Old wooden box gets turned into...an old wooden box

An old wooden box.

old wooden box

Just an old wooden box. A beat up, used, abused, gouged, well-loved, but sturdy wooden box.

wooden box

You could put anything in it. Toys, mittens, kindling, tools, office supplies…it’s such a good size that it’s so very versatile in just about any room. However, when we first came across it, it wasn’t pretty enough to be in any room. It was more of a stick-in-the-back-of-the-closet-and-forget-about-it old wooden box.

Don’t get us wrong, it has oodles of charm and patina. You can definitely tell it’s been around the block at least once. But there is such a thing as too much charm, too much patina. You can see evidence of what we mean on the lid of the old wooden box. Gouges, scratches, old paint, discoloring…oh my! It was a little much. Luckily, we know an easy fix for turning sad things into fabulous things.

wood box

It’s going to sound counterintuitive, but we wanted to make this box look old. Like it’s been in the same family for a few generations, housing everything from hand-knit mittens to Grandpa’s set of wood carving tools. We wanted it to look well-loved. Luckily, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is perfect for creating that look.

miss mustard seed milk paint kitchen scalemilk paint typewriter

We had some random colors sitting around so we mixed two together to see what would happen! We mixed 1 scoop of Kitchen Scale to 4 scoops of Typewriter, and the result is the most gorgeous gun-metal gray. We would highly recommend this color for just about anything!

We opted to finish the box with Tung Oil for its extreme durability and water resistance. Who knows where this box will find its home, and at least with this versatile finish it can go just about anywhere, even outside! See how it brings out the beauty of the color and the wood underneath? The MMS oils are amazing for this very reason. Not any does this box have a durable new finish, but the oil fed the wood underneath ensuring it doesn’t dry out and crack. Win-win!

tung oil

So back to the making the box look old. We know what you’re thinking, “the box was already old! Now you’re painting it? Has the world gone mad?!” Stay with us! By painting the box, and choosing the correct sandpaper grit, we can manipulate how old the box looks. Instead of having all over scratch marks and wear and tear, we can instead create a more conducive patina. It takes on an aged quality instead of a thrown-off-the-side-of-a-mountain quality.

To create a more worn look we opted for a coarser grit sandpaper, 150 grit to be exact. We’ve been using our reusable, washable sanding pads from Annie Sloan for all of our distressing needs, and the coarse pad worked great for this project. We lightly rubbed the pad over the entire surface, paying special attention to corners, edges, and anywhere else you’d normally find wear and tear. We love how the top of the box turned out!

milk paint on wood

Insider’s tip: when applying either Tung Oil or Hemp Oil to an old wooden piece, we like to put a generous coating all over and let it sit for a while. Like, sometimes overnight. This wooden box was so thirsty it ended up soaking up most of the oil in just 30 minutes. Feel free to apply multiple coats, the wood will choose how much it wants to absorb. Remove the excess with a clean, lint-free cloth and you’re good to go.

We weren’t sure there was any hope for this box. What do you think?

miss mustard seed milk paint

antique wooden box

Upon closer inspection, it was clear this box was hand-made. The wood on the inside had all of these nifty stamps, and they were different on each side.

handmade wood box

Another overlooked detail was this amazing escutcheon. It was dirty, tarnished, and blended into the dark wood. A quick rub with the sandpaper and it brought the brilliance back.

antique box

wool pillow painted wooden box old wooden box

An old wooden box becomes a much nicer looking old wooden box in just and hour.


Thinking about using Milk Paint on your next project? Check out the video tutorials here, and then pick your colors and topcoats here. Need more help? Stop in and see us in store, give us a call, or shoot us an email!

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