Antique Gate Leg Table with Milk Paint and a Paint Sprayer

antique gate leg table with mail paint and stained top

Can anyone else sympathize with me about how difficult it is to paint antique spindle legs?  I never pass up a piece with them (at the right price, of course) but I always dread painting them.  It takes hours to paint spindles and always starts out fun and quickly gets monotonous.  That is, until now…

Enter the Homeright Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer – the best solution to all of my antique spindle furniture problems.   This month the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest’s theme is Spray Me Pretty, and I couldn’t pass up spraying a piece of furniture that already had extremely pretty bones, but just needed some TLC.

antique gate leg table before

I’ve used paint sprayers before, and let me tell you, I always hate the experience.  Mine shook, a lot, so much so that it made my arm hurt from using it.  The one I used before had a lot of small pieces that made it really difficult to take apart and put together when I needed to clean it or when it clogged.  Plus, it was obnoxiously loud.  It wasn’t even like I went all thrifty and got the cheapest thing I could find – it actually was the same price as the Homeright sprayer.  (I just didn’t know about the Homeright sprayer at the time, but I sure wish I did!)

homeright paint sprayer with milk paint

The Homeright paint sprayer is different, and my old paint sprayer is now on Craigslist.  It is quiet, and extremely smooth when spraying.  It comes with a viscosity cup to help you thin the paint to the right consistency.  Plus, you can even add an included attachment to blow away dust (think keyboard cleaning – I wonder if it will work on leaves?)  The feature I love most is that it is extremely easy to disassemble and clean.

I decided to get a little risky on this piece and use milk paint in my paint sprayer.  I love milk paint, and I really didn’t think anything else would look as authentic on this table.  For those of you that have used milk paint before, you know that it can get a little chunky (tiny bits of the powder that don’t get mixed all the way, no matter how well you mix) and it dries very quickly.  These two characteristics make for a deadly combination with a paint sprayer, because both of those will cause major clogs.  But, I’ve read people have had success with spraying milk paint, so I gave it a shot (quite literally).

preparing for milk paint

But before I could start painting, I had to prep the piece.  I have a whole post dedicated to how I prepare furniture for different types of paint, but for this table, I sanded everything (ugh – not super easy with all those grooves!) and covered the top thick paper and the edges with painter’s tape.  To spray it, I started with it on it’s top, and then turned it over and sprayed the parts I missed.

vintage gate leg table painted

I’ll say it turned out working just fine, wouldn’t you??  There were a couple of tricks that I used that I think helped the milk paint to spray beautifully.  First, I made sure to add a little extra water than usual and mix it very well (with a little electric mixer) a couple of times, and right before placing it in the sprayer.  Second, and probably the most important step, is I passed the paint through a strainer.  It caught a couple of little dried up flakes and particles that otherwise would have clogged the sprayer.  Finally, I used the cleaning brush that comes with the sprayer to clean out the nozzle a couple of times during the spray.  I found that the milk paint did clog it slightly once or twice (probably because it dries so quickly) but because the Homeright paint sprayer is so easy to disassemble, I could quickly clear out the nozzle and get back to painting!  I also used the sprayer to spray on flat polyacrylic and it worked beautifully (and saving me a lot of money now that I don’t need to buy the aerosol cans anymore).


I can’t tell you how much time this paint sprayer saved me while creating a beautiful finish!

stained table top

For the top, I stripped off the previous layers of stain and finish, stained the top in a dark walnut, and finished it off with satin polyacrylic.

antique gate leg table with milk paint

Homeright supplied me with the paint sprayer for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.  For more information, you can read my disclosure policy.

Head on over to our hosts for the month – Evey at Evey’s Creations and Lynn at On Fern Avenue – to see their creations, and all the other participants’ amazing work!  Then, pay a visit to all of our other amazing hosts!

FFFC main graphic updated (10.2015)Evey’s Creations (host) | On Fern Avenue (host) | Thirty Eighth Street | Anastasia Vintage | Ciburbanity | 58 Water Street

If you’re interested in joining in on the fun of the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest, please send an email to [email protected]

Take a look at some of my other FFFC pieces and furniture painted with milk paint:

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9 thoughts on “Antique Gate Leg Table with Milk Paint and a Paint Sprayer

  1. Hi Jenny, your projects are amazing and I enjoy coming and checking out what you’re up to each time. I would like to nominate you for a Blogger Recognition Award. If you accept, please let me know, I will be posting next Monday!

    1. Thanks, Brenda! Milk paint sure does work, but I’d say it’s the most difficult paint I’ve worked with in a sprayer. Not that it really matters, because it still works!

  2. That looks fantastic and I bet the paint sprayer gave you a much faster method and a more even coating. It’s really worth the trouble to refinish beautiful old pieces, isn’t it? I keep meaning to work on some of the things I have, and get to one or two important bits, but rarely have the time. But in my case the furniture needs restoration and can;t really be painted…well, I suppose it could, but I love living with the antique wood too much to cover it up. For part of the year I live near Oxford where Annie Sloan has her home and her original shop, and it’s on my way to the Oxford Printmakers Guild where I study printing and so always pop in. I”m always tempted by the beautiful paints and the chalky, satiny finishes and usually end up buying something silly…like a vintage grain sack. I really much find an old piece to milk paint and stick it somewhere in the house. 😀

    1. Too funny – but vintage grain sacks are pretty awesome, too! I really enjoy using milk paint, especially on pieces like this. I think it suits it well, even though I am covering up the original wood. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Jenny- that is the prettiest turquoise blue hue and those spindly legs are to die for! Thank you for sharing it with us at Friday’s Furniture Fix! I hope you’ll link up with us again next week!.. Carrie

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