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How to Paint Furniture with General Finishes Milk Paint

Kelly Jenkins

We took a risk on this one... & it totally paid off! We gave this gorgeous bureau  a dramatic makeover in General Finishes Brick Red, Pitch Black Glaze & fresh handles for an incredible transformation! 

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Grab all of our favorite Furniture Painting supplies here.

Clear Primer

ClingOn! Brush

General Finishes Milk Paint - Brick Red

General Finishes Glaze - Pitch Black

General Finishes High Performance Top Coat

Hemp Oil

Fresh Handles from D. Lawless Hardware


This piece was discovered on one of our favorite buying platforms (Facebook Marketplace) & clearly needed a little love. These old mahogany pieces from the 40's or 50's are typically made of solid wood & well constructed but the finish is usually in pretty poor shape when we find them. This one was no different... but it DID have a few surprises for us! 

We had a few ideas for updating but weren't sold on the idea yet, so we posted looking for feedback on our Facebook page... should we stay safe with a Seagull Gray?  Try the Millstone I had been dying to paint with? Or go BOLD with Brick Red?? 


General Finishes Brick Red Bureau Captiva Home Decor


 The overwhelming response was to push the boundaries & paint this large piece in RED!! Yayyy!

Since we knew that these mahogany pieces tend to bleed,  our first step was to  prep then prime with our favorite clear primer. Then on to the fun part, painting!! 

I grabbed one of my favorite ClingOn! Brushes & applied the base coat of General Finishes Milk Paint in Brick Red. I love these brushes as they help the paint to level out, reducing brushstrokes & extending the paint to cover a bit further. They're also super comfortable to use & come in a variety of shapes & sizes. My favorites are the F40 & S50, learn more about the ClingOn! Brushes here.

Watch the Painting Video 

General Finishes Brick Red Bureau Captiva Home Decor

Once we reached solid, opaque coverage we topped with a coat of High Performance Top Coat, this helps to create a better surface to apply the glaze too. If glaze is applied directly over the paint, it may absorb more & alter the base color significantly. I always recommend testing your finish on sample boards to experiment with the products to get the result you're envisioning. 

Next I applied General Finishes Pitch Black Glaze over the entire surface then wiped back with a clean rag to leave it in the details but allow the base color of Brick Red to show on the flat panels. Be sure to work in small sections for this process, apply to a drawer then quickly wipe back, continue in this fashion until you finish the piece. 

Watch the Glazing Video

The bureau was finished off with 2 more coats of General Finishes High Performance Top Coat to offer enhanced durability for the finish.

I then used my favorite interior finishing trick to refresh the drawers. A quick massage with Hemp Oil refreshed the dry drawers dramatically! Just rub it in (I usually use a chip brush) allow to absorb for a few moments then wipe any excess oil off with a rag. It acts like a lotion to smooth & refresh the surface of the drawers, it's almost like magic! 

The final step was to update the hardware... we couldn't believe it but the original piece had plastic, imitation Hepplewhite hardware?!? This piece was begin for some classic, gorgeous hardware & we found the PERFECT pieces with our friends at D. Lawless Hardware. They offer incredible, high quality hardware at fantastic prices at & have graciously extended a discount for our audience! Use code CAPTIVA10 at checkout for 10% off the already crazy pricing!

Once the hardware was installed it was time for the big reveal... a gorgeous, handsome furniture makeover in General Finishes Brick Red!!

Selecting such bold color on a large piece was a but of a gamble but I think it was a fantastic result, don't you??


General Finishes Brick Red Bureau Captiva Home Decor



General Finishes Brick Red Bureau Captiva Home Decor





General Finishes Brick Red Bureau Captiva Home Decor

Follow me on Instagram @captivahome for more furniture makeovers!! I'd love to know which colors and styles fit into your world!!

- Kelly


General Finishes Brick Red Bureau Captiva Home Decor

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