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French Chair Makeover & White Wash Tutorial


Before I show these chairs, I am letting you know that I am selling them.  Yes, they are cane chairs and they are beautifully Frenchy, but I’ve recently made room for two pairs of French chairs and I just can’t make room for a third.  Now it’s out there and you can hold me to it!  (It’s tough for me.)


This pair of chairs have a beautiful shape, but a finish that wasn’t quite right for my taste.


I painted the pair in Shutter Gray Milk Paint followed by a wash of Ironstone and one coat of Furniture Wax.  The wash brings out the details of the piece and softens the finish to give it a soft, aged look.



It’s a subtle finish, but makes a big difference, especially on a piece with lots of detail.


Here’s my latest video tutorial to show how simple it is to achieve this look…

 I hope this pair finds a loving home.


The winners of a $50 gift certificate from The Vintage Pearl are…

Andrea Schraepfer and Tery Hodges


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  1. Hi Marian, your video was very helpful. I painted a chair today with Tricycle Red, and I like the idea of using a dark wash over the red. Do you have any idea if you can use milk paint on teak outdoor furniture? Our furniture has not weathered to the silvery gray color that I’d like, so I was thinking I could do a wash on it.
    Also, I am coveting that cotton pillow. Would you mind sharing the source? I just did post about cotton.

  2. Kristen says:

    Love this look! It’s been my go-to furniture treatment for anything with detail…even more than dark wax. I actually just finished a piece up like this. I’ve just always mixed my own glaze, but I’ll have to try it out with milk paint one of these days!

  3. Paula Jolly says:

    LOVE the pillow! Can you please share where you found it? (crossing fingers – maybe not at a tag sale!)

    • I have to agree with Paula… love the pillow! and would definitely be interested in finding out where you got it? I might even have to see about making something similar….

      And once again thank you so very much for sharing your techniques with us!

  4. That is beautiful Marian! I went thrifting with some friends today and I saw a dining room table and four chairs in this style! My heart actually jumped when I saw them and my first thought was ‘Oh Miss Mustard Seed would love those!’ I was wishing I had your cell number to text you a pic of them! Unfortunately I don’t have the need for them or the space to store/redo them so I could resell them. Sigh.!! Maybe someday! I am getting ready to look into a space somewehre that I can rent to put my handmade stuff along with some furniture I’ve redone.

  5. Just watched the video and had to comment again! Great video – so funny that you mentioned at the end about putting typwriter over tricycle, I was sitting here thinking the whole video “that would be cool to do with typewriter over tricycle!” I have tricycle – now to get some typewriter!

  6. Billie Meyer says:

    I just picked up the November Woman’s Day magazine and saw a face that looked familiar! Low and behold it was Marian Parsons, Miss Mustard Seed herself. I didn’t remember reading anything about it in your blog but there you were. Did I miss it? Anyhow, Congratulations on another great accomplishment.

  7. ashley yasek says:

    So pretty! I LOVE using a wash on detailed furniture. Did you get your nose pierced?! It looks so cute!

  8. Love the tutorial..and you are so natural on camera! Yes, this is the first tutorial I have watched *blush*. I feel more confident just watching you work! And gasp! You are parting with these chairs?!?lol;)

  9. Great tutorial, you make it look so easy. They are just beautiful chairs!

  10. Annie Vee says:

    Hi Marian. Dumb question to some… do you have a nose ring? or is it just my video reception? I never noticed this before. hmmmm. anyways… good tutorial on the washing technique.

  11. Miss Mustard Seed says:

    Yes, I do have one. I got it a couple of months ago, but just start wearing the hoop, which is a bit more noticeable, in the last few weeks. I have wanted one since college and my husband finally “gave me permission.” :)

  12. Yowch! Did it hurt to get the nose ring? :)

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      LOL…yes, but not bad. It just made my nose water and I did have a headache the rest of the day. It takes a long time to heal, though, and that’s been the biggest inconvenience. Otherwise, I love it. :)

  13. Nose ring??? Such an artist thing to do. LOVe it!

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      Yep! I figured I could get away with it in the industry I’m in. People expect you to be artsy.

  14. Allyson Browning says:

    I love the chair, but I was wondering where the pillow is from. I am in the process of decorating my new house and was hoping you could share your source.

  15. Thanks for sharing this video, great technique that I will have to try. Love the chairs!!
    Debbie :)

  16. Hi Marian – beautiful chairs. I have a similar one in black that I have been meaning to re-do. Love your tutorial. Your colors are amazing – so useful in any home.Thanks for all your inspiration!


  17. Carolina says:

    Awww. cool about the nose ring Marian lol!

    Love the chairs and the tutorial video …
    I am going to repeat myself but I loooove your book that I am reading you did such beautiful work on this book I really raccomand it !

    You all girls out there that love to create and re-do get this book it is awesome and very inspirational!!!


  18. Sue Hoke says:

    i tried to watch the video but all i have is a black screen and nothing to hit to start the video. Am I the only one not able to get the video? I really want to watch it. thanks sue hoke

  19. Allison says:

    Sooooo that’s how you do a wash!! Thanks so much for showing the technique—it truly is an art form and there does seem to be nuances of how you do it that give such a beautiful result. I just bought your book and am…..inspired:) And so fun about your nose ring…..if I was 30 years younger, I would have probably done the same thing. If I did it now, my sons would think I’m in a mid-life crisis;) I do have a question about the chair—-I notice that the Shutter Gray didn’t seem to chip at all on the chair. Did you apply the bonding agent to make sure it adhered better for this project??

  20. Oh boy, that was a great tutorial! Thanks, Marian. Love the chair too! I took the HomeGoods style sorter test and guess what I showed up as? Yup- Farmhouse Glam. I was thrilled to see that your blog is the example of the style!

  21. Jennifer says:

    I got your book yesterday. Can’t wait for Friday. I want to go over it from cover to cover without interruption ( from work/ kids/ housework) so am waiting til Friday night. Itching with anticipation. Peeked at it and its soooooooo beautiful

  22. julie says:

    Love your book. SO inspiring! And you are just adorable in your videos. (And now you’ve made me want to get something pierced, LOL!)

  23. Love the nose ring, I always wanted one after I read in the bible that Rebekah had one. 😉
    Love the chairs too! Hopefully will be able to get some ironstone milk paint soon! Nearest store that carries it is 2 1/2 hours away but I’m going in that direction tomorrow. Yay!

  24. Denise T says:

    Wow! Gorgeous ! I have both shutter gray and ironstone and I decide to do use both for my French wing chair. . I am still pulling staples. Almost done.

  25. I love the fiinish Marian, beautiful!

  26. Girl, you are looking good! All that healthy living is agreeing with you. And I love how the wash looks. I love doing that kind of thing. Layers definately make a piece.

  27. Marian, great tutorial. Actually was wondering about a wash because I wanted to try it on a double dresser Ironstone with grainsack. If you are okay with the under color showing through can you do this without bonding agent? Fun about your nose ring. x

  28. Wow! The ironstone wash really adds depth and dimension. I love what you did with this chair. It looks amazing and wonderful.

  29. 1. my mother is FINE with my having tattoos but she almost passed out when she thought I was getting a nose ring (I wasn’t getting one – she just thought I was).
    2. do NOT unplug the sump pump. you will forget to plug it back in and you will be sorry.
    3. THE MILK PAINT I WON ARRIVED TODAY!!!!!! (ironstone, typewriter, tricycle, boxwood, flow blue)
    4. yay!

  30. Thanks for the tutorial! I love your curly hair… I have it too and its taken me years to embrace it. Less primping & more compliments why fight it!

  31. Did you say you are selling the chairs? Would you ship them? They are awesome!

  32. Love the tutorial. Hysterical comments on Nose ring Marian. My 20 year old daughter just dropped that bomb on me..still reeling! Rebekah? Really? I learn the most amazing things in the most amazing places! Just got schooled on nose rings by MMS…LOL!

  33. I’ve been reading your articles about painting furniture and finishing the project off with furniture wax. I love the look and have been thinking of doing this technique on my kitchen cabinets.
    While I was visiting a fabulous furniture store the owner told me that I should never wax furniture because the wax will be permanent and if I ever wanted to refinish that piece again I wouldn’t be able to. Sort of made me hold off on painting my cabinets if that is true. Any thoughts on that? Thanks. LOVE your blog.

  34. Thanks for t he video. Do you have a trick to painting cane? Other than “pouncing”? Also, do you sell German Glass Glitter?


  35. Julia says:

    Hello – I’m wondering also about the teak wood painting – was that question ever answered?

  36. I can’t find the tutorial on reupholstery, someone mentioned that they learned from watching yours that you posted last spring?

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