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The "Chippy Paint Finish" - DIY

DIY chippy paint finish

Here it is – our first DIY post.

We are totally excited about this one, and we are just full of (too much) information for you.

Prepare yourself as we dive into our version of a DIY “layered chippy paint finish.”

Our particular project was like most projects around here, a necessity, and one that needed to be completed in a day. Yes, that's right - ONE DAY. And, while we don't suggest rushing a project this size, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do!

We’re going to share details of the whole process including those we will file as “Pinterest fails.” Mhmm, we do it, too. We pin hundreds of grand ideas equipped with beautifully detailed pictures of “fool-proof” processes that “ANYONE CAN DO!”

DIY chippy paint finish

Don’t misunderstand us… we love Pinterest. There are so many helpful resources all documented and available on this one site, it’s hard not to PIN ALL THE THINGS! However, your DIY success will depend on the project, the person, your patience, humidity, etc.

Being well researched on the project that you are undertaking should give you a great start. Of course, don’t be TOO researched… as we know, sometimes there are 10 different ways to do one thing. While you don’t have to read every “how-to” to hunt down the very best way to achieve your goal, it is wise to compare a few well-known do-it-yourselfers’ notes. This way you can see if there are common factors among processes and decipher personal preferences from hard unchangeable do and don’ts.

Okay… Are you ready?

For our first DIY, we decided to experiment with the popular “chippy paint finish” for a project that we needed right away. The goal was to create a mantle that would be displayed in our permanent booth at Excess II in Roundtop (click here for more information on the location of our booth). Did we mention we had one day to do it? No pressure!

First, we went to our Pinterest boards! We gathered information from multiple references but honed in on the advice from one particular pinner/paint finish pro - the woman who calls herself Miss Mustard Seed! She has some great tutorials and we gleaned the most from this particular write-up, Milk Paint FAQ. 

So, now on to the process - put your gloves on (or don’t, if you’re wild like that), get your supplies out and let’s get chippy!

We started out with an antique raw beam and applied a gel stain just to enrich the wood color.

Next, we haphazardly brushed on the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in “Ironstone“, leaving some areas without paint. Her Milk Paint is one of the (many) products we ended up (trying) on this project. In the end, for this particular project, MMS Milk Paint worked better as a base coat compared to chalk paint because chalk paint is made to adhere to any surface. Since we wanted paint that would chip/sand away easily, we figured chalk paint wouldn't be the best option for this step.

DIY chippy paint finish

We experimented with dragging a spatula across the wet paint and that left some interesting texture, but proved to be premature as we better obtained this look further on in the process. We ultimately figured out that to truly get a (quick) paint finish that would chip we would need to bulk up the layers. Since time was an issue, we got creative - funny how that happens in a crunch! We discovered spackling putty might be just what the paint doctor ordered!

DIY chippy paint finish

This particular putty goes on pink and dries white – perfect - this allowed us to see where it was needed and had an idea of the texture it was creating. After the spackling dried, we applied a stain to what we had in order to “age” it a bit. We didn’t like the color – more muddy than aged.

DIY chippy paint finish

Scratch that!

Thankfully we had additional sides to work on and we started again. Milk paint applied haphazardly, then spackling. After the spackling dried, we lightly sanded it, we didn’t want to knock down our pretty spackled texture – we were going for chippy not distressed! Once the texture was looking oh-so-fine we simply brushed on another coat of our Milk Paint to cover the spackling and unify the color.

A last minute quick dry-brush of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that we had on hand added a bit more texture. More texture is always good but that particular product/step wasn't essential. The final step was applying a clear wax all over to seal the deal!

And there you go!

In hindsight, we took many steps that we could have done without, but in this case helped us realize what process was the best for us for this project.

DIY chippy paint finish
DIY chippy paint finish

Now in case you’d like to replicate, after all we are promoting this as a DIY, here are the steps in simple 1-2-3 (4-5-6-7) terms.

Step 1

Stain wood (if you want a different under color, in our case, this wasn’t necessary but an added touch we wanted).

Step 2

Apply milk paint haphazardly (really, go wild) but leave some wood bare. You want to see some wood.

 Step 3

Spackle until you get the desired texture and look you’d like. This is really the fun part, and it’s up to you. Again, leave some wood showing.

 Step 4

Lightly sand, and I mean lightly. This is really just to knock down the rough edges of the spackle, you are not going for smooth – remember, chippy!

 Step 5

Brush on Milk Paint to cover spackle.

 Step 6

Seal with clear wax.

Step 7

Pat self on back, you have successfully made it through one DIY version of a highly sought after paint finish!

 We would like to hear feedback on your process and the products that you use or prefer. And of course – please send us pictures!