Ask Miss Mustard Seed

Marian ParsonsRunning a Business46 Comments

I receive a lot of e-mails with questions about painting, supplies, sprayers, furniture, techniques, etc.  A lot of these questions are the same.  What kind of paint should I use?  What kind of sprayer do you use?  What is the cure time?  What top coat do you use?  How much should I distress a piece?  Where do you sell your pieces?  How did you start your business?  What color white do you like?  Can I paint this?  Oil or water based?  What would you do with this piece?
I don’t claim to be an expert in all things paint, DIY or furniture, but I paint a lot, I am a bit of a jill-of-all-trades when it comes to DIY, and I started my own business.  So, I decided I’d provide a forum for asking questions. 
Ask any questions you want.  It could be about painting, sewing, thrifting, decorating, starting a business, buying and selling antiques, whatever you want to know.  Just leave a comment with your question(s) and I will work on posts to answer them. 
You don’t have to wait for an e-book.  You can tap my brain for free. 
I’m all ears.
Miss Mustard Seed
Ask Miss Mustard Seed

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46 Comments on “Ask Miss Mustard Seed”

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to ask you questions.

    My questions…

    1. When you paint furniture do you wax it or poly as the final coat? Or something else.

    2. What inspired you to start your business?

    3. I started a shoppe 12 days ago and feel totally overwhelmed. Inventory, spreadsheets, painting, hauling, I don't seem to have a rhythm to this yet …does the feeling of being over whelmed lessen with time?

  2. Argh! I always have so many questions and now I can't think of a one! Ooooh wait….. what color did you paint the guest room? I am so totally obsessed with that treatment you did on the one wall. I think I may have a cheap and easy way to recreate it. I am going to try to test it out in the next couple of weeks!

  3. Hi! Love your blog 😉

    I have a question – how do you paint/decorate to open up a small room? All of our bedrooms are very tiny (10×12 or smaller) and so it just feels very smushed. The kids are little, so their rooms have lots of toys plus beds, and then my bedroom is super tiny and squished. I just want a refined look that makes the room not look so claustraphobic 😉 Any tips?

  4. The color is Crisp Linen by Sherwin Williams. It is the very palest of yellows, but it shows as a warm white. I love this color.

    You know, the board wall treatment in my guest room cost only about $25.00. It was cheap and I completed it in a ocuple of hours.

  5. This is great! Lets see…
    1. Did you start your business in an antique mall type of place?
    2. What is the usual rate for renting a booth or space at a place like that?
    3. How much inventory did you have when you first started?
    4. How did you decide where you wanted sell your wares?
    5. Do you have a favorite technique?

  6. Several times when I have sprayed a top coat sealer over a finished spray painted project, the paint bubbled up! The spray paint was allowed to cure for several days beforehand, too! So frustrating! I just know that you can help. Thanks!

  7. Oooh! Perfect timing!
    I've been looking for painters tarps to make some (maybe) curtains and throw pillows. The ones I've found look really beige-y so I keep looking when I'm in different stores.
    So my question is are all tarps basically the same? Is there a specific one you've used? Should I just bleach the crap out of them?
    LOL … that's three questions … oops! 😉

  8. Oh this is exciting! I could ask you TONS of questions but I will stick to one! hehe I DREAM of starting my own business and selling my furniture, home decor and still do the decorative painting I already do for clients. How do I REALLY get the ball rolling? Do I need to do some thing to get my name out there better? Are there any secrets I don't know about getting some financial support to maybe open a shop? How do I take this WONDERFUL "hobby" to the next level?

  9. I recently bought a mirror at Tuesday Morning. I got it for its shape and size and need to paint the frame. It came with a shiny silver looking wood frame. I want to paint it white. Shoule I use latex paint or can I paint it with a craft acrylic. Od course, after I paint it I will antique it. What's you think?

  10. HELP! Our front door is white. The screen door is also white. One of us wants to paint the front door a bold color; the other is concerned that it won't look good with the white screen door.


  11. I painted a side table black without any prep. It looks great, but doesn't hold up. So I sanded the top down and repainted it and I'm still having the same problem. How can I redo it so that the paint doesn't scratch off?

  12. First I'd like to say how awesome you are for answering questions! You know, some people are actually charging a fee to answer questions?!?! Come on…

    We're really struggling to find something that works with the business side of things, so I'm interested in finding out how you started. Do you consign in a shop? Do you sell in other venues? Where do you store inventory?

  13. You might hate me after all these questions but…I'll risk it! 😉 This is too good of an opportunity to pass up! Thanks for being so willing to share your talents!
    1-Oil based or latex paint?
    2-What type of Sprayer?
    3-Do you add flotrol to your paint to get a smoother finish?
    4-What percentage of your work is sprayed vs brushed?
    5-Any tips to avoid overspray?
    6-What paint sheen do you usually pick?
    7-Do you usually leave your pieces with paint as your finish layer, or do you coat with a poly? Do you spray the poly or brush?
    8-Do you ever glaze and if so what is the best color you've found?
    Thanks again!

  14. Oh no, I feel like this is a really stupid question, but I'll ask it anyway. I like to paint furniture with a brush, but my hand cramps up after a while. How can I prevent this from happening?

  15. miss mustard seed, thank you so much for doing this! my question is…
    i want to paint my (ugly wooden) kitchen cabinets white. is there anything i need to do other than sanding, priming, and painting them? i'm wondering if i need some sort of top coat. also what color white (and in what finish?) would you recommend? my walls are a tan with green undertones. thank you so much and i love your blog!

  16. Hi there,
    My question is….do you make custom slipcovers to sell?
    I enjoy reading your blog. You have an amazing talent.
    Take Care :o)

  17. Will you ever post a tutorial about how to make slipcovers like you made for your French settee and the chairs in your living room? Please? Pretty please? With cherries on top?

    I have two chairs that would be perfect for slipcovers like those, and I think I could do it myself, but I'm afraid to even start without some sort of direction.

  18. See? I emailed you and told you inquiring minds want to know…?
    This IS perfect timing.
    1. How do you choose a venue to showcase and sell your pieces?
    2. Is it better to have a booth in a Mall? or, Approaching a specialty shop, Tea room, or gift shop to sell your furniture/wares?
    3. Is it better to pay for rental space or pay a percentage of sale to a shop owner?
    4. Is there a set amount of pieces to start with?

    These are just a few questions- and I want to say Thank You Miss Mustard Seed for offering your thought, opinions and keen insight to the newbies, FOR FREE…

    You are a Jewel!

  19. Is that you in the first photo? If so, Wow, you're pretty! I can't think of any real questions that I would normally want to ask, but I'll ask this: How do you maintain a succesfull blog, business being a mother to small children? Also, how often do you talk on the phone?

    I know that last question may sound crazy, but I think thats my problem…

    Thanks for allowing us to ask you questions. I'm pretty sure I can come back with some better ones later;-)

  20. Ok, first of all L. Duncan cracked me up with her comment about the phone; I think she was implying that maybe she talks too much on it? Ha ha

    I would love to learn more about spraying furniture. What system do you use, type and size of compressor, favourite sprayer, favourite finish, any tips, where do you spray.

    A thousand thank you's.

  21. Thank you for stopping by Becolorful and commenting on my animal print end tables. I appreciate your honesty. I do have a question though. When I went to top coat these I was in a rush. We had so much rain and then wind wind wind. It was the day before the sale/show and I hadn't top coated them yet. To save time I used a spray clear coat. It turned MILKY white!!! I was totally freaking out. Have you ever had that happen? The entire top on the one table did this and one corner of the other table. I immediately started wiping it off and I was able to save the one table but the second one – the one where just one corner was affected had to have the entire corner redone. Fortunately the pattern of the top hid my fix. Just wondering what you use for a top coat on your pieces. Especially when you have used more than one color and you have layers of paint. I'm asking. :)))

  22. My question is EXACTLY like Kristen- So I'll cut/paste her here again… We are going to paint our kitchen cabinet white too!

    Here's Kristen's question again…
    miss mustard seed, thank you so much for doing this! my question is…
    i want to paint my (ugly wooden) kitchen cabinets white. is there anything i need to do other than sanding, priming, and painting them? i'm wondering if i need some sort of top coat. also what color white (and in what finish?) would you recommend? my walls are a tan with green undertones. thank you so much and i love your blog!

  23. Hey Marian, you are very generous to give us all your great advice! I am very interested in how you started out with your business??
    You have opened up the floodgates now mate, you are going to have us all drowning you with questions from now on!!
    Have a great day
    🙂 Flick

  24. I know this is probably already on your blog somewhere, but I'm going to ask anyway…

    Do you create a muslin version of a new slipcover before making it, or create it straight from the fabric you are using. I've seen it both ways, but would love to hear your take on it (because you, my friend, ROCK!)


  25. That is so awesome of you to have everyone ask you questions, and not charge them…too many out there are making money off general question asking….not that I think it is a bad thing, I just think people love inspiration, but they themselves do not know where to begin….I think beginning with a little knowledge helps. Thanks for coming by my home yesterday and your sweet comments on our Pub, you seriously made me laugh out loud. Yes you are right we have no fear in our design sense, it is unique to us:)

  26. No questions (although I'm dying to see some of your answers)…just wanted to thank you for your generosity in offering to do this!


  27. I really want to know how to make slipcovers. I have a formerly white Ethan Allen upholstered chair. It's beautiful and solid and wonderful. And I have three kids, hence the fact that the chair is no longer white. I want to make slipcovers, but am not sure how to get them to fit well, and I'm scared to buy the beautiful, expensive fabric I've looked at and then have the project go wrong.

    Advice (and encouragement) would be wonderful!

  28. Perfect timing, I'm just about to begin working on my first painted piece. I can't wait to read your answers. I've had the dresser I plan on painting in the garage for a few days. I've noticed the garage has an old, antique smell to it. Will this go away after I paint it? I really don't want my house smelling like Grandma's attic. Thank you for any advice you can offer to beginners. Love your blog!

  29. Hi,new to here & loving your blog THANK YOU! I've been going through old posts and can not find any suggestions on whether to use satin, flat or what kind of paint to antique with? Wanting to age a new mirror. And also I have some old ceiling tins any suggestions on how to hang as artwork wire of frame? THANK YOU again for the wonderful creative boosts!

  30. Wow Miss Mustard Seed, and thanks, you are gonna be busy 🙂

    I am all good on the paint side of things but I would be very interested in hearing your story of how and when you started your business, how and where you advertise, how and where you market/sell your pieces (and what you did to approach potential stockists of your work), and how you price them and estimate prices for custom jobs for clients (simply based on materials and time?). Also how many bits do you pump out in a week as a mum of young kids (I am too!), do you always have a big pile of to-be-painted stuff in your garage/studio/wherever or do you finish one then look for the next?

    thanks so much

  31. Miss Mustard Seed,

    First, I just to say "thank you" for your blog. You have been such an inspiration to me as I'm sure you have been to so many others. I, too, am thinking I might want to turn my hobby into my own business. I know people have asked you before about how you got started but I'm really interested in the very beginning. What was the first piece you sold? How did you advertise it, who bought it and how did you figure out how much you wanted for it? That would be one of my biggest problems. I would sell stuff for a far-too-low price. Did you have the confidence in the beginning that your work was good enough and that your pieces could sell? If not, how did you gain the confidence? I know these are lot of questions. Please feel free to answer as many or as few of them as you can. My email is Thanks so much!

  32. do you use the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in your sprayer? If you do are there any special instructions?

  33. Last time i had a question you were so busy and you LIMITS post had just run so I asked the question of one of your featured people I found thru your blog and she in turn went directly to you and I got your answer thru her so this time, even though I know your too busy I’m asking you directly. i’m waiting for my drawer pulls to arrive but i know the size. I filled the holes of the original bail pulls and I’m replace 4-1/2″ center pulls with 3″ center pulls on drawers with bail pulls on each side of the drawer. How do i figure out where to place them. I thought about using the outside or inside original hole as a starting point but thought you might have some guidance. With 3″ centers on the new pulls which way should I go? Start with the outside hole go three inches in or start with the inside former hole and go out to make the 3″ centers hole. Some of the drawers only had one of the 4-1/2″ centers pulls. With the smaller pulls should I just go for one again or go with two now that they are smaller?

  34. Hi Marian
    I have a question that I can not find answered anywhere in the DIY blog world. Is it possible to “show of” projects that you have done or link if you do not have a blog? I play around with painting and reupholstering furniture but don’t really want to start a blog. Are there ways to link up without your own website?
    Thanks for all the wonderful tutorials
    Paula Newlands Rochester, NY

  35. I was wondering if you buff the wax always by hand or do you use a handheld buffer? if so which one do you use? My arms get so tired buffing. Thanks

  36. I’ve painted a lot of furniture, but We were kindly given a free piano for my son. However, it is pretty ugly & messes with the rest of my decor.
    It’s like that 70’s orange wood. Do you think it is doable to paint a piano? Have you ever done one yourself?
    thanks! Tarah

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