Ok, I am ready to finish the step stool I made for my niece a few weekends ago. My delivery date has been moved up, I was planning it to be done for an end of November delivery, but my wife reminded me that my niece is 17 days older than my daughter..D'oh. Members have suggested that several layers of milk paint would be the best way to achieve this look, but after finding the price of milk paint, I think that for this project it may be to expensive. I could by the stool for $52, and I already have around $20 invested in it. So I thought that I could use a dark stain to give the Poplar some color, coat that with blond shellac to seal it, and then apply a few coats of oil based enamel paint and sand through that on the wear areas to expose the stained wood. Does this sound like a good idea, so should I just suck it up and get the milk paint. Another question, does milk paint powder have a good shelf life if stored properly. If so that would make the $35.00 expense easier to swallow. Thanks for ya'lls advice. Dave Oh, BTW this is what I am hoping to look similar to.