Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Milk Paint – You painted with milk are you nuts?

No No, we didn’t paint with milk.  That could be interesting however.  What I did do is use a great product from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company.  This paint is something akin to what early American craftsmen would have used in painting their furniture or other household items.  Milk paint was made at home by hand typically using skim or buttermilk, and a combination of limestone and more or less anything they could find for color.  What The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company did was create their own recipe for their reproduction furniture business.  After seeing what they were able to accomplish they started receiving requests for their paint and thus what we have today. 

Now this stuff is totally different than anything I have used before, for one it comes in a dry powder form that you have to mix with water to make the actual paint.  This is easily accomplished by adding the powder and water to a nice sized mason jar and shaking the heck out of it.  The directions call for warm water, I used water that was closer to hot so that it dissolved completely.  Once you have it mixed up and ready to use get yourself ready if you are sensitive to smell.  Once you open that jar you will be met with a slight sour “Milk” smell.  Nobody told me about that.  Whew did it catch me off guard.  It really isn’t all that bad I just wasn’t expecting it.  It’s one of those things that you get used to as you are using it and don’t think anything about it after a few minutes.

As I started painting I was really concerned with how the paint was going to turn out.  When I started brushing it on it went on differently than Latex or Oil based paint it was almost streaky and blotchy all at once.  I tried smoothing it out as much as I could but could not get it to lay like I wanted to.  I went ahead and painted the whole piece at this point it was the back slats of the Jelly Cupboard build.  I was so frustrated with the way it looked I went to Lowes and bought some latex paint to repaint with, well they say time is a great healer and well they don’t lie whoever they are.  By the time I went to Lowes purchased the paint did a few other things came back and looked at the paint it had dried and had dried very smoothly.  This was not at all the outcome I was expecting.  I was very pleased.  I decided then I would give the Sea Green color I had purchased a chance.  Boy are we glad I did.  This stuff looks AMAZING.  It recreates the primitive/colonial/country look that I know a lot of you go after.  I couldn’t be more happy with it.  It beats the heck out of using a latex paint and having to work with it to achieve nothing close to what this stuff does.  I couldn’t believe it I had on one of my pieces finally found the look that I wanted.  In order to protect the great paint job I also applied the Milk Paint Clear Coat product that is available as well.  This stuff is also great but a word of warning do not use this stuff in an enclosed poorly ventilated area.  I opened the bottle and immediately knew that I had to open the shop doors turn on the fans and the air filtering system.  It’s some strong smelling stuff, but is totally safe to use.  Make sure you put it on thin I goofed in a few places and let it build up and had to adjust fix it. 

Oh I totally forgot to mention that before I applied the clear coat I took some 0000 Steel wool and “Sanded” the whole piece.  This helped level the paint out and dull the paint just a little. After the clear coat dried I did the same with it.  I did not want a super shiny clear coat and you don’t really get one with this stuff, well at least I didn’t, but the steel wool levels it and make it look even better in my opinion. 

Okay so to wrap up.  I totally recommend and will be using milk paint on future projects.  Here is the skinny though, it’s a little more expensive than what you would pay for latex based paint but if you are going after that period look or just want something different it is totally worth it.  At the retailer I purchased it from it was about $13 per package and each package gives your roughly a pint of paint so I have about $20 worth of paint on the Jelly cupboard.  I used almost a full pint of Sea Green and a full Pint of Oyster White.  Now I usually would by quarts of latex paint so it’s quart for quart about half the cost, but I also don’t have almost a whole quart of paint sitting around taking up space hoping that it will get used on another project, wondering if it was good enough, and if it lived up to my standards.  I mean that’s a hard thing for paint to have to go through day in and day out watching me build and wondering if this is the time that it will get used.  Well I can tell you I will still use Latex paint, but for anything that is going to be even remotely period based or primitive the milk paint will be my paint of choice.  It almost makes me want to go and sand all the latex off the couple of pieced I made last year and redo them with the milk paint. 

Please make sure to check out their website http://www.milkpaint.com


The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company







Have a Great Day!


  1. Can you take a closer up picture of the milk paint so I can see how it looks on the grain of the wood? I have a friends that wants to build a broom closet and paint it black and I think milk paint will be perfect for the look she wants. I'd just love to see it closer! Thanks.

  2. Heather I certainly can. The grain does show through some. I have a couple of spots that I can show you. I will try and do those tonight.



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