint coffee table. I found two perfect items (milk paint and tin ceiling tiles) that I truly believed would make a perfect coffee table. Fortunately, the idea became a reality and I absolutely love it.

Today I’m sharing with you a Do It Yourself Milk Paint White Coffee Table Project I made with Old Barn Milk Paint.

I found this wooden chest at The size seemed perfect and I not only wanted a coffee table with a lift top, but I also wanted a coffee table with storage.

Many months before I found this chest, I bought two of these vintage tin ceiling panels. At the time I bought them I had no idea where I would put them. But for $10 I knew I would eventually find a good use!

I have wanted a white coffee table in our living room that would look good with our vintage general store counter. The counter has a white chippy wonderful look and I knew the only way I could find something to match it was to make it myself with milk paint. I love to paint with milk paint and this white coffee table project was really easy to do.

What is Milk Paint?

Milk paint is an environmentally friendly paint made from simple, 100% natural ingredients like clay, milk protein, and lime—and is water-based. Milk paint is a non-toxic water-based paint and is commonly sold in powder form.

Are there any advantages of milk paint?

Milk paint adheres to almost all clean, porous surfaces and is environmentally safe, non-toxic, and anti-bacterial. It is solvent-free, non-flammable, and odorless when dry.

What kind of a brush do you use for Milk paint?

Foam brushes are great when applying milk paint, especially if you want a smooth finish without any brush lines. The best size is three to four inches, although foam brushes typically range in size from one to four inches.

What is the Difference Between Milk Paint and Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint can create a wide range of looks; from distressed paint, crackled paint to limewash looks. If you want a ‘chippy’ paint look, milk paint is better. After you apply milk paint, it starts to chip away giving it a very authentic vintage look. It doesn’t need wax or a varnish coat which makes it super easy to apply. It’s the calcium in the milk paint that gives it a chalky finish.

What You Will Need

  • A piece of wood furniture
  • Old Barn Milk Paint, one 12 oz. bag
  • Lukewarm water, 12 oz.
  • Old Barn Milk Paint Clear Wax
  • Paintbrush, paint scraper, sandpaper

How to Make a Milk Paint Coffee Table

I mixed one bag (12 oz.) of Sweet Cream Old Barn Milk paint with 12 oz. lukewarm water. Mix with a whisk for a few minutes until smooth. Put the bowl aside and let sit for ten minutes. If necessary, add a bit of water if the paint seems too thick.

Using a brush apply one coat of milk paint to your piece of furniture.

Let it dry for approximately 30 minutes. Next, I applied another coat of paint.

Let the table dry completely for a few hours. Using a paint scraper, scratch-off paint in the common areas, that is, the place where it makes sense that the piece of furniture would wear over time.

Scrape off as much paint as you want. Then lightly sand the entire piece of furniture.

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Seal the paint with one light coat Old Barn Milk Paint Clear Wax. You can apply with a large round brush or a soft cloth.

Once I was done painting, scraping, and sealing the chest, I pulled out my piece of tin. I knew immediately it was going to work.

My only concern was that my piece of ceiling tin was about 3″ too wide. So I bought a large pair of tin scissors and carefully cut along a cut line I drew with a sharpie. I cut very slowly to ensure a straight line.

It worked! Next, I made some nail holes in the tin with a medium-sized nail and then hammered in small flat hear nails about every 8 – 10 inches. I then painted the nails white with the Old Barn Milk paint so they wouldn’t show.

I carried in the table so I could see how it looked. Of course, it was still a bit wet because I just couldn’t wait! And I think the result is amazing!

If you don’t have ceiling tiles, you can just paint the top and seal it with wax.

The end result is exactly how I hoped it would look! I absolutely love it.

Pin the image below to your entertaining boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

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Welcome to My 100 Year Old Home. I started my blog so I could share my passion for entertaining, décor, cooking, and crafts. You will find all this and more right here. Read more…

Leslie Saeta
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Debbie Debbie on Jul 24, 2021

    If the piece of furniture has been painted should you sand off old paint and it is a chalk paint…. Thank you Love your ideas

  • Laura Laura on Aug 03, 2021

    You room is lovely. You must not have kids or pets. icon

    • Leslie Saeta Leslie Saeta on Aug 05, 2021

      Thank you Laura. I do have grown children and a retriever who loves to snooze on the couch. Thank goodness for washable slipcovers!