DIY Vintage Painted Milk Jug

I purchased this milk jug a couple years back when rust really grabbed my attention.  Rustic outside the farm works but when I brought this piece indoors it just wasn’t happening.  It looked dark and not very inviting.

So, I took it back outside and let it sit next to a couple planters for years until the other day inspiration sparked and decided, “why not lighten it up?”


The jug base is covered in rust and it was label free  which made me feel better about covering with paint.  The first thing I did was wash down the entire exterior and interior finish with the garden hose and let it air dry outdoors.

This took a couple of hours because I kind of got busy with something else.


Painting was such a breeze, have you ever dry brush painted?  Well let me tell you with chalk paint it’s a really fun technique that offers fast results that turn out pretty amazing.

  • First begin with a cheap paint brush, no kidding nothing fancy.
  • Painting the bottom by flipping the container upside down.
  • Once covered and dry, turn over and continue applying light strokes that present an unfinished look over the entire milk jug.
  • Strokes can cross over one another but really there is no right or wrong way to do this and why I begin with the bottom first for practice.


I painted inside the rim  because I wasn’t really sure what I would be putting inside.  I like this finish because the dark rust still seeps through.

After I was finished my first thought was, “It’s too white!”

This led me to Hobby Lobby where I found some fun brown wired ribbon.  It came in several colors so I may go back and get something like a festive red for Christmas.


The ribbon was added by tying a tight knot around the front and that’s when I smiled because that little bit of brown really toned down the white.

Since cleaning out the home and I mean really downsizing it has started to look pretty bare inside.  This project was about taking a moment to spruce up the fireplace we don’t use by adding fall details with this vintage jug.

I went pretty basic orange with pumpkins and table clothes my grandma made years ago.  Sticks came from the farm and after a few minutes of enjoying this simple display it finally felt like fall.

What I learned from this project is you can take just about anything you’ve had for years and make it new again.  It’s been several years since I decorated for fall indoors and it was pretty fun.

I bet if you go through those closets where treasures are hidden you may also find something to spruce up that would be enjoyable for your home; maybe you even have a vintage milk jug?

Get Simple tips for dry brush painting a vintage milk jug. Perfect for seasonal decorating. #VIntageMilkJug, #DryBrushPaint




  1. Patti says:

    Great job on the jug, though the rust is cool looking too. It’s always fun to “shop the house,” and since I love thrift shopping I’m beginning to look like a hoarder. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you this was a fun one.. My husband calls me the anti hoarder now because I think I may have gone a little over board on our cleaning out. But this piece I had to keep. I like it better now..

  2. Jane says:

    Love the milk jug! I agree…our own home, yard and the thrift store. One of the stores here gets loads of things in for the holidays!

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks, this was a fun one. Yes rust in the home I don’t know why but it doesn’t work for me.
      Hope you have a great week.

  3. Karen says:

    I’ve been shopping my home a lot lately, Carole. I’m STILL trying to get the last of our things organized after our move last spring. It’s all things we can obviously live without – mostly stuff I’m trying to organize into my craft space. I may be guilty of being a hoarder. 🙂 It’s so hard to see something that may have potential and let it go.

    Love your milk jug! It reminds me of one my mom had – which was a hand-me-down from one of her aunts. My sister got that. 🙂

    I didn’t know you could paint right over rust like that. I’m filing that away for the future because I love how your project turned out. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Carole says:

      I used chalk paint over that rustic finish and made sure it was dust free. I like it better and thinking it will be pretty fun at Christmas.
      Shopping at home and revamping what you have is fun – I guess since we’re doing such a dramatic downsize that I find it easier to just pass things on. It can be a little emotional so I’ve stopped for a while to allow myself a chance to think about something else.

  4. Jemma says:

    Good Morning Carole,

    Just loving the look of your blog and wow what a courageous move! I will be looking forward to hearing about the pro and cons.
    I also like the ease of leaving you a comment.

    Now on to to the milk jug! What a gorgeous piece for Christmas decorating and I am ready for Christmas.
    Well, maybe not Christmas but definitely weather that feels like Christmas!
    Fabulous project!

    1. Carole says:

      So far it’s mostly pros – but you know whenever learning something new or just being in a new environment it takes some getting use to. The fact that I even got a post up yesterday was a moment of celebration. Anyways additional tweaking is necessary but other than that I LOVE it. My web gal made me a how to use video which was really helpful, I like the dashboard better because everything is easy to find.

      Christmas will be here before you know it and I can’t even believe October is almost over. I think this is why I’m feeling so overwhelmed because time is just moving fast. I seen some of my goals come and go unaccomplished and I don’t like that but then I remind myself to chill out and just let God lead the way. Then I breathe so much better…

      That jug was pretty fun and I really did paint it while on the phone with a friend. I’m excited about sharing it in future projects, it’s a good focal point. My home is so bare right now that even I had to admit my cleaning out may have went a little over the top. However I told my husband we can actually dance in the house now so it’s not all bad. Thanks for stopping by – always nice to hear from you and let me know when you want to come out here, we can have a fun workshop day!!

  5. This fall decor is beautiful! Thank you for sharing on The Homesteader Hop!!

  6. Tracy Lynn says:

    I just saw your post on the Blog Hop and just had to stop by. I love your milk jug makeover. So simple and it looks great! I love the look of just whitewashing it and letting the rust show through a bit. That would fit in perfectly in my home. 🙂

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks for stopping by Tracy! I’m loving this milk jug too and if you can believe it I was on the phone with a friend when I painted it -which means super easy to do. Glad you like it and hope you take a moment to check out some of my other fun projects.

  7. Love the old painted milk jug!

  8. debbie says:

    a super cute outdoor fall vignette! The burlap ribbon did make a huge difference on the milk can.

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