The Easiest Antique Chippy Paint Technique

Painted furniture seems to be all the rave lately, right?  Chalk paint, Milk paint, latex paint, so many different types of paint. How do you create that antiqued Chippy paint look? What paint should you use? How do you apply it? I’m going to try to answer all these questions and show you how I painted my fireplace mantel with the easiest antique chippy paint technique I could find.

The Easiest Antique Chippy Paint Technique title

I’m going to be honest… researching an antique chippy paint technique was a little overwhelming.

Why do people use vaseline to create a chippy paint look?

Many more strange questions came to mind as I continued to read blogs and tutorials on creating an antique, chippy distressed look.

If you follow me, you know I always search out the easiest method to create with. With that being said, all my research landed me on one common answer; milk paint without the bonding agent.

To get the “chippy paint” look, the key is for the paint to barely bond to the surface and crackle as it dries.

There are many ways to attain this. Some people use a crackle agent, but this requires painting a base coat, then painting with the crackle agent and then a top coat. Other people use vaseline to prevent the paint from bonding to certain areas, hence creating the chippy effect (i’m still a little unsure about the vaseline technique).

The easiest chippy technique I could find was using a milk paint without the bonding agent.

I recently created an antique faux fireplace mantel and wrote a blog post about it. I finished the mantel with a “white wash” finish, but I wasn’t completely happy with it.  Hence my desire to refinish it with the Antique Chippy paint look.

Disclosure; this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not affect the price you pay. This disclosure statement refers to the rest of the Amazon links in this post.

Below is a quick video showing the painting process from the “white wash” look to the chippy paint look I have now.

How to create the antique chippy paint look:

  1. paint the whitewashed fireplace with dark wood tint. I wanted to darken the fireplace so when the white milk paint started to peel away it would look dark and old underneath. Here is an affiliate link to the wood tint I used. Wood tint can be used to darken anything and unlike most stains, you can paint over it. You don’t have to do this step, the milk paint will chip and look just fine without it.
  2. paint two coats of milk paint without the bonding agent. The milk paint I used is called Old Barn Milk Paint. I love this paint because it’s an organic compound made from simple ingredients.  HERE is a link to their website and to the specific paint I used.
  3. Watch the paint chip away! I did distress slightly with a fine grit sand paper.

A few final photos:

chippy paint technique

I love all the detail and how the paint has chipped away on its own!

It really creates the chippy look of old lead paint without the health hazards.

Below are few pictures of my styled antique fireplace mantel.

chippy paint technique
chippy paint technique
chippy paint technique

What do you think? I was so pleased to find an easy, one step (really!) technique to create that chippy paint look.

Thanks for stopping by.



Note: some of these are affiliate links.

Semi Customizable Clock by Aimee Weaver Designs

Decorative Metal Watering Cans

Decorative Metal Vase

Lavender Bundles

For more information on how I created the faux birch wood insert, refer to my blog post on How to Create an Antique Fireplace Mantel.

30 thoughts on “The Easiest Antique Chippy Paint Technique

  1. I was just talking to my husband about using the chippy method on a set of barn doors we will be installing in our master suite. However, I wasn’t quite sure how to achieve that look until now. Thank you!! Pinning!!

  2. I just love white interiors with lots of texture. This chippy paint technique fits in perfectly with that look. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Painting furniture items is so daunting! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m definitely going to have to give milk paint a try sometime. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  4. I also love milk paint, although it doesn’t always chip, especially if the surface is porous. I’m not familiar with wood tint. What’s the brand? I’d like to try it!

  5. I love this look and it is what I hoped to get with the milk paint I bought, but it didn’t work! What is the bonding agent that you don’t want in the paint? The brand I bought is Home DΓ©cor, which you can get at Michael’s or JoAnn’s. Your fireplace is styled perfectly for the chippy look! Love the wood and moss “fireplace screen”!

    1. Hi Ann Marie,
      there are so many different brands and types of milk paint on the market today. Most of the brands you buy at big stores like Michael’s will obviously have the “bonding” agent mixed in. I’m not sure what the bonding agent is called. Old Barn Milk Paint is one of the first companies I had run across where you could buy the bonding agent seperately. I also think Miss Mustard Seed is another milk paint brand you can buy that seperates the bonding agent out. Hope this helps?!

  6. Oh Lindsey, I have a faux fireplace that’s portable, I picked up for a steal. Have been trying to unload it as is for a photo staging prop, your making me rethink this. Perhaps I’ll give her a makeover and use it for Christmas prop this year! Loving the milk paint makeover., thanks for sharing it at #FridaysFurnitureFix, hope you’ll pop over on the 22nd for our giveaway!

    1. NO don’t get rid of it! Oh how I love a faux fireplace. They can really transform a space. Paint it and give it new life.

  7. Your mantel looks just beautiful, Lindsey! Thanks for doing all the research for us and giving us the low-down on how you achieved your look. Glad you shared it with us at Vintage Charm πŸ™‚

  8. Your fireplace looks wonderful! You’re right: this look is all the rage right now, but it can be hard to achieve. I think you’ve hit on a great technique. Love the idea of the old lead paint look without the health hazard. πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

  9. I too love milk paint Lindsey but have never tried it without the bonding agent. Right now I’m in the honeymoon phase with the regular safe milk paint. But at some point in the futere I would definitely like to try the original milk paint and get some chippy goodness.

    1. I did not make the wall clock, believe it or not. It is from a company called Aimee Weaver Designs, but it looks like she did a heavy white wash technique. Hope that helps!

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