It’s a powdered, paint that has been around for thousands of years. It was found in the pyramids in Egypt and on ancient cave paintings. It’s been used in America for years on furniture, walls, barns, etc. It is a versatile paint that can be used to achieve a variety of looks from chippy and distressed to smooth and sleek.
These are two totally different kinds of paint. Both have advantages and disadvantages and can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some of the similarities and differences…
Milk Paint comes in powdered form and needs to be mixed with water. Chalk-type paints are sold in a tradition liquid quart.
Milk Paint has great adhesion on raw wood that will never chip/peel or fade. Add the bonding agent to milk paint for use on previously finished surfaces to improve adhesion. A quick sand to scuff up the surface will also help the paint adhere. Chalk-type paints have great adhesion on most any surface without the addition of a bonding agent.
Milk Paint will show wood grain in most cases and can be used as a stain. Chalk-type paints are thicker and cover wood grain in most cases.
Milk Paint can be distressed and/or crackled and will resist some finishes giving an authentic chippy, aged look. Chalk-type paints can be distressed and crackled, but will not chip.
Milk Paint is made from just five simple ingredients, contains no VOCs, is completely biodegradable, and non toxic.
There are many ways to mix the milk paint, we offer guidelines on how to mix it and what consistency to look for, however we encourage to always test out a small amount to make sure that you are happy with the mixture. Milk Paint can be a stain or a solid opaque paint depending on how much water you add.
For a solid opaque look: Mix one part water to one part Milk Paint powder. Add water to container/jar first, then add powder and mix with a whisk, electric milk frother or blender. For a super smooth finish,use a blender for best results, otherwise mix with a frother or a whisk for an additional 1-2 minutes for a super fine mix. Mixed Milk Paint should have a table cream consistency for opaque coverage. Once satisfied with consistency, test out a small sample to see if desired consistency is reached. If the brush drags, the mixture is too thick (opaque) and you need to add more water. If sample drips and is too thin (transparent), then add more powder. Adjust as required, and start painting!
Note: Mixing Milk Paint can be like baking bread and the amount of water required will vary based on the humidity of the day and location. It can also vary depending on the amount of pigment in the color being mixed.
Watch this video if you’re new to mixing milk paint!
This depends on the surface being painted and how much water is added when mixing. The paint coverage will be different on bare wood and porous vs. shiny, previously coated pieces that require the bonding agent. Typically one quart of a very light white will cover approximately 50-70 sq ft, whereas a darker color will cover 70 + sq ft. For example, one quart will cover a large armoire/hutch OR a dresser and two side tables.
Below is a quick reference to what 2 tbsp, 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup will cover.
The majority of the texture and application issues lie in the method the Milk Paint was mixed. A good mix is key to a great finish. Make sure you are stirring your Milk Paint until most of the paint is dissolved. A mini whisk, milk frother, or blender are great tools for smooth mixes. Let the paint sit for a few minutes after mixing to allow limestone and clay dissolve. If you are painting a large project, stir the paint every few minutes to prevent clay from settling and pigments from separating and dip your brush all the way to the bottom of the container. The paint at the top will be thinner and more translucent, especially if a frother was used to mix paint. Some lumpiness is normal and will usually brush out once paint is applied. Small lumps can be smoothed out with a fine sand paper after it’s dry, and can lead to some unique finishes!
Here are some additional tips on properly mixing Milk Paint – Mixing Milk Paint 101
…and a video on mixing milk paint with a mini whisk or milk paint mixer…
Yes, it’s one of the best paints for raw wood. It acts like a stain, but looks like a paint. The color will penetrate the wood for a lasting finish that won’t chip or flake. This makes it an ideal paint for raw wood cabinets or floors.
When the surface is previously finished, painted with a non-porous paint or sealed. Milk paint will resist and chip if it cannot be absorbed, as it is in porous surfaces and raw wood. The ratios of bonding agent can be adjusted depending on the amount of seal or shine on the piece being painted. Do not use the bonding agent or use it in select areas if a “chippy” look is desired. Remember that painting a pre-finished without sanding and/or using the Bonding Agent is unpredictable!
…and a video tutorial…
The chippy look is one of the most popular finishes for Milk Paint, but it can sometimes be a bit tricky to accomplish. Here are some things to consider when trying to achieve this look:
- The finish on which you are painting: is it sealed, shiney, or painted? If it is raw wood or porous, the Milk Paint will be absorbed and will not chip or flake. A resist, like the Wax Puck or Hemp Oil needs to be used.
- Milk Paint will “resist” surfaces in which it can’t be absorbed. This resisting will create chips and flakes. It is possible for the milk paint to flake away from the entire piece if the surface is too slick and doesn’t have any “tooth”. To achieve some “grip”, sand where you want adhesion or add the bonding agent on areas where more coverage is desired. It may take some trial and error, but Milk Paint is the only paint that will create an authentic, chippy finish, so it’s worth trying!
If you want the Milk Paint to resist certain areas, we recommend trying an advanced technique by using the Hemp Oil, Wax Pucks or, our favorite, the Beeswax Finish. Simply apply the Beeswax in areas where chipping is desired. Apply the paint immediately over entire surface. The paint will separate where wax was applied. Don’t over work the paint on those areas. As paint dries, it will start to peel and flake, creating and authentic, chipped finish. Wipe or light sand loose paint and finish with any MMS Wax, Hemp Oil or Tough Coat.
To use the Wax Puck as a resist, apply one coat of milk paint and allow it to dry. Rub the Wax Puck over the edges, corners and “high points” of the piece. Anywhere the wax is applied will resist the paint, so make sure it is applied randomly and in places where paint would naturally wear over time. Apply a second coat of milk paint and allow it to dry completely. Distress surface with fine grit sand paper or damp cotton cloth to easily remove the paint where wax was applied. revealing first coat underneath. Finish with Furniture Wax, Hemp Oil, White Wax, Antiquing Wax or Tough Coat.
Both give authentic aged patinas! We highly recommend taking a workshop from a certified MMSMP retailer in your area.
Super chippy pieces will need a coat of Tough Coat ( a water based sealer). Do not use hemp oil on these finishes as the oil may cause it to continue chipping.
If the piece chipped some, all of the loose paint has been removed and the rest is adhering well, the Furniture Wax, Antiquing Wax or White Wax will provide a wonderful finish. The piece will not continue to chip unless exposed to intense sunlight or extreme heat.
Paint your piece and apply direct heat immediately after coating (such as a blow dryer or heat gun) to areas you want to crackle. This is a really easy, natural crackle to achieve without having to use a crackle medium product. It will also usually crackle if you paint outside on a hot day!
The Furniture Wax is used as a protective topcoat. It’s similar to other waxes on the market, except it’s creamier and very low odor.
Apply in a thin coat to a piece of raw wood, stained wood or painted furniture with a lint-free cloth or brush. Buff after about 5-10 minutes. Apply additional coats for a higher sheen and more durability.
YES, it’s a very durable, livable finish. If it’s marred, just lightly sand and add another coat of wax. Refinishing the entire piece is not required. I have it on my kitchen table and it has held up beautifully to two young boys!
Yes, you can use other waxes on Milk Paint and you can use MMS Waxes on acrylic, chalk/clay paints, flat latex, stained wood, etc.
Hemp Oil is a finish that is a nice alternative to the wax. It is all natural, so it’s great for people who are sensitive to chemicals. Hemp Oil is best when it’s applied to a porous surface (like raw wood, stained wood or Milk Painted raw wood.) It will absorb into the surface, creating a durable finish. It can be used over Milk Paint over an old finish as well, though. Wipe on with a clean cloth, wipe away excess. We love to use a microfiber cloth for this! This is also a great product to revive dry, tired wood, metal, leather and more. We’re always finding new uses for Hemp Oil.
Here is a video tutorial on using hemp oil…
As stated above, Hemp Oil is natural, so it’s the ideal finish for customers who are sensitive to chemicals. It’s a food safe finish that can be used on cutting boards, butcher blog counters and kitchen tables. Hemp Oil is also great for projects that will be used outside. Once it cures (after approximately 30 days), it protects and wears beautifully in the elements. Wax will break down and emulsify in the heat. We do not recommend waxing pieces that will be in the heat, sun or rain.
For an extra durable interior top coat, apply a coat of Hemp Oil and let dry (12 – 24 hours), then apply wax on top. Remember wax over oil, never oil over wax!
MMS Antiquing Wax was developed specifically to be used to antique paint finishes. Tinted waxes are meant to be used as a wood stain/wax in one. Because of that, the dark wax is very saturated with pigments and can look heavy and streaky on a finish if not mixed with clear wax or mineral spirits. Antiquing Wax only has a small amount of pigment, so it works more like a glaze with the body of a wax. This product is also low odor and can be applied with a brush or clean cloth.
No. You can simply mix the bodning agent with all coats of paint for optimum adhesion. If the “chippy” look is desired, do not use the bonding agent and do not prep the piece. (Watch the video on Getting the “Chippy” Look on the tutorials page.
Surfaces made of colonial wood, like teak, are the hardest to paint. The natural oils in this wood will most likely bleed through. When the wood looks dry or weathered, the oils will probably have dried out, and you won’t have issues when painting. When the wood looks very saturated, there are still a lot of natural oils present. These oils will migrate to the surface and bleed through. Sometimes the wood has been treated with protective oils, meaning even more oil! You can only prevent from bleeding-through by applying a layer of shellac. When shellac was applied, you will have to add bonding agent to your milk paint mix.
We advise our Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat for high-traffic areas. It’s very durable and water-resistant.
Kitchen cabinets are a good example … they endure a lot of wear and tear, water, grease, stains. Wax and hemp oil have great protective qualities, but both will only endure a lot of water or aggressive household products for only a short amount of time. The more you clean or scrub your cabinets, the faster the wax or hemp oil will wear, dry out and will have to be reapplied.
These warnings are mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Committee and California’s Prop 65 to educate customers about potential hazards in the products they purchase and use. The warnings are based on chronic, long-term exposure, misuse of the product (ingestion, inhalation), and apply to the ingredients in their pure form. Integrity and honesty are core values of our business and the safety of our customers is paramount, so we comply fully with these new regulations by clearly labeling our products according to their standards.
For more information on California’s Prop 65 Warnings, visit HERE.
For more information on the CPSC, visit HERE.
All of our labels were in compliance with the regulations at the time they were printed and packaged. Those requirements have since changed and we have updated our labels to comply. Our product is still the same that it has been since the launch of our brand in 2012.
Our milk paint is sold in powdered form and some of these ingredients may be harmful only if inhaled. When mixed with water, it can no longer be inhaled (unless sanded or sprayed) and therefore does not currently require a warning.
Ingredient – Titanium Dioxide
Which warning is associated with Titanium Dioxide? May be harmful by inhalation. Contains material which may cause cancer.
Why is it in milk paint? It is the white pigment used to color milk paint and it also gives paint its opacity.
You can find more information on Titanium Dioxide HERE.
Ingredient – Manganese
Which warning is associated with manganese? May be harmful by inhalation. Exposure may cause reproductive organ damage in men.
Why is it in milk paint? Trace amounts may be present in some of the pigments used to color milk paint. It can also naturally be found in chalk and clay.
Why does manganese require a warning?
According to the CDC, “Although low levels of manganese intake are necessary for human health, exposures to high manganese levels are toxic. Reports of adverse effects resulting from manganese exposure in humans are associated primarily with inhalation in occupational settings. There is indirect evidence that reproductive outcomes might be affected in manganese-exposed men.”
You can find the full report on Manganese Toxicity HERE.
Ingredients – Calcium Hydroxide (Limestone) & Citric Acid (food grade)
Which warning is associated with these ingredients? Skin irritant and eye irritant.
Why are these ingredients in milk paint? The limestone hardens as the paint cures, giving milk paint its durability. Citric acid is used to balance the PH of the calcium hydroxide.
Why do these ingredients require a warning?
Pure citric acid may irritate the skin and eyes. It may also irritate the nose, if inhaled. You can read more about citric acid HERE.
Pure calcium hydroxide is caustic and can cause burns. You can read more about Calcium Hydroxide HERE.
- Avoid Inhalation, contact with eyes and skin. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses. Wear niosh certified mask for dust.
- Keep out of reach of children.
- In case of contact with eyes, flush with cool water, remove contact lenses, if applicable, and continue flushing. Obtain medical attention if irritation persists.
- In case of contact with skin, flush with cool water and wash with soap and water. Obtain medical attention if irritation persists.
- In case of ingestion, do not induce vomiting. Obtain medical attention. Never give anything by mouth if victim is unconscious or is convulsing.
Keep milk paint out of reach of children. Milk paint should be mixed by an adult and can then be used by a child under adult supervision.
Our Hemp Oil and Beeswax Finish are both natural and food safe, however they are not intended to be used on items that come in contact with a child’s mouth. Always allow the finishes to fully cure (for 30 days) prior to use. Since our other products are not food safe and have not been certified as safe for use on cribs and baby toys, we definitely do not recommend them for that specific purpose. We always suggest checking with your child’s doctor if you have a question about any item that may come into contact with your baby.