As I said in my last post, I’ve heard that MMS Milk Paint can be used on metal. And, while I had no reason to think it wasn’t true, I will admit that I had some difficulty imagining how that would work. About two years ago I bought a bunch of “metal things” out of someone’s yard for $5 each with a plan to experiment on them – but I just felt like it was going to be…difficult or…something…and I never got around to working on them.

Here is where they ended up…


How’s that for a before picture?

Now, after I painted the antique handsaw (because it jumped off the barn wall at me), I was so impressed with how the milk paint behaved that I was encouraged to dig this rolling cart out of my barn and finally do something with it. The surface of the saw had a pretty rough texture and so it wasn’t so surprising that the paint adhered to the surface – even without any bonding agent. I knew that the rolling cart was much shinier – and I assumed that it might do more chipping or even peeling.


That was not the case.


I want to go and paint ALL the metal things now.

I wish I could go on and explain to you the “science” of how this works. I know that when you put milk paint on raw or unfinished or freshly sanded wood, it does not chip because it soaks into the grain – almost like a stain would. On the metal – the explanation is clearly different – but I don’t quite understand it.

Here is the extent of the chipping (no bonding agent) on this fairly shiny metal rolling cart.


That’s it. And that only happened because the paint was kind of clumped up there and I knocked it off when I went in to do some distressing with my sanding sponge. I used a 220 sanding sponge to smooth down the entire surface and to expose a little bit of the dark metal underneath along the edges.




I haven’t put any top coat on this yet. I like it just fine the way it is – but in the interest of experimentation, I might go back and try out waxing or oiling it in different places.

I used two coats of MMSMP Ironstone to cover this dark grey metal. If I wanted it to look “brand new” I would have used a third coat of paint. I decided to stop at two because I was (personally) happy with the coverage at that point.

I absolutely LOVE the way it came out. I also built that wood work surface to enlarge the top and make it a bit more useful. It’s really a great little movable kitchen island now. I’ll show you how I built (and painted) that in another post.


The wood work surface came out pretty great too! And it was so simple to make.


I also have at least one more (okay, actually TWO) metal projects that I want to share with you…but I have furniture makeovers too.
I’ve been busy!

Okay! Question time!

I want to hear from you if you’ve painted any metal things with MMS Milk Paint.
If you have a metal something that you think you might LIKE to paint.



23 thoughts on “MMSMP on METAL

  1. Becky

    It looks great as a kitchen cart. And, yes, I’m ready to try this out on metal. I have a kitchen cart and an old Cosco metal stool I’d love to try this on.

    1. Breida

      I’m so flattered that you like it, Ronnda!
      The (very simple) explanation of the wood top is in my next post.
      Stay tuned!

  2. Terri

    This is just fascinating to me. I use MMS Milk Paint a lot, but I never would have thought it would do that well without a bonding agent, etc. I have a metal board that I bought at my craft store (on clearance) and I think I’ll give it a try. Maybe a nice sign?

    1. Breida

      I have to admit – I find it pretty fascinating as well. This is really not the result that I was expecting. And if you use MMSMP a lot, as you say, you’ll know that there are always times when it will just insist on doing its own crazy thing…
      Go for it, Terri!
      And let me know how it comes out!

  3. Karen@somewhatquirkydesign

    Painted a metal urn with typewriter a few years ago and used white wax. It was in the basement for a few years and I got it out to use yesterday. It had one pea sized area that had flaked off. Perhaps because of the humidity?

  4. Trina Williams

    The first thing that I ever painted with MMS milk paint was an old school desk, with a metal body and wood desknop. As I was so new to the whole milk paint experience, I mixed the paint VERY THIN. I had to paint 3 and 4 coats in different places in order to get any depth of color. When I applied the final coat, I noticed that the first several coats seemed to become “re-wetted” , and the chipping was ON!!!!
    Since that first time, I have tried to replicate that outcome by using a thinner mix of paint. I have had the best luck on metal but it also works with wood pieces.
    Maybe you could give this technique a try and let me know your results?

    Thanks for sharing !

    1. Breida

      Ha – Trina – I have had this result in the past. In my experience – it was adding (i think) a second coat really quickly after the first – neither super thin. I know what you mean about re-wetting though. I did a piece with a “chalky” paint as a “primer” and then applied two VERY fast coats of MMSMP trying to use up all the paint in my cup before I had to run out of the house for a couple of hours.
      When I got back – ALL of the paint – right down to the WOOD had come off. Both layers of milk paint, the chalky paint, and the old poly underneath!! It was mostly in a pile on the floor!
      I have pictures of that somewhere – boy, was THAT a shock when I got home!

  5. Sharon Hankins

    Brilliant, Breida! I have painted a few metal things with Milk Paint and it works well. Thanks for this post. Always a pleasure watching what you come up with.

  6. Nancy Baku

    Will this workforce a metal cabinet that lives outside? How do you recommend sealing it? I do want complete coverage – no chips.

  7. Nancy Baku

    Will this work on a metal cabinet that lives outside? How do you recommend sealing it? I do want complete coverage – no chips.

    1. Breida

      Hi Nancy –
      I can’t answer that one from personal experience – I just don’t know. If you really want to ensure no chipping – use the Bonding Agent for sure. As far as it being outside – I haven’t tried that yet so I just can’t say. However, you CAN use ANY top coat (one that is traditionally sold for use in an outdoor setting) over Milk Paint.

      1. Lori

        Do you feel MMSMP could work on a metal front door that has a glass storm door in front of it? It would get a lot of sun, so I am not sure if it would hold up. I have sensitivities and feel MMSMP would be a great option since the VOS’s in typical paint has caused me problems. Thanks in advance 😉

  8. Mimi

    Hi I was wondering how MMSMP would go over something thats has been primed?I can’t find anything on it. Is it ever recommended ?

    1. Breida

      Hi Mimi –
      I have used “chalk type” paint as a primer when painting with MMSMP but I haven’t used regular out of the can “primer”. Having said that, I think it will work just fine. I actually have a book shelf on my list of projects and I’m planning to use regular primer on it before I paint it with MMSMP. Most primers that I’ve used in the past have had a very flat finish – and that SHOULD give you a good purchase for your milk paint. It never hurts to try a small test area first though!

  9. Carla from Kansas

    Hi Breida, I really want to paint my refrigerator. I tried it first on the top. A very thin coat of MMSMP adhered and did not chip off. I could however easily scrape it off with a fingernail. If I used a topcoat on it would I still be able to scrape it off like that? I should probably also use bonding agent. A coat put on a little thicker chipped all off. I don’t want a choppy look on the fridge. I was afraid to sand the fridge in case the paint didn’t work and I ruined it.

    Your thoughts and advice?


  10. Melody Grimes

    I want to paint some large metal letters, however I want them to looks aged with paint chips coming off the edges. They are new silver color. What would be the best way to make them look old? Should I paint a rust color first?

  11. Renee

    There is q metal clock at Hobby Lobby that’s now red and I’d like to make it off white. someone told me about milk paint and I’m so glad I found this post about it. I think I’ll try it. Maybe I’ll just rough it up a bit to prep it.


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