Milk Paint 101

I love to paint furniture. I am a sucker for small, little pieces like side tables, benches, shelves, etc. Years ago, I grew tired of using regular paints and really liked how some people were using paint that was heavily textured. It looked old, made the furniture look older, or more time period correct. As I asked around at antique stores and vintage markets, I was told that these chunky, sometime chippy, textured paint was called Milk Paint.

Miss Mustard Seed is a company that produces milk paint which is in powdered form, that you mix. It consists of a milk protein called Casein, chalk and clay, limestone, and natural pigments. Very simple yet very new to many of us, working with milk paint can be challenging and takes some practice. Because the paint has to be mixed, measured, and sit for a bit, etc. it is a process that you work towards to provide consistency in paint texture.

My first couple of milk paint tries were awful. The paint was either too runny or too chunky. The paint didn’t stick well, or was too chippy. I didn’t pay enough attention to paint surface, measurements of the milk paint, nor the mixing. So, after more time, patience, practice, research, I am starting to get the hang of it. I also like to experiment with new colors all the time (which Miss Mustard Seed has 25 colors of milk paint).

Here are few tips for working with milk paint, so you hopefully won’t make the same mistakes I did:

• Read all directions: I was pretty much like “a little water, a little milk paint powder, and off I go” but you truly need one-part milk paint powder to one-part water. I seconded guessed myself all the time thinking the paint was too runny or too thick. Don’t do this, mix it properly and let it sit for few minutes. It will level out in texture.

• Use a mixer to mix the paint. I used to mix the paint by hand for 5 minutes and get tired, and still not have a good consistency in paint thickness. I use an old electric mixer now and the paint is much better to work with. An electric mixer also does a better job of getting all the powder off of the bottom of the bowl you are using.

• Paint with intention. Milk paint isn’t cheap or super easy to use, you really have to want to try it and have a small piece furniture or a small project you intend on using this type of paint on. Go to a store that carries Miss Mustard Seed milk paint and look at the colors and if the store has furniture that has been painted with this paint, ask to see those pieces and/or ask if they offer classes.

• There are online classes, tutorials, books, etc. There is also a wonderful book that Marian, (the creator of Miss Mustard Seed) has wrote that is full of projects, ideas, painted furniture etc. The book is the photos below.

This sweet little bench was jet black. I painted it flat white first and then covered it with two layers of Boxwood green milk paint. I do need to wax it (which all milk paint furniture/projects need a wax coat and there are other products for chipping and antiquing, etc.). Wax provides a projective coat. This bench is perfect for our back door however, it may end-up for sale. But I do love the Boxwood green paint. It also shimmers in the sun (due to the limestone in the paint). How fun is that!


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I hope you will give milk paint a try. I love working with the texture and the colors. Best of luck and remember, paint with intention!

Resources for you!

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