Dealing with Paint Bleed Through … Is this Cheating?

What is Bleed Through?

If you’ve been painting furniture for a while, you may have come across “bleed through” – the problem of the underlying stain or pigment of the stained wood, bleeding through the paint you have just coated your lovely piece of furniture with! Well, there are some ways to fix that or prevent that. So let’s chat …

This is one of those times I forgot to take a before pic of this little side table, which had a deep red cherry stained finish

Side table bleed e.g. 1

Table after one coat of MMSMP Ironstone

So I should’ve guessed I just might have a problem with the stain in this piece, bleeding through after the second coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Ironstone white colour! But sometimes you just can’t tell what a piece is going to do. Grrrr!

The pics below show my side table after two coats of MMSMP Ironstone, distressed, then as soon as I began to wax with furniture wax, I could see the pinkish stain starting to peek through.

bleed through Side table bleed through Side table bleed throughWhat to do! What to do!

Now, I knew there was a proper way to do this, and so I’m going to share some tips from some of my favourite bloggers who have written about this problem that can occur from time to time in certain types of furniture.

Fiona from Lillyfield Life has some excellent tips HERE and she even gives an explanation as to why certain timbers/stains do this. I love Fiona’s work, she has given back life to some beautiful ornate pieces of furniture.

The Purple Painted Lady also has a great blog post about dealing with “bleed through” HERE, and how to fix it or prevent it by using shellac.

Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, has also tried a method successfully using her MMSMP Furniture Wax. You can check that out HERE.

However, I did not use any of the above methods of dealing with bleed through on my pretty white little table …

No, I took one look over at my paint stash, and saw that jar of left over MMSMP in Tricycle red and thought to myself, “that’ll do it”! And it did! Fixed my unsightly stain-bleeding-through-the-white problem in a jiffy!

Side table bleed e.g. 5

Two coats of Tricycle – great cover up!

Now, the table top didn’t have a problem with any bleed through, so I just left it white, slightly distressing the edges.

Side table bleed e.g. 6

Before distressing the red.

Then I distressed and sanded back with a fine grade sandpaper (320 grit). I love how the white has chipped off more in some places. This would be because I had already used wax on this piece before I noticed the bleed through, and it acted as a resist to the red paint. (To see a video on “resists” and how this works, click HERE)
Side table bleed e.g. 12 Side table bleed e.g. 14 Side table bleed e.g. 16 Side table bleed e.g. 17Here’s what else I did with some of that leftover paint – this cute antique bottle was too scratched up inside after being buried for so long, that it wasn’t pretty enough to display. So I coated with 2 coats of MMSMP Tricycle (no bonding agent) and distressed as I normally would on a wood piece, around the edges.

Yes – Milk Paint sticks to GLASS!Side table bleed e.g. 18 Side table bleed e.g. 19 Side table bleed e.g. 20I love how the words stand out a little more with that bit of distressing.Side table bleed e.g. 22

Don’t forget to check out my Youtube channel for more tutorials and you can also type in the search bar at the top of this blog to see if there’s another topic you’d like to know about.

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint products are available from my Product page for Australian customers.

Happy painting!

We are authorised retailers for Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Australia. This blog post may contain affiliate links.

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  • Reply
    July 14, 2014 at 1:33 am

    I LOVE the table! I would have done the same thing. Change color! Easy peasy.

    Greetings from the USA! My son spent 6 months in Gold Coast with YWAM ( Youth with a Mission). He loved it there. 🙂

    • Reply
      July 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Hi LeAnne, That’s great about your son being on the Gold Coast. We are pretty close to there. I wonder if he was over here during Easter? We worked at Easterfest in Toowoomba doing video production with my husband’s business, and the YWAMers were a great help volunteering there.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

    hi Sharon
    it turned out beautifully! love the red!
    thanks for the link to my blog
    cheers fiona

  • Reply
    Artissimo & Tricycle – MMSMP Colours of the Month | I Restore Stuff
    July 15, 2014 at 8:05 am

    […] about a little table I painted using Tricycle and Ironstone. You can read about that transformation HERE and how I covered up some bleed through that was happening because of the pigment in the stain on […]

  • Reply
    Painting a Piano with Milk Paint - Lessons Learned
    October 25, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    […] After one coat of paint all over, I started to notice there were some different wood types that I was painting on, which was making a notable difference to how the paint was covering in these areas. Note the centre section was looking more yellow than the rest of the front. This also happened on some areas near the front sides, where it wasn’t so noticeable. This is sometimes referred to as “bleed through“. […]

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