I recently discovered milk paint. Milk paint isn’t new. As a matter of fact, it has been around for thousands of years. King Tut’s tomb and ancient cave paintings were painted using milk paint.
The fact that I’ve been around all these years and never heard of it before amazes me. The ingredients are so simple and accessible that anyone with the inclination to make it can make it. Milk paint consists of milk, lemon (according to Martha Stewart) or hydrolyzed lime (according to The Real Milk Paint Co) and color pigment. Simple as that!
Paint in a Bag
You can buy milk paint in a can or you can buy the dried version that comes in a bag. All you have to do is add water and you’re ready to paint.
Milk paint is different from latex paint in that the shelf life once it’s liquid isn’t very long. After all, it’s made with milk. Once it’s mixed you have to use it within about 7 days or so. Put leftover paint in the refrigerator to preserve it. Once it goes bad (like milk), toss it out.
Because it’s in a powder form, it is easier to store. As far as colors, the cool thing is if you buy the 3 primary colors and a bag of white and black, you can make any color paint you want. Mix a little yellow with red to get orange. Lighten it up with the white and you get a pale orange. Add a bit of blue and it starts to turn brownish. Imagine the possibilities!
Applying Milk Paint
I can’t give first-hand knowledge about paint application, but there are plenty of websites that provide more than enough information on how to apply it. I haven’t tried it as yet, because I just ordered my paint today, but you can bet, I’m anxious to test it out. My intention is to use it on furniture. Once I get the hang of it there, I’ll expand.
A Different Experience
Just like living without a microwave, using this type of paint requires a different mindset. It takes a little extra work if you want a satin or glossy finish in that you have to apply an oil or wax topcoat. Personally, I’m not averse to the extra work. I’d rather do that than breathe in paint toxic fumes and wonder how to properly dispose of the latex or oil-based paint cans.
Milk paint is biodegradable and non-toxic. It’s long lasting (just think of the ancient caves) and sparks creativity. It’s not a requirement to mix and match different pigments to get the color of your dreams, but if you have an idea of the exact color you want, you can create it and test it by mixing a small batch.
If you want more information, here are a couple of sites that have good info:
- The Real Milk Company (where I ordered my paint). Here’s a photo gallery of items painted with The Real Milk Company’s milk paint
- Miss Mustard Seed
- Old Fashioned Milk Paint
You can even use milk paint to add new life to old bar stools.