When, Why and How to add Extra Bond

Posted by Carolyn Moore on

I wanted to talk in more detail about how and when to use our Extra Bond, as I get asked about this so often. But to be honest, I realised I couldn't do as good a job as Sausha, the OFMP Co owner and Sweet Pickins blogger, has already done! So, I make no apologies in simply sharing Sausha's original blog on Extra Bond from way back when!

Extra Bond - What is it?

Extra Bond is a water based polymer emulsion.  When added to milk paint, it gives greater adhesion to non-porous surfaces or previously finished pieces.  It's environmentally safe, non toxic and VOC free.  Clean up is easy since its a water based product – just simple soap and water will do.

Basically, if you want a solid paint finish with no natural chipping and are using using milk paint over a piece that has been previously painted, has an old finish on it (polyurethane, shellac) or will be painting a non porous surface such as glass, metal, laminate  – this is the product you use to give the paint better adhesion and keep the paint from peeling off.

How to use it

Using the Extra Bond is really simple because there are no extra steps involved!

To use, you mix your milk paint according to the directions (add water and powder together) and then add your Extra Bond and mix.  Its important to mix up your milk paint first and then add the bond.  If you add the bond directly to your powder and then add water, it will be a clumpy mess.

When I know that i will be adding the bond, I do make my milk paint mixture slightly thicker than i would normally.  The bond won't thin out your paint too much, but it may just a little.  If it still too thick after adding the bond, you are fine to add more water.  The consistency should still be the same as if just using milk paint alone would (see our milk paint Mixing and Applying instructions here).

The directions call for adding 2 parts paint to one part of bond. So if I have a cup of mixed paint, then I add a half cup of bond.   A lot of times when I know that I need bond, but I still want chipping, I add half or even a quarter of what the directions call for and that normally works.  I've found in most cases that the Extra-Bond really makes the paint stick and I get very little to no natural chipping whatsoever.  If you have a surface that is a little iffy and want no chipping at all,  you can add up to a 1 to 1 ratio, so if you have one cup of paint, you can add 1 cup of bond.

Extra Bond only needs to be used on the first coat of paint.  When using the bond in your first coat, it is recommended that you wait 24 hours before applying the 2nd coat of milk paint.  If you re-coat sooner, it may re-activate the bond from the first coat and cause the first coat to lift.  I don’t always wait the 24 hours and this has never been a big issue but it can happen.

It is recommended that before painting with the milk paint/bond, that you thoroughly clean the surface first to remove all dirt and oils.  You need to use a good cleaner that wont leave behind an oily residue. If you use Extra Bond over certain oil marks or dirt, or whatever foreign product that may be on the surface, the paint may stick in the beginning (or not) but may eventually begin to peel up. You don’t want to paint a piece and a month later the milk paint begin to peel because its resisting the surface on the piece.  If you have properly prepped your piece prior to using the bond, the milk paint will not begin to peel down the road.

And the best part about using the Extra Bond, you don’t need to prep your piece by doing a lot of sanding!!  The bond does the work for you!  That’s one of the main reasons i love working with milk paint.  It should be noted though, that if you are painting a piece with a high shine to it, a lacquered factory finish or any type of “fake” wood, I would recommend that you scuff sand it to knock down the shine and give the piece a little “tooth” for the paint to better adhere.  Even though the bond does a lot of the work for you, you still need to have a surface that the milk paint is going to stick too.  If your piece has an old waxed finish (that you probably dont know is on there) or if it has oil build up (again, probably not visible to the naked eye), then your paint is probably not going to stick.  Your finished piece is only going to be as good as your prep work.

It is important to not let the bond freeze as it will no longer be usable.  Its also recommended to use it above 60 degrees so that the bond can cure.

Milk paint with the bond added will only last you a few hours especially if left uncovered.  It will start to gel and will no longer be usable – that’s why its important to only mix up what you will need with the first coat.

When & Why to use it

Like I said above, it is recommended that you use Extra Bond when painting over a previously finished piece (polyurethane, shellac, waxed) or something that has already been painted.  Same goes for painting over laminate, metal or glass.  Basically if it has any bit of shine to it, that’s when I determine if I am going to use the bond.  You can paint cheap laminated Ikea type furniture with it as well (although i would sand it first to give it some tooth and add more Extra Bond than recommended).

Also – if you want the look of milk paint, but don’t want a chippy, distressed finish then you would want to use the Extra Bond.  Keep in mind though, the Extra Bond is not a guarantee that the paint wont chip.  The only time milk paint paint 100% wont chip, is when its painted over a porous surface like raw wood.

– Previously painted –

In this case, the chest of drawers was painted with a thick coat of an oil based paint and was pretty shiny and I knew the milk paint would just flake off if i didn’t use the bond.  I also didn’t want to see the yellow showing through in my final finish.  If the paint had of been a flat finish and a darker color, such as brown or black, i would have skipped the bond (to allow natural chipping). 

Remember though, even when using the bond, your 1st coat of milk paint will only be as good as the finish that may already be on the piece.  In this case, the paint was in really bad shape on the sides and a lot of it had to be scraped off so that my milk paint wouldn’t just flake off with the peeling paint.  Milk paint even with the bond added is not going to make a bad peeling paint job go away.

– Previous Finish –

These (below) are just a couple examples of pieces I have painted in the last few weeks that have a previous finish to them.  The tall dresser is a newer piece and has a clear coat of lacquer from the factory, its pretty shiny and not porous at all.  The 70’ies dresser is all wood, but has a super thick coat of shiny smooth lacquer.

Both of these pieces if just painted with milk paint alone would most likely just flake off.  And I didn’t want a chippy finish on either of them so I added the Extra Bond.

You can see how shiny they were, but milk paint with Extra Bond covered it right up with little prep work!

– Skipping the Extra Bond –

In the picture below, you can see what a finish looks like when bond wasn’t used. This frame had a super thick shiny coat in most places and I wanted a chippy look.  So I skipped the bond and just sanded off the peeling paint after it dried because it resisted the smooth finish to give me the chippy look.

Milk paint is funny and unpredictable, its unlike any other paint.  In some places it stuck like crazy and cant even be scraped off and in some places the paint just peeled right up.

The piece below had a semi-shiny old finish on it on most of the piece.  It was an older piece and I wanted the chippy look.  The milk paint did its thing like I wanted and chipped really well on both the top and bottom moldings.  But on the body of the chest, the milk paint didn’t chip much at all where the surface was a little more porous and the milk paint absorbed better, so I had to manually distress it.

On this last piece, the finish was all gone and was very porous.  I knew that the milk paint would just get sucked up by the wood so I skipped the bond. Because the milk paint adhered so well, I didn’t get any chipping and had to distress with my electric sander.


I always think its important to have the Extra Bond on hand, especially when first starting out with milk paint.  Milk paint is known for its unpredictability especially when skipping the bond, so by adding the bond you will have better control over the final results of your piece but again, your paint job is only as good as your prep work.  Just because the bond is used, you wont be guaranteed that the paint is going to stick.  There are just some surfaces that milk paint wont adhere too.  If you are still getting chipping when adding the bond, there is an underlying issue as to why the paint wont stick (such as oils coming through, a wax build up, etc).

Sometimes I use it on every piece I do in a week, sometimes I will go a couple weeks without using it – it really just depends on the types of pieces that I'm working on.   I prefer the chippy look on a majority of my pieces so a lot of times I take a chance and skip the bond – sometimes it doesn’t work out so well and I have to go back and paint again with the bond!


Thanks Sausha! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and if you have any more questions about Extra Bond, just get in touch!

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