If you read the Miss Mustard Seed blog or look at the portfolio of my work, it’ll be pretty obvious that I’m partial to the “chippy look”. I love old things, though, and I am also laid back enough that I like to let things happen naturally – put the paint on and see what it does!
That is one reason I love milk paint.
But, I don’t want you to get the idea that milk paint only gives you the “chippy look”. Another thing that I love about milk paint is how diverse it is. It can be chippy or a smooth coat of paint. It can be sheer, like a stain, or opaque. It can be thick and textured or buttery soft.
Milk paint is not a one-trick-pony.
So, how do you take your milk paint?
If you like it chippy, here are some tips…
- Don’t prep the surface you’re painting. Just apply the milk paint directly to the existing substrate and see what happens!
- Don’t add the Bonding Agent to the paint. The Bonding Agent helps the paint adhere to surfaces it might not otherwise stick to.
- Paint outside on a hot day. Heat can accelerate the drying time, causing the paint to craze, crack and chip. This technique doesn’t require any mediums or additional products and it looks amazing! (You can also use a hair dryer or heat gun.)
- Use the Wax Puck or 100% Beeswax Finish as a resist in areas where you want the paint to chip. You would want to use this over raw wood, stained wood or other porous surfaces. Milk paint will absorb into those and will not chip unless a “resist” is applied.
- Scrape the dry paint gently with a putty knife to loosen any paint that may chip and to force it a little. You can also hit the edges of the piece with a 100-80 grit sand paper to pull off some of the paint.
- Randomly stick painter’s tape on the surface and peel it away. This will usually take some chips of paint along with it!
If you like it smooth, here are some tips…
- Sanding really goes a long way when it comes to making milk paint stick. Give the surface a light sanding with a 100 grit sand paper. This isn’t about stripping the existing finish, but roughing it up.
- Make sure the piece is clean and free from oils or waxy build-ups from years of polishing. Clean the surface with TSP, denatured alcohol, mineral spirits or some other furniture prep cleaner.
- If you’re painting something that has a glossy finish, add the Bonding Agent to the paint. (1 part Bonding Agent to 1 part mixed milk paint.)
- Give the paint 30 days to full cure before heavy use. Almost all paints and finishes require 30 days to completely harden. The finish is more susceptible to gouges, scrapes, chips, etc. prior to that 30 day mark. You can use the piece, but just be gentle with it!
Both looks can be finished with any of our topcoats, depending on the desired sheen and end result.
If you’re not sure which topcoat to use, check out all of our posts and tutorials on topcoats to help you decide!