June’s Product of the Month – Bonding Agent

Happy June, Milk Painters!  This is Jenn Baker of Eight Hundred Furniture, and I’m so excited to highlight June’s Product of the Month, Bonding Agent!  This super-versatile product is the perfect addition to your Milk Paint collection because it allows you to have a bit more control over whether you want a chippy finish or not.

To show you Bonding Agent in action, I thought I would share a recent furniture makeover where Bonding Agent was absolutely essential!

Here’s where it all began.

This piece looked pretty terrible, didn’t it?  This was actually a METAL hospital desk that I picked up from one of my local antique stores.  It was painted in such a way where it appeared to be wood, but upon closer inspection, (and after picking it up), I learned it was metal.

The paint job was in poor condition but it was structurally sound and the drawer slid in and out well, which is always a plus!

Now we all know that Milk Paint lends itself well to raw wood surfaces.  It soaks in like a champ and provides a rich and saturated stain rather than simply laying on the surface.  It also can resist existing finishes when painted over surfaces that have been previously painted.  It will randomly chip and flake off, which we’re all familiar with.

The thing is, the chippy look isn’t always the ideal finish for certain furniture pieces.  And some folks don’t care for this style of furniture.  So how can you get the beautiful finish of Milk Paint without the chippy patches?

The answer is June’s Product of the Month, Bonding Agent (and a bit of prep work)!

Bonding Agent is a water-based concentrated acrylic emulsion that is milky white in appearance and is added in to mixed Milk Paint to help it adhere to glossy, slick, and smooth surfaces, such as metal hospital desks!

Bonding Agent can be mixed in a 2:1 ratio – one part bonding agent to two parts mixed Milk Paint.  Or, for an even stronger grip, mix in equal parts.  To ensure that the Milk Paint adheres, mix the bonding agent in with all of the coats you apply on your piece.

For my metal hospital desk, I decided to mix equal parts Milk Paint to Bonding Agent.  I settled on the color, Kitchen Scale, because I pictured this desk as a “landing zone” when you first come in the door.  I thought a nice pop of color would serve well.

Here’s the desk after 1 coat of Kitchen Scale with the Bonding Agent.

Things were looking better already!

I find that mixing the Bonding Agent into Milk Paint does a few things:

  1. It helps all of the powder dissolve and mix together.
  2. It provides a creamier and thicker texture, causing the Milk Paint to feel a bit more familiar to thicker paints such as latex.  (Note that Milk Paint will never quite reach the exact thickness and viscosity of modern paints.)
  3. It lightens the color of your Milk Paint in your container slightly, but the color still dries true.  This tends to shows up with darker colors like Tricycle, Artissimo, and Typewriter.
  4. Bonding Agent does cause Milk Paint to have a slightly smoother appearance on your furniture, but it’s a gorgeous effect and it expands the versatility of the paint.

My desk wound up needing 2 full coats of Kitchen Scale with the Bonding Agent mixed in, plus a few touch ups.

The Milk Paint adhered wonderfully and it’s all thanks to the Bonding Agent!

Bonding Agent isn’t just limited to being an additive to MMS Milk Paint. (You know Marian wouldn’t have a product that can only be used for one purpose!)

Bonding Agent can be painted on in full strength directly over pieces as a primer, similar to our Tough Coat.

It can also be used as a chip-fix!  If you are in the middle of painting a piece and you get unwanted chipping, you can sand back the chipping spots and paint Bonding Agent directly over the area.  That’s what I did for these patchy and unruly chippy patches on one of my Mustard Seed Yellow dressers.

Allow the Bonding Agent it to dry and then paint over the patchy areas with a few more coats of Milk Paint with the Bonding Agent mixed in.  All of those bald spots painted up beautifully and my dresser turned out beautifully!

Bonding Agent is the stuff that’s in most modern paints that allows them to stick to most surfaces.  Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint has 5 simple ingredients (chalk, clay, limestone, milk protein, and pigments) and we sell the Bonding Agent separately – it’s not mixed in for you.

This gives you the freedom to choose to use it if you wish and to adapt your batches of Milk Paint to suit the look you want to achieve.

Marian filmed an excellent video detailing how to use Bonding Agent on her YouTube channel.  You can watch it here!

Hopefully this post and Marian’s video have helped answer any questions you may have about June’s Product of the Month.

Shop for Bonding Agent, and all of our MMSMP products from your local retailer.  Find the closest retail location to you here or shop from any of our wonderful online retailers here.

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