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How to Use Milk Paint

Milk Paint has been around for literally thousands of years. It is a non-toxic, water-based paint made from milk and lime with pigments added. It is sold in powdered form and mixed with water the day it is to be used. Borax is sometimes added to assist with dissolving the casein (milk proteins).

Milk paint is popular among furniture restorers and craftsmen because of its unique finish and because it is all natural. It is used as an alternative to regular oil-based paints in home interiors for those who are allergic to modern paints.

This time-honored favorite does not produce perfectly uniform color, but instead offers subtle differences of shading. Because it is water-based, milk paint goes on thinner than oil-based paints and requires several coats with light sanding between coats. It produces a rich, lustrous finish that improves over time.

Van Dyke's offers the original milk paint formula in an array of historic colors. We carry milk paint in pints and quarts. It is an excellent choice for restoration or reproduction finishes. Paint can be mixed with snow white to obtain different shades. Once mixed, liquid milk paint will keep overnight when sealed and refrigerated. The powder will last indefinitely if kept sealed.

Painting Milk Paint

Milk Extra Bond is a concentrated acrylic that gives greater adhesion to non-porous or previously painted surfaces.

Add an “alligatored” or crackled antique look to surfaces painted with Milk Paint or water-based paint with our Antique Crackle Finish. Just apply over a dried newly painted surface before the final coat. The solution will cause the final coat to have a crackle effect.

Van Dyke's also carries a line of paint and varnish removers and strippers to prepare your piece before using Milk Paint.

How to Use Milk Paint

  1. 1. Mix powder with equal parts water.
  2. 2. Stir to a smooth consistency.
  3. 3. If mixture is too thick, add a little more water.
  4. 4. Make sure surface to be painted is free of oil and dust. It is recommended you vacuum and clean surface with a dry cloth.
  5. 5. After applying first coat, allow to dry thoroughly, then sand lightly with 220-320 grit sand paper.
  6. 6. Remove all dust with vacuum and cloth.
  7. 7. Apply 2nd coat.
  8. 8. Paint will have a brush stroke look. You can also apply paint with a sponge to prevent the brush stroke effect.