How To: Paint with Milk Paint

How To: Paint with Milk Paint

Trent Johnson
Dec 9, 2009

Milk Paint was used before the sale of commercially made paints. It comes in rich colors that don't fade, and can be used on furniture and walls. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, versatile and environmentally-friendly. Wondering how to use it? See how after the jump.

We've seen this beautiful kitchen done with Milk Paint, but what do you need to know before trying it out?

First, some of the advantages of Milk Paint, which is available for purchase here:

  • Adheres to almost all clean, porous surfaces
  • Environmentally safe, non-toxic and anti-bacterial
  • Non-flammable
  • Dead flat finish
  • Solvent free
  • Fast drying
  • Odorless when dry
  • Comes in deep rich colors
  • Longest lasting paint known
  • Colors can be blended, by the user, to produce many tints and shades.
  • Permanent colors; will not fade
  • Easily cleaned up with water
  • No VOC's
  • Indefinite shelf life as powder in sealed bag

This built-in desk was built by and finished with Milk Paint by Paul Bennett Furniture.

It comes in a powder form and must be sealed. See the steps below on how to make a durable, beautiful and environmentally-friendly finish for walls, furniture, or anything in between. Porous surfaces and nonporous surfaces must be handled differently. Milk paint will adhere best to a porous surface, such as bare wood or masonry, but can also adhere to nonporous surfaces with a bonding additive.

From, the basic procedure is as follows:

  1. Mix: Measure about equal amounts of water and powder into separate containers. The one pint package contains about 1-1/2 cups of powder, and when mixed with 1-1/2 cups of water it will make about 1 pint of paint. (Note: warm water helps.)
  2. Apply: Apply with a dry brush, roller or spray gun. Natural bristle brushes are fine, but foam brushes may require less effort and leave fewer brush marks. Milk paint is naturally somewhat streaky in color. This is normal. The most even color is achieved by spraying. Next best for evenness is by roller application. Again, you may find that foam rollers are easier to control. For spraying, paint should be a little thinner than for brushing, and should be strained. Spray with conventional spray equipment at about 30 lbs. pressure. Adjust pressure and nozzle to get a good paint film, not dry and not runny. With a little practice you should be able to spray a Windsor chair in about 3 or 4 minutes. Remember always wear proper protection when spraying any paint.
  3. Clean up: Clean all tools now with water and a Scotch-Brite pad so that the paint doesn't dry on them.

See more specific porous and non-porous surface painting procedures along with detailed mixing instructions here.

Do you have experience using milk paint in your home? Let us know in the comments!
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