Milk Paint, Distressing Furniture or Mailboxes



The best part about distressing furniture/mailboxes, is there is almost no way to mess the process up! Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to make a cheap black mailbox look like it’s a hundred years.


  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (we used Farmhouse White)
  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint – Bonding Agent
  • mason jar with lid
  • angled paint brush
  • paint tray
  • measuring cup
  • The item your distressing (mailbox in our case).
  • distressing items: a variety of sandpaper or sanding sponges, chains, gardening equipment, hammer etc.. (Whatever you can find have fun with it).
  1. Collect supplies! 
  2. Install mailbox, here’s the link to the mailbox and post we selected.
  3. Lightly sand the post and mailbox with a fine sanding sponge.
  4. Make sure you sand the whole thing! My hands aren’t about to explode, I’m pregnant and swollen.
  5. Using a mason jar mix (shake) equal parts water, Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, and Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint Bonding Agent. If you decide not to use the bonding agent the paint will be much thinner. Don’t worry too much about the consistency… milk paint is more watery than other paints. The paint should stay on the brush without dripping off but still be very thin. If you do use the bonding agent your paint will be much thicker.
  6. Apply the paint with your angled brush. Our paint appears opaque because of the bonding agent. If you want your paint to be translucent use more water, don’t use the bonding agent, or you may not have to do a thing if you climate is different than mine.
  7. Wait 30 minutes in-between each application of paint. Don’t be discouraged if you are dissatisfied at this point in the project, I was. The best tip I can give you, is to keep going. The more you do, the better your piece will look.
  8. Start distressing next! I started with a fine sanding sponge and worked my way up to coarse sandpaper, but if you’re bolder than me, use whatever you like first.
  9. I used coarse sandpaper next, it’s great for the raised areas.
  10. Right before my husband hand painted the numbers! 
  11. After the paint is dry polyurethane the surface and replace flag. I also added a flower bed.

Why use the bonding agent?

The bonding agent will allow the paint to adhere “better” to previously painted surfaces, metal, or glass. I highly recommend the bonding agent when painting an item that will be exposed to the elements whether a mailbox or a piece of furniture.

Milk paint mixing techniques.

  • If you prefer your paint to be a little thicker, just mix in more milk paint powder. The paint will become more opaque and less translucent the more powder you mix in, but you may like that better anyway.
  • If your paint is too thick add more water, this paint is very forgiving!
  • Think of milk paint as a pancake batter not typical paint, some clumps are fine!


  • Used three coats of paint.
  • Like using a mason jar to mix/shake it up, but a cup and whisk is more than acceptable.
  • Used 1/2 cup of milk paint but you may want to start with a 1/4 cup. For larger pieces of furniture you should start with 1 cup.


  • Raised areas weather first naturally so distress those locations more than others.
  • Experimenting on distressed furniture is fun, scrape chains, garden tools, course sandpaper or other items across your piece.

Wanna go a little further?

After step 10 and before the numbers were painted, I mixed some very watery milk paint and went over any exposed black areas. This process will leave a translucent sheen over the exposed metal.

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