Painting a Piano

I painted a piano this week.

Painting a Piano

We’ve been talking about getting a piano for a little while since our oldest son is going to start lessons this fall.

While on Facebook a couple weeks ago, I ran across someone selling an upright for $50. I was excited because it obviously needed help. My husband would definitely be okay with me painting it, and it was so inexpensive that I couldn’t mess it up. Plus, how cool would a painted piano be?!


Now, I decided to use milk paint for the first time ever.
Note to self: Don’t try a paint you’ve never used next time you paint a piano.

I’ve heard a lot about milk paint because I follow Miss Mustard seed, and she has her own line of (Miss Mustard Seed) Milk Paint. Her stuff always looks so amazing.


What I didn’t think about was how unpredictable it can be. For someone like me, this isn’t really a good thing. I like plans and predictability. I like to be the one to distress where I want to distress. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it’s how I work. So you can imagine my frustration when this started to happen:


The charm of milk paint is that it does have a tendency to chip. However, to avoid this, you can mix a bonding agent in with the first paint layer. I did – but I ran out of paint for the first batch and got a little lazy with my second batch and didn’t add the bonding agent. The areas I painted without the bonding agent (obviously) is where the major chipping occurred.

Another thing about milk paint is that it comes in powder form. I didn’t love having to mix my own paint. I’m a pretty impatient person, and mixing just added another layer in the process of painting. It’s not a huge deal to mix, but there’s something great about just popping a can of paint open…

All that being said, milk paint does have it’s charm. If you like the (very) distressed look, this paint is for you. It comes in a bunch of BEAUTIFUL colors and it does have a unique look. It’s also a great paint for color washing pieces – you can easily water the paint down to achieve the washed look.

So, after I painted the piano, I used (cream) chalk paint to accent some of the parts – and I also used the chalk paint on the areas that I hadn’t used the bonding agent in my first layer of paint. I wasn’t loving the extreme chipping happening in these areas and luckily my cream “accents” look intentional.


After everything was painted, I took a sander to the entire piano. All the tutorials I watch show the people sanding by hand. Again, I don’t have patience for this. So, I used this big guy:


At the end, I did wax the entire piece with both clear wax and a small amount of the dark wax. I used Annie Sloan wax because I had it on hand.

Overall, it’s a little more distressed than I had originally planned. However, I think I’m starting to like the piano more and more. It may be because we have a family pass to Conner Prairie and have been spending too much time there, but I think it will work well in my house. And, my son has a piano to practice on!





sara d.

p.s. Yes, I know a piano SHOULD NOT be in a garage. I’ll post more pictures when it makes it inside.
p.s.s. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!


  1. Kara Miller says

    It looks AWESOME!!! Great job! Yellow is my favorite color, so it almost makes me want to take piano lessons!!

  2. Marcia says

    I love this so much! I’ve been planning on painting my piano yellow for a little while and have followed miss mustard seed on insta for a while. I think I might copy your design (if that’s ok). How much paint did you end up using? This way I don’t have to run back to the store several times.


  1. […] was quite fun to hear your very own music bouncing off the walls of the sanctuary.  Sara from Sincerely, Sara D. scored this outdated piano on Facebook for $50 – that’s my kinda price tag. She knew […]

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