Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – Mint Green Secretary Makeover

I painted the secretary this weekend and I just love the way it turned out!

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint | Laylas Mint | The Lettered Cottage

Thanks again to Marian for creating such a sweet color for me! (Here’s a link to her post about it if you’re interested in mixing up a batch of your own: Finding Layla’s Mint)

Layla Mint | Miss Mustard Seed | Milk Paint

Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint is so much fun to work with!

Because milk paint is powder that you mix with water, and because I mixed mine by hand (with a small fork), I saw quite a few little clumps as I painted it on:

Laylas Mint | Shutter Gray | Miss Mustard Seed | Milk Paint

See them there in the center of that photo? Well, one of the cool things about milk paint is that those clumps end up scraping off very easily when it’s dry. Check out the photo on the left below:

Milk Paint | Miss Mustard Seed | Laylas Mint | Secretary Makeover

I used a small, flat paint can opener to scrape off the bumps, and because I didn’t use any bonding primer, the Shutter Gray color underneath showed through. Pretty cool, huh? You can also see how the milk paint (naturally) bubbled up and flaked off in certain areas in the photo on the right. That’s another cool thing about milk paint- you never know where it’s going to do that. It makes the process so much fun! ๐Ÿ˜€

I used my paint can opener to distress all the edges and corners:

Laylas Mint | Shutter Gray | Milk Paint | Miss Mustard Seed

…and I used Marian’s soft furniture wax to seal it when I was done.

Laylas Mint Milk Paint | Miss Mustard Seed

The Lettered Cottage Kitchen | Laylas Mint Milk Paint | Miss Mustard Seed | Heather Gray Island | Gray Owl Walls

I was going to do a step-by-step tutorial, but Marian really does the best job of walking you through the whole milk paint process on YouTube. Here are some links to her super helpfulย videos that I watched before I started working on my secretary:

Mixing milk paint by hand

Mixing Milk Paint with a blender

Bonding agent tutorial

Applying the first coat of milk paint

Applying the second coat of milk paint

Getting the chippy look with milk paint

Applying furniture & antiquing wax

Hemp oil tutorial

Happy painting!

Updated to add:ย Exciting news! Marian texted this morning and said that “Layla’s Mint” is going to become one of her milk paint colors! AAAAAHHHHH! ๐Ÿ˜€

Our Boys Bedroom - Decorating Update
Debbie's China Cabinet Makeover

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. Leslie Brown says

    Well, it turned out lovely, of course :-) Your kitchen looks so much more “Layla” now, and is very pretty. You just have a knack for seeing the end result in your mind and how it will be just perfect. In the past, I have not been a fan of such light counters before, but I am truly thinking of using the same material and color when the time comes for us to re-do them. I love the light shading of color throughout and the thickness of them is wonderful. Are you still happy with them, or have you found anything after using them a bit that might make you think differently about your choice? I remember that you don’t or didn’t do a lot of cooking, but do you think they would hold up well in a kitchen that sees a lot of cooking/baking and a hubby that isn’t too careful about how he uses things? (Grrr.) Your choice for the back splash is so beautiful also, and I would love to do something like that. However, we have already started with beaded board on a couple of whole walls and will continue it behind open cabinets and as the back splash on those walls to, and I do love it and it can be painted as desired which is always nice. Anyway, I love all you have done girl–super job! By the way, if you switch around the pepper and salt shakers and make them salt and pepper instead, they stand for Sweet P’s initials. Just in case you hadn’t noticed that yet :-) Sure can’t wait for your little guy to get home. I am almost as excited as if y’all are my family, lol! I am so glad to have shared in your story of becoming Palmers with us, and allowing us to follow along as you grow in love, life and family. You two are an amazing couple, and we all love you, ya know!? Hugs and prayers to you and Kev from an unusually hot, muggy Oregon. Gee, I hope that didn’t come out too mushy and strange :-)

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Leslie!
      I forgot to mention in my post that I used my island as a work surface for this whole project, and spilled milk paint powder here and there and everywhere on the countertop. 24 hours later every bit of it wiped up, washed off/scraped off without a problem! I can’t say enough great things about the Frosty Carrina. I really do love it, and it feels like the perfect fit for us!

      Hugs and prayers from a hot and muggy Alabama! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Leslie Brown says

    Oh, yes. I was going to ask if you used a wax or the hemp oil on your secretary? I understand it makes a big difference in the feel and of course helps the paint to wear better and last longer. And please excuse the typos and poor sentence structure of the former response. It is after 1:00am here, and still not cool enough to go to bed…

    • Layla says

      I sure did, Leslie! I loooooove her soft wax. It’s so easy to apply and it creates such a beautiful/durable finish. :-)

      • Leslie Brown says

        A little late, but I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my question. I realize it is not possible to respond to every request when you have a blog as popular as yours. However, since I have no experience with any kind of counter top except good old laminate, it does really help to know others opinions of some of the newer options. I hate when I save and save $$, purchase an item that is supposed to be better and then not have it perform as expected :-( So, thanks again!

  3. says

    I did a piece (WM Everret Foyer Table) about one year ago using the MMSMP in Linen. Marian made it look so easy. Of course, she is a master! And it is easy! I had a lot of fun with it and the new experience of milk paint. I looked at it as if it were a piece of art and that way I didn’t freak throughout the process. I did use bonding agent as I was working with a brand new shiney finish on the piece. I sanded down spots, added antiqueing wax, regular wax, and two tarnished brass pulls to each drawer. I am quite pleased. :) I have my Boxwood paint waiting for a piece I have for my sitting space in my bedroom. I can’t wait to do that one–love the Boxwood color! I love how yours turned out. I always use sandpaper for the edges and never thought to use a paint can opener! When I saw on Marian’s blog “Layla’s Mint” I gasped–you had mentioned she was making it up but it was funny to see it in words on her site. Will she really be calling it that if she uses that as a color down the road?? Your kitchen is just beautiful. It is all so well thought out, stylish, and comforting–as is your entire home.

    • Layla says

      Hi Kristin! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I’m not sure if “my” mint will become one of her colors- but I think it should, whether it’s named “Layla’s” or not! ๐Ÿ˜€ And thank you for your kind comments about our home this morning. Always a treat to meet you here! XO

      • says

        I think my question has been answered in your update at the bottom of your post–yahoo!! How cool to have a MMSMP named after you!

  4. jowilna says

    i had my doubts…but when you see it it really is just so Layla and it’s gorgeous!!! i love your style…just wish i could delve into it everyday!! xxx

    • Layla says

      Hi Jowlina! Thank you for the kind comment! And I’m curious, were your doubts about the color? :-)

      • says

        I had doubt about the colour – it looked really nice when Marion mixed it but i must admit it looks even better on that hutch! it is just so fresh and “you”. I wish i can change my house to look a bit more fresh farmhouse with those colours, but i think i love red too much – you should come to Africa and help me out LOL – love it – and no i never doubt anything you do as i simply LOVE everything you do! x

  5. Christy Keyton says

    That looks great! I love MMS milkpaint. I painted two pieces with it last week – a $10 chair with Eulie’s Sky which chipped in ALL the right places and a table that had been sitting in my garage for over 10 years. I used Apron Strings on the base of the table and diluted Curio to use as a stain for the top. Finished the top in hemp oil. It turned out gorgeous!

    • Darla says

      It’s perfect! Love it! The only problem is that I would like to paint a cabinet that I have the same color. Any idea on if this color will become available? And when? Thanks!

  6. Sylvia says

    I love the new color; the old color was very pretty, as well. I think Marian did a step by step tutorial on colors and ratios she used to get the Layla paint. I know she blogged about it and I think she gave details. So, it would be worth taking a look at her site if someone wanted to use the same color.

  7. says

    I love your secretary! It turned out gorgeous in your kitchen! I love that you can see some of the grey “peeking” through the mint color! It’s so lovely!

  8. Maryjane from Manitoba says

    I actually liked the secretary the other colour. I thought it went better in the kitchen.

    However these things are a matter of opinion so, if you like it, then that’s the important part because it’s in your kitchen and you get to see it every day.

    It’s a pretty colour and you’re fabulous so I’ll just be respectfully different this time. It doesn’t change how fabulous you are.

    Warm regards,
    from Manitoba

    • Layla says

      Hi Maryjane!
      I didn’t like the way the Shutter Gray clashed with the Heather Gray island, and I wanted something in the green family to tie in with our ming green backsplash tiles. All I need now are some chocolate chips- LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€ #mint

  9. says

    Okay, that does it! I want everything, everywhere, painted a pretty pastel color! Wondering, just now, about selling MMS chalk paints in my retail space + teaching classes at my DR table! HA — it’s fun to imagine things!

  10. Dawn says


    It turned out just lovely. I love the soft green color and all of the wonderful texture it has. Question: Do you only have to two chairs by your island? You might need another one here in the near future… :)

  11. Stephanie says

    Layla… Can I just move into your house? You have such fantastic taste and I love the beachy/cottage/vintage vibe you guys have going on. Totally in love with this blog. Keep up the great work!

  12. Cris says

    It’s funny – all the things you loved about milk paint are all the things I hated about it! The powder all over, the mixing, the bits that just won’t mix, the bumpy paint, the completely unpredictable way it sticks to some areas and not others (even after using milk paint primer), the way its flaked up in random pieces larger than can be considered attractive ‘patina,’ even after waxing, its short shelf life… The experience (disclaimer – I did not use the Miss Mustard Seed brand) really drove home how lucky I was that acrylics were invented!

  13. says

    Your kitchen looks so good, please do a before and after post of the kitchen. I love the changes you’ve made.

  14. Leah: ) says

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Finally that “new” kitchen
    is so much more YOU!!!
    : )
    So fresh, Layla, Love it!!

  15. Marianne in Mo. says

    It came out so pretty! I liked it before, but I may just like it better now. I’ve been keeping my eyes out for a secretary like that. My mom had one when I was growing up, and I used to play “Secretary” at it all the time. I hope I can find one for around $100, because I don’t think dear one would let me pay more. Not a “need”, just a “want” !!;-)

  16. Maryjane from MB says

    May I ask one more question? I’d pondered this initially…
    how come you didn’t paint the secretary the same colour as the island? Would that have been too much?

    Warm regards,
    from Manitoba

    • Layla says

      Sure, Maryjane! We are most drawn to a collected/color coordinated (not matching) look, and I wanted to secretary to look like a piece of furniture that had been pulled in to the room– not like another piece of kitchen cabinetry. I hope that makes sense! ๐Ÿ˜€ #ThatWasSortaHardToExplain

  17. says

    The secretary looks absolutely gorgeous, and that is awesome news that Layla’s Mint will be added to the line. :) I’m thinking that I need to refinish both my dresser and nightstand – perhaps some milk paint would be perfect. I’m off to go learn even more about it.

  18. says

    Layla, I’m in LOVE with mint green at the mo’ and totally get you wanting to incorporate it in that gorgeous space of yours. I understand how the original Shutter would have clashed a little with the Heather.
    I actually adore mint so much I used it in a recent project of mine too: http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/07/re-love-project-before-after/. Just a subtle pop, though I think it really helps soften the overall piece and adds a touch of individualism.

  19. Megan says

    You’re just amazing. Period. :) can you please share where you got the sweet July dish towel? I apologize in advance if this has already been answered…just couldnt find anything.

  20. says

    It turned out so amazing!! Love it. And how exciting about “Layla’s Mint” – I think I may have to order some myself.

  21. Maryjane from MB, Canada says

    Thank you for you kind explanation Layla. I am very grateful.

    I’m not sure if I’m any more in love with the mint green, but I appreciate your time to explain the concept (which makes sense). I doubley appreciate the understanding of the concept, as I attempt to make my home more beautiful, thus by studying what you do to see if it would work for my place (wish you still did pick my prestos).

    I think the overall space is gorgeous! I love seeing all your wonderful ideas and appreciate how you help my mind to expand on the home dรฉcor front. The mint might grow on me. :) Still, the important part is that you love it. You are very talented.

    I hope you have a wonderful day!
    from Manitoba, Canada

  22. says

    I copied Marian’s recipe for Layla’s mint and used it on a dressing table/vanity and it was gorgeous! Thanks for inspiring the color!

  23. CLynn says

    Where can I get shades like the ones in these pictures? I have some I purchased from a local store, but they quit selling them!

  24. says

    Layla, you’re certainly not the only one who loves the way your secretary turned out, it looks fantastic! And the fact that you’re getting your own color now, makes it probably that much better! :) I think the color is perfect, and the fact that you have such a vintage and worn look without paying for an antique secretary is perfect for anyone on a budget. I do have one question for you (unrelated to the secretary, I’m sorry), but I LOVE the three pendant lights you have above your counter — can you PLEASE tell me where you got them?!!

  25. Pamela says

    Layla, it may have been answered already, I will look- could you please tell me the source and detail of your bamboo shades in this kitchen snap. Looking really great! Nice work. :)