How to Create an Authentic Chippy Paint Look with Fusion Milk Paint

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There’s nothing quite like old fireplace mantels, architectural salvage, and antique furniture with it’s original chippy paint finish still intact! But with the chippy paint technique I’m sharing in today’s post, you can create an authentic chippy paint look with Fusion Milk Paint that is almost as good as the real deal chippy created by 100 years of love and wear. I used this chippy paint technique on an antique mantel in our living room, and I was so pleased with the results I had to share the process here on the blog!! Let’s jump into the details! I’ll share what worked for me and all the steps to achieve that authentic chippy look!

fireplace with white antique mantel, beadboard, electric insert, and Samsung frame TV above the mantel, and built-ins
fireplace with white antique mantel, beadboard, electric insert, and Samsung frame TV above the mantel, and built-ins

First things first, let me show you what I started with. I found this beautiful antique mantel on Facebook Marketplace that I knew was meant for our farmhouse! The mantel was salvaged from an 1853 estate here in NC. It was massive, and covered with layers of chippy and chipping paint. While I loved the texture and charm, I didn’t love the blue color. So I decided to paint the mantel to make it fit my White & Woodgrain aesthetic! Here’s a peek at the mantel before I painted it.

1800's chippy paint mantel and Samsung frame tv
1800's chippy paint mantel

Painting Antiques

Now I know people tend to have strong opinions when it comes to painting antiques. Especially ones that already have such a beautiful patina and chippy charm like our mantel! But my thoughts on that are #1) paint isn’t permanent, #2) the original paint was literally flaking off so something needed to be done to preserve the texture anyways, and #3) your house, your taste, your call. I felt confidant in my ability to salvage the texture while still updating the color in a way that looks and feels authentic to my style and to our antique mantelpiece. Ok, on to the “how to” part of this post…

painted antique mantel with Fusion Milk Paint for an authentic chippy paint look

My Chippy Paint Technique Using Fusion Milk Paint

With the exception of our walls and trimwork, I almost exclusively paint with Fusion Products for all the DIY’s in our home. And for this chippy paint technique, I used Fusion Milk Paint and a few other items I’ll list out below…

Fusion Milk Paint in oyster bar, hotel robe, and london fog

Supplies You’ll Need

How to Create Authentic Looking Chippy Paint with Fusion Milk Paint

  1. Seal any original chippy paint with Tough Coat.

    Because the original chippy paint on my piece was flaking off, and I didn’t want it to continue flaking, I actually started off by sealing the entire thing with Fusion Mineral’s Tough Coat. This step protected the original layers of paint, so that when I started to distress my new layers, the old layers would remain mostly untouched. Remember, my goal was to change the color and save the original texture. I wanted my layer of white paint to look like just another layer of old paint on top! This step is specific to my piece, and may or may not be needed for your paint project.

  2. Use a whisk to mix your Fusion Milk Paint with water.

    Typically Fusion Milk Paint calls for a 1:1 water to paint ratio. But for whites and lighter colors, you can add a little more paint than water for better coverage. I chose the color Hotel Robe for this paint project, but I also tested out the colors Oyster Bar and London Fog as shown below. Once you have thoroughly mixed your paint, let it rest for a few minutes, then stir again before painting.

  3. Prep your piece while your milk paint rests.

    Fusion Milk Paint will naturally resist a smooth glossy surface, and it will adhere to a porous or sanded surface. I started off with a matte finish tough coat to seal the mantel. So to help the paint resist the tough coat, I rubbed a wax puck all along the edges that would naturally show wear over time. I paid close attention to the areas where the original chippy paint was chipping the most so that these areas would still show through. I also rubbed Vaseline on a few areas as well to really help the paint resist.

  4. Give your paint a quick stir and then start painting!

    Once you have a small section painted, use your hair dryer on high heat to help the paint dry super quickly. I held the hair dryer over some sections longer than others. If you watch closely, you’ll see the paint start to crackle, chip and even lift up off the piece you’re painting. This is what you want! You kind of have to play with the paint and the hairdryer during this step as it’s more of an art than an exact science. Because I wanted a lot of texture, and I wanted the white paint to look like just another layer of old paint, I slathered it on messily. And I love the way it turned out! Just keep stirring your paint, and working in small sections until you get the desired look. I ended up doing two coats of Fusion Milk Paint on the mantel.

  5. Use a paint scraper to distress your piece.

    I used this metal paint scraper to remove some of the paint and reveal the original colors underneath. I love the look of all these little crackley chippy lines, so I distressed a lot of the smoother areas and left a lot of the crackley spots.

  6. Add depth and age with antiquing glaze.

    I was happy with the overall coverage of the paint and the chippy texture on our mantel, but I wanted to add a little more depth to the piece after painting. To me it looked a little too new at this stage. I watered down some of this Fusion Antiquing Glaze. I brushed it on to the grooves and crevices, and areas where dirt and dust would naturally have settled overtime. Then I used a soft rag to dab away the excess glaze. I’m glad I watered it down because a little goes a long way, and it didn’t take much to add a little depth.

  7. Seal your piece with Fusion Mineral’s Tough Coat.

    Fusion’s Tough Coat will protect your chippy layers of paint from chipping off too much, and it’ll seal your piece for every day use.

1800's chippy paint mantel with Fusion Milk Paint hotel robe

And there you have it… Our chippy white antique mantel! I love how this project turned out, and I’m so glad I decided to trust my gut and paint this antique mantelpiece. Fusion Milk Paint is the way to go if you’re looking to recreate an authentically aged chippy paint look for your next DIY paint project! BTW, I am an affiliate for Fusion Mineral Paint. I have been a huge fan of Fusion’s products for years before I ever became an affiliate. The main difference now is that as an affiliate, I get to share my discount code with you! So if you’re needing restock on DIY supplies or you want to try a new product, you can save 10% by ordering through my link! The discount will apply automatically at checkout, and it is good for paints, brushes, tough coat, and more!!

1800's chippy paint mantel with Fusion Milk Paint hotel robe in farmhouse living room

Want to see this DIY fireplace project unfold from start to finish? Take a look back at where we started… (Today’s post would be part 6 in this series of posts!)

I hope this post was helpful and gave you some new ideas for your next paint project. And I also hope it brought a little inspiration to your scroll!! I am itching to start a new project here at the farmhouse. But with Thanksgiving and Christmas just a few weeks away, I’m trying to hold off on the big projects for a little while longer. No promises though! Thanks for stopping by the blog today, and as always, thanks for following along…

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