Milk Paint FAQs

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MILK PAINT AND CHALK PAINT?

Milk paint & chalk paint are both often used for repainting or upcycling furniture, and both are very matt, but there the similarity ends. 

Milk Paint is a centuries old formula with all natural, organic ingredients; just casein (milk protein), lime, clay and earth pigments. So it is environmentally friendly, zero VOC and odourless.  Chalk Paint ingredients vary by brand, as do their toxicity. 

Milk paint arrives in powder form, to mix with water, and is self-priming on porous surfaces, where it will sink in like a stain. Whilst this means you may need to remove prior finishes, the upside is it will never come off, and will never fade. It can however be 'hand-distressed' by rubbing back at the corners etc (see below). It also gives a quite unique, rich, velvety finish Milk paint is more often used by woodworkers for painting reproduction furniture and decorative items, as it provides the authentic period colour and finish of the antique pieces). However, if prior finishes are left on, without the addition of Extra Bond, milk paint is unpredictable, often resulting in natural distressing including the 'chippy' finish desirable in 'shabby chic' decor. Milk paint will normally require a sealant to prevent water/oil spotting.

Chalk paint is usually ready to use and can be painted straight over most surfaces without any prep, but is much less durable and can rub off over time, therefore requiring re-painting. Like milk paint, chalk can be 'hand-distressed', however it will not naturally distress or go 'chippy'; for this you really need milk paint.

I'VE SEEN MILK PAINT IN A CAN BEFORE. HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PAINT?

Real, natural, Milk Paint is always made in powder form. Other companies may offer 'Milk Paint Colors' but they are usually oil or acrylic based paints.

CAN I MIX YOUR MILK PAINT COLOURS TO OBTAIN OTHER COLOURS?

Yes! To experiment you should use small amounts of the powders - teaspoons, tablespoons, even fractions of teaspoons. Mix the powders together in a small cup, add a little water and stir well. Paint a sample on a piece of scrapwood or cardboard. Keep in mind the color will look lighter when dry. Write down the ratio of your mixture, this way you will be able to easily duplicate a color combination you like in a larger batch.  

HOW DO I PAINT WALLS OR PLASTER WITH MILK PAINT?

You can paint directly over new plaster, but, as it is so porous, you may end up using far more Milk Paint than necessary if you are going for an opaque coverage. If you are going for a thin washed look, then go right ahead!

Or, try our new SafePaint formula for walls! It was formulated for previously painted walls, new wallboard with joint compound, and plaster. It adheres to almost every clean, sound surface- even metal!

HOW DO I MAKE A WASH?

Mix the Milk Paint according to the enclosed directions, then add more water and test on a piece of scrap wood. Allow to dry and adjust the mixture with more or less water until you achieve the finish you want.

IS THE EXTRA BOND REALLY NECESSARY FOR PAINTING OVER PREVIOUSLY FINISHED SURFACES?

We recommend using Extra Bond on anything other than bare wood. Milk Paint needs a porous surface to adhere to, and the use of Extra Bond will greatly help adhesion on non-porous surfaces. New sheetrock walls and plaster are actually too porous and should be primed with a flat latex primer, followed by a first coat of Milk Paint with Extra Bond added. 

Please note: Our new SafePaint wall formula does not require the use of Extra-Bond.

DO I REALLY NEED TO SEAL A SURFACE THAT HAS BEEN PAINTED WITH MILK PAINT?

Milk Paint will water-spot white spots if it has not been sealed and something gets spilled on it. It will also spot if it is wiped with water or washed. Decorative pieces, walls etc., do not need to be sealed, but any painted surface subject to spills should be (or if you want to be able to wash the surface). A bench, chair or similar piece of furniture can be waxed or oiled, which provides a nice finish and helps prevent water spotting. We also carry a clear acrylic, Safecoat Acriglaze Matte Finish, which is suitable for most furniture and woodwork applications, but a tabletop, kitchen cabinetry, etc. should have a much tougher finish such as polyurethane for best protection.

We do not know of anything that is incompatible with going over our paint. For best results, test an area with the topcoat you plan to use to make sure that you like the end result.


Please note: SafePaint for walls does not water spot and is washable/wipeable (not scrubbable) when cured. However, it is still a flat paint, so sealing the surface in problem areas where stains might occur may be a consideration.

DO I NEED TO SEAL A SURFACE THAT I'VE CRACKLED?

If it is a functional piece, or if you will later want to be able to wash the surface, yes. You will need to use a non-waterbased sealer over what you have crackled. This is very important, as a water-based sealer, such as the Acriglaze Matte Finish we carry, will reactivate the crackle and not seal the surface properly. Be sure to use an oil or solvent-based clear finish, or wax.

CAN I BUY YOUR MILK PAINT IN SAMPLE SIZES LESS THAN ONE PINT?

Yes, sample sizes are now available HERE 

CAN YOUR MILK PAINT BE SAVED OR STORED ONCE IT HAS BEEN MIXED?

When applying any paint, whether milk paint or any other kind of paint, planning and prior preparation are always key to successful use. So, plan ahead; mix up only the amount you will use that day. Due to the organic nature of true milk paint, it always works best when mixed up fresh.

If you do have leftover paint, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Be sure it is not too thick when you go to store it, then add a little water on top without stirring before you put it in the fridge. When you need to use it again, stir well and add a bit more water if necessary.

Our paint contains no preservatives, which is why gelling might occur. Some other paints on the market claim to be real milk paint, but they contain synthetic extenders that will allow a mixed batch to last longer without gelling. But, even with those paints containing synthetic extenders, you will find you get your best results when applying freshly-mixed paint.

HOW CAN REMOVE MILK PAINT

Sorry, most modern strippers won't touch Milk Paint!   

HELP! I APPLIED THE ACRIGLAZE AND IT HAS TURNED A MILKY WHITE!

This will happen with any water-borne acrylic, including the Acriglaze Matte Finish, under one of the following conditions: it is either too humid where you are applying the finish, or, it has been applied too thickly. What happens is that the top layer of the finish dries quickly, trapping moisture underneath, resulting in a whitish, cloudy, or milky appearance. Sometimes this will clear over time, even a matter of several days, but if it doesn't your only option is to sand through the finish and reapply- under dryer conditions and in a thinner coat. Two thin coats are more desirable than one thick coat.

HOW DO I ACHIEVE A WORN OR DISTRESSED LOOK?

If you wish to paint multiple layers of different colors and sand through the edges to expose the underneath color, one tip is to apply a little wax in the areas you want to show through, prior to the final coat. Then wipe off an edge or corner with a rag while the top layer is still wet. This will save a little effort in sanding once dry, although you'll probably still want to go at it with a little touch-up sanding as well. 

IS MILK PAINT SAFE TO USE ON CHILDREN'S TOYS?

Our genuine Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic, and considered safe for children's furniture and toys.