DIY Painted Chippy Farmhouse Dresser

This mustard yellow dresser was such a fun easy project! From the powdered milk paint, to the way it chipped, and those stained legs! Here’s how to create your own DIY painted chippy farmhouse dresser.

This yellow dresser just makes my heart happy. It’s not only perfect for springtime, but it’s perfect for summer, fall AND winter when you need a pick-me-up through the cold months.

Find more Yellow Painted Furniture here!

Before photo of dresser with broken back leg

How to EASILY Create a Chippy Finish

To create the chippy finish on this dresser we used a one-of-a-kind paint that will do its thing and chip where it wants to. If you’re a perfectionist, this might not be the project for you.

This paint literally does what it wants. When you think you know how to control it, it does the opposite of what you’re going for.

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For this chippy yellow dresser you’ll need:

To start out, one of the legs was broken off. Thankfully the broken part was still with the dresser, so I glued and clamped it on tight until the glue was dry.

Three clamps on broken leg

In the beginning, all I really knew about this dresser is that I wanted to keep the little feet in a wood finish.

So I stripped down the legs with my favorite paint stripper.

Check out this blog post to learn more about how to give your legs a wood finish.

After the legs were completely stripped down, I wrapped them in tape and plastic to keep paint from getting on them.

How to Prep Your Dresser for Milk Paint

Then I prepped the rest of the dresser for paint by cleaning, wood filling, sanding, and priming for bleed through with Dixie Belle BOSS primer.

I love Dixie Belle BOSS primer because it comes in clear, and it doesn’t smell as bad as shellac does.

Shellac is definitely my go-to clear bleed-through primer when I have access to paint outside though!

Here are a list of my fav primers and their pros and cons.

Dresser before milk paint on top of upside down pails

I also taped off the drawers so I could spray the milk paint. If you’re brushing the milk paint on, then you can skip this step.

How to Paint a Dresser with Milk Paint

I painted on 3 thin coats of Shackteau Interiors Milk Paint with my paint sprayer.

If you’re spraying, be sure to filter out any paint clumps before putting it through the sprayer.

Closeup of wet paint
This is what the milk paint looks like sprayed on. I went back over some of the super thin and runny areas with a paint brush to level out the paint.

I’m still new at spraying this type of milk paint.

It definitely goes on a lot faster, but the clumps in the milk paint, combined with how thin it got after I filtered out most of the clumps, made it a job for someone who has a lot of experience with their sprayer.

I’m still perfecting the best way to spray milk paint.

So I ended up going back with a brush to smooth out spots that were too wet and runny.

But if you aren’t experienced with a paint sprayer, no worries!!

Milk paint goes on great with a Zibra Paint Brush. Their fan, round, and triangle brushes are so good for getting into details!

If you’re looking for an extra chippy finish, a great little tip is to use a hair dryer to heat the paint in random areas while it dries.

The heat makes the paint dry faster, which makes it crackle and fall off.

In some areas, it doesn’t work, (remember, milk paint has a mind of its own) but in a lot of places it works.

In progress - dresser in paint booth with chippy finish

After all the coats were dry I sanded the paint down with 220 grit sandpaper to create more chipping and to smooth the paint.

Last but not least, I sealed the milk paint with a few coats of my favorite topcoat, Varathane Polyurethane.

Learn ALL of my tips and tricks on How to Spray Polyurethane here!

Learn more about how to use milk paint on a different dresser.

Complete with a video of working with the milk paint.

Side view of chippy mustard yellow dresser
Full view of mustard yellow chippy dresser with wood feet
Closeup of chippy yellow paint and black knob

DIY Painted Chippy Farmhouse Dresser

chippy mustard yellow tall farmhouse dresser after the makeover

Give your old furniture a pop of color with a rustic farmhouse feel. Here's how to create your own DIY painted chippy farmhouse dresser.


  1. Strip the old finish off the legs with a chemical stripper.
  2. Clean, repair any damage, scuff sand and prime the dresser to prep for paint.
  3. Paint 3 coats of the milk paint.
  4. Once dry, create more chipping with sandpaper.
  5. Seal the paint with a few coats of waterbased polyurethane.

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  1. Cheryl Atkinson says:

    Hi Natalie! I’m so glad you posted this. I definitely pinned it for later. I do appreciate every post. You are a huge inspiration to me so thank you! I have never tried spraying any kind of paint for the exact reason in your post. I feel if i have to go over with a brush then i might as well brush it all. More control i think. I would love to try it though. Have to try everything at least once. I saw a Wagner craft sprayer on someone else’s blog earlier and i think that is the one i will purchase. Well enough of my small talk. thank you! thank you! thank you!

    1. Hey Cheryl! Thank you so much for the love! One huge benefit of spraying is that the sprayed paint can easily get into details, and it applies the paint fast. Way faster than you can load up the brush, paint it on and then load the paint brush again. Even if you have to go back and brush some drips up, spraying is sooooo so much faster. Best of luck on your painting adventures!

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