Roost + Restore
Do it Yourself

DIY Chippy Paint Layers Using General Finishes Milk Paint

Recently we just wrapped up a big DIY project where we created an island using an old thrifted dresser. From the very start I knew I wanted an authentic, chippy, aged finish. If you talk to all the “decor styling experts” they may tell you that the farmhouse trends are on thier way out. and to that I say…so what! The trend may be settling a bit in exchange for shades of black and green but this girls country loving heart will always have a place for old and chippy.

I didn’t want to fake this look. It as important to me to actually have REAL paint chips and cratches on this peice. As if it were pulled out of an old barn, if you will.

For this project we partnered with General Finishes and decided on three beautiful shades of their milk paint, their stain blocking primer and a flat hight performance top coat to finish.

This is what we started with. It was a steal for $99 but it was covered in a yellowy finishh.

We began with our prep work. Removing all drawers, hardware and sanded the surfaces of the dresser itself. There was some additional disassembly that you can read about HERE where I share a more in depth tutorial on this project from start to finish.

Next came primer. I used this water based stain blocking primer by General Finishes! It covered extremely well on a properly prepped surface. I applied two coats for good measure, allowing approximately 30 minutes of dry time between coats.

After prepping and priming were out of the way, then came the layering technique that would really give this piece the character and age I wanted it to have. Starting with the empire grey milk paint I randly painted streaks all over the surface of the island, immediately followed by the sage. I used the same brush and did not allow for dry time in between these colors because there was really very little layering happening in this step. It looked like a trainwreck of a paint job honestly. Not gonna lie I was sweatin it a bit at this point; thinking wow I just ruined a perfectly good peice of furniture Haha, nonetheless, I pressed on and this is what things were looking like about halfway through.

You can see little hints of wood in areas where I did not sand as well as I should have. In this case it worked in my favor for the chippy look we were wanting.

Before applying the alabaster, I quickly went around the surface of the island scraping with a small putty knife. The paint was not completely dry at this point which worked in my favor. It peeled eaily in several places, leaving the grain of the wood showing below.

After a quick scrape, came the most cruicial piece to this puzzle. The wax. Using a old pillar candle I scraped the surface of the island in areas where I didn’t want my alabaster layer to adhere. I had zero rhyme or reason to this application I just went for it an let my heart lead me.

Then came the coat of alabaster. Since this was the main color I wanted to show, I was sure to do one full coat for this layer, not spotty and streaky like before.

Before the alabaster had a chance to completely dry I began to scraping layers of paint again. The paint chipped perfectly from the areas the wax had been applied and peeled in some of the areas that were still a but tacky, which was an unexpected surprise. I didn’t mind the extra peeling at all, ot brought even more character to this piece.

At this point, I recommend finishing your piece with General Finishes Water Based Topcoat. Although, I must admit I skipped this step out of eagerness to install the DIY Rusted Hardware, I do plan to go back and complete this step!


Now that everyting has had time to dry, it’s time for hardware and of course the top! Check out this amazing transformation using General Finishes Milk Paint! It’s a completely different piece!

My honest thoughts and advice on General Finishes Milk Paint products

  • This paint had EXCELLENT coverage! I have complete confidence in it’s ability to cover over darker finishes
  • Be sure to do the proper prep work. The primer is water based and will only stick to a properly prepared surface.
  • Dry time is SUPER QUICK which really helped to cut down on project completion time. This can be a huge plus when you’re working to get your home back in order.
  • The colors were rich in pigment and were absolutly goregous alone and layered!


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  • Reply
    at 6:22 PM

    Fabulous result. I love this DIY

    • Reply
      at 10:11 PM

      Thank you so so much! I enjoyed it!!

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