how I hand painted the Mora dresser

Marian ParsonsHand Painted Furniture, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, Painting & Refinishing, Tutorials19 Comments

I shared this hand painted dresser last week and, as promised, I’m now sharing more detail on the hand painted design.  First of all, I’m always asked if my hand painted designs are stencils.  No, they are hand painted.  I know that will immediately lose some folks when I say that, because a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with hand painting.  I get that.  The kind of hand painting I do is simple strokes, repeated over and over again until it makes an overall design.

hand painted mora dresser | miss mustard seed

hand painted mora dresser | miss mustard seed

When you see it up close, you can see how simple and even a little messy it is.  I have learned that the less I overthink it, the better it looks.


hand painted mora dresser | miss mustard seed

I always start out by chalking out the rough design.  That way, I know the design is going to look the way I want it to before I put a drop of paint on it.  If the chalk doesn’t look good, I can wipe it with a wet cloth and start again.

hand painted mora dresser | miss mustard seed

If you’re nervous about hand painting, chalking out a design is a great place to start.  You could also try using a design on a fabric and transfer it to the piece with carbon paper.  Another technique is to trace a stencil with chalk, so you get help with the drawing part, but still get a hand painted look.

hand painted mora dresser | miss mustard seed

   I’ll make some tutorials on hand painting, but until then, you can watch me work and hopefully that will give you an idea how I created this design.  

One more tip about hand painting…  I always do it before I distress or add a finish.  That way, it looks consistent with the rest of the paint instead of something new or an afterthought.  Lightly distressing can also be a great way to hide imperfections and soften the paint lines.  
hand painted mora dresser | miss mustard seed

This piece is painted in Mora, one of the new MMSMP European Colours and the decorative painting was done in Linen with a few highlights of Ironstone.  (The trick to hand painting with milk paint is mixing it a little thicker than usual or letting it sit overnight, so it can thicken.)

 More on hand painting to come…

how I hand painted the Mora dresser

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19 Comments on “how I hand painted the Mora dresser”

  1. Love your demo – adds such a wonderfully creative touch to your more than obvious talent, evident in every piece of furniture you paint and every room you style (psst: madly love your cow painting!).

  2. I have always hated the stodgy, heavy, ungraceful look of the American Empire period, and your light-color finish with the rather sheer-looking monochromatic white hand-painting adds an airy feel that totally transforms this piece. Thanks for the idea AND the video.

  3. Hi Marian and Kriste!
    I just wanted to say thank you for such a lovely visit in your studio Friday. It was fun to see where you live and work and learn more about using your paint products.
    Warm regards,

  4. Marian~ Gosh, I think I could do that! Now could you do that again in veeeeeeerrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy
    sloooooooooooow motion? Thanks for showing us your style!
    big hugs~

  5. I love the texture, the way you let the paint be thicker in places. (how is that for technical language?)

    Do you really paint that fast, or did you just speed up the video?

  6. You make that look so easy! I think I’m going to start with tracing a stencil, but I love the idea of transferring a pattern from fabric! I hadn’t thought of doing that, and it just opens up all sorts of design possibilities.

  7. Could you tell me please the reason you do not extend the hand painted design across the divider spaces between the drawers? It seems like that would make it appear to “flow” more, but I think there must be a reason you choose to do it this way. I am curious to know why. Thank you!

    1. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. This time, I decided to keep the decorative paintings to just the drawer fronts.

  8. May I suggest you slow down a bit or start from the beginning for those of us who know nothing. I would love to know exactly what type of brush/brushes you are using to start with. Also, why you’ve chosen the brushes you are using, i.e., what I would look for in a brush that would make it appropriate for doing this type of painting. See, I told you I know nothing……….

  9. THANK YOU for the video! I love your paint line & adore these new colors. Thank you for showing us how you paint & which brushes to use, this is so helpful. I’ve followed your blog for years & have been so inspired to jump in and give it a go with so many things. I have even tried some hand painting on a dresser & I was so pleased with the way it turned out. Thank you for sharing your gifts & talents with us Marion. Keep the videos & Design Ramblings coming, I love them.

  10. Beautiful work! You’ve created something that is fresh and yet has a wonderful vintage feel. Thanks for the demonstration. Would also like to know the types of brushes that were used to create the unique flowers.

  11. Marian, after watching the flower-painting video, I now understand how you can accomplish so many projects in such a short amount of time: You are able to work in DOUBLE-TIME! How do you DO that????

  12. Thank you for all the great inspiration! I love reading your blog and the videos are so helpful. You have inspired me to transform my home with paint. I have even sold some pieces. Something that has really surprised me about chalk painting, is how it has restored and energised me after an awful season of exhaustion.

  13. Very beautiful, and I viewed your pretty creations. Talent!!?Very creative, and I love it. That dresser is beautifully well done. I want to do this?I’d love to join your website. You women are Fabtastic!!! Thankyou.?. Have a Blessed Day. Sincerely, Janet Nielsen ???

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