I was speaking with a woman from our church a few weeks ago and she was asking about my business…how things were going. I answered rather generically, “Great!” She pressed a bit further. “You were doing something with paints…some kind of…milk paint or something, right? What’s that about?”
I love it when people who don’t know anything about milk paint ask me about milk paint. I have the chance to introduce them to something I really love…like sharing a good book.
It can be hard to explain milk paint to someone who hasn’t used paint beyond latex. It’s an ancient paint that is being embraced again. For years, it’s been overshadowed by paints laden with additives and chemicals. Now we, as a culture, are yearning to get back to things that are real. Things that can be used in our homes, around our family…fume free.
What you gain with milk paint’s five ingredients, you lose when it comes to paint that is open-the-can ready and creamy at one stir of the stick. It takes some getting used to, but it’s worth getting used to. I was trying to explain this…rather clumsily to my friend…and she helped me out.
“It’s like peanut butter.”
I had to think for a minute, then I got exactly what she was saying and realized she understood what I was trying to say about milk paint.
“Yes, it’s exactly like peanut butter.”
When you open a jar of typical American processed peanut butter, you are greeted with a pristine, silky smooth surface…like untouched fallen snow. As you dip your knife (or spoon) in, the peanut butter responds with an incredible consistency. It stands up in a peak on the knife blade, ready to be spread across tender white bread in wavy strokes. Just like the commercial.
Once I became more aware of ingredients and started reading labels, I opted to buy all-natural organic peanut butter.
When you open a jar of that, the real deal, you are greeted with a pool of oil. I remember the first time I opened the jar, I thought something was wrong. Maybe this was really old? Maybe it needs to be refrigerated? I finally learned that I just needed to give it a really good stir. Without all of the additives, it does what natural peanut butter does. It’s not wrong or bad, it’s just being real peanut butter.
And it’s all the yummier for it.
My friend from church, who didn’t know anything about milk paint, unknowingly gave me the best analogy to explain milk paint. If all you’ve ever used is modern paints, milk paint will be different from what you’re used to. You might worry about it being too thin or be bothered by an unmixed lump. But it’s not wrong or bad, it’s just being real, natural paint.
And, in my opinion, it’s all the better for it.