Have you ever been at your local MMSMP retailer and wondered which sized pouch you should purchase for your project? Because Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is a powdered paint that is mixed with water, having a rough idea of the amount of paint that you’ll need to mix to get you started is very helpful! So let’s talk about the coverage of MMS Milk Paint and help you get a better feel for how much you’ll need for your next project!
Before we talk about specific amounts to mix, let’s discuss four factors that can impact the coverage you’ll experience with Milk Paint.
The color you choose directly impacts how much paint you may need to mix. It’s a well-known fact that lighter colors tend to need more coats to get full coverage while darker colors need less. For example, two coats of our soft black, Typewriter, will cover like a dream while you may find that you’ll need three coats of Ironstone or Linen to get the same level of coverage.
Farmhouse White offers the best coverage of the whites in our collection.
As you can see in the photo above, there are some spots along the little table on the left that appear more transparent than the cupboard on the right. While Miss Mustard Seed was perfectly happy with the coverage on her table (and we think it looks beautiful as well) some painters may want a third coat of paint to get a brighter white finish.
There is a trick to helping reduce the amount of coats of white you may need, and it involves the grays in our line. If you paint a coat of gray first (such as Shutter Gray, Trophy, or Schloss), it will reduce the amount of subsequent coats of white you’ll need. Painting gray first gives your piece a neutral base and helps to cover dark wood or paint better than white.
Because Milk Paint can be mixed to different consistencies, a thinner paint won’t have the same coverage as a thicker paint. For the best coverage, we recommend mixing one part powder to one part paint. That means you add the same amount of powder as you do water. For example, if you measure out 1/4 cup of paint, then add 1/4 cup of water to your cup. This basic ratio will provide you with the ideal consistency and provide you with lovely coverage.
Although it does the trick 99% of the time, every now and then your Milk Paint will mix thick or thin, even if you stick to the one to one ratio. In those cases, all that is needed is to add a bit more powder or water to get the right consistency. We recommend you aim for the viscosity of melted ice cream. If the Milk Paint flows off of a stir stick in a nice steady stream, you’ve got the right mix! Milk Paint will always be thinner than modern paints on the market, but it will still be creamy when properly mixed. (That’s the powdered milk protein, or casein, doing its job!)
If it’s chunky and lumpy, keep stirring and add a little water. If it’s drippy and thin like skim milk, add a little more powder. Don’t stress about this step! If you can mix hot chocolate, boxed brownie mix, or have ever made pancakes, you can mix Milk Paint!
Remember that the majority of pieces require two coats of paint. The first coat of Milk Paint will look streaky, uneven, and…well…ugly! That’s completely normal, so don’t be disheartened when you step back and your dresser looks like this:
A second coat of paint will make a world of difference. Take this piece for example. Can you see how much better the second coat looks?
Again, the key to getting this kind of coverage is mixing your Milk Paint to a creamy consistency.
It goes without saying that some pieces paint up faster and require less coats of paint than others. Raw wood soaks up Milk Paint like a champ, so two coats is typical for a piece that does not have any pre-existing finish. Heavily knotted woods, such as pine, can lead to bleed through and may require you to seal the knots, adding to the coats of paint you’ll need. But for the most part, raw wood is ideal for Milk Paint coverage!
Dark wood pieces may require more coats of paint, especially if you’re using a lighter color, such as Grain Sack or Farmhouse White.
This antique display case required three coats of Farmhouse White when Miss Mustard Seed painted it back in 2016. She could have gotten away with two, but she wanted really good coverage.
It paid off, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s another piece that required three coats of Milk Paint. This workbench was extremely dark and dingy when Miss Mustard Seed brought it to her old Pennsylvania studio.
She mixed a custom color of five parts Grain Sack to one part Trophy, and it took three full coats to get it to this stage:
Even though this piece was dry wood, and the existing finish on it wasn’t very glossy or shiny, it started off very dark, which equated to more coats of a lighter color to fully cover the piece. once again, it definitely paid off!
The last aspect that impacts how well your Milk Paint will cover is the technique you use to paint. Everyone has their own style of painting, so there will naturally be slight variations from one person to the next. Some of you may be more heavy-handed when applying your paint, and you may load up your brush more so than another. We recommending loading your brush up about 1/4 of the way, kind of like this:
Photo via Perfectly Imperfect
Basically, try to avoid “dunking” your brush all the way in like a cookie in a glass of milk!
So now that you know a bit more about all of the different factors that can impact the coverage of your Milk Paint, let’s talk about figuring out how much paint you should mix to cover different sized projects. These amounts are how much Milk Paint you’ll need total to complete a particular project. (Again, these guidelines are all subject to variation due to the factors we just discussed.)
1 – 4 TABLESPOONS
A few tablespoons of Milk Paint will take you further than you think! This measurement is ideal for a myriad of small projects like…
Picture frames, windows, and chalkboards.
Photo via Fred & Bessie’s
Small toolboxes, like this one that Miss Mustard Seed painted in our upcoming color, Aviary.
Mirrors, like this one by Mango Reclaimed.
Even small benches and stools! Miss Mustard Seed painted this step stool when she featured Artissimo.
As you get into more substantial pieces of furniture, you’ll need to bump up the amount of Milk Paint powder in your cup. A rough 1/4 cup will take you through the coats needed to cover small to medium projects such as…
Photo via Breida with a b.
Small side tables.
Even a few chairs, depending on the shape and size of their frames! These four hitchcock chairs were painted for Miss Mustard Seed’s booth at the 2017 Lucketts Spring Market.
The table base in the photo above can also probably be painted using 1/4 cup of paint.
It would also cover a pair of large shutters or some other sort of large architectural salvage piece.
This amount of Milk Paint will start to carry you into the world of dressers. Again, depending on the size of the piece you’re working on, a normal sized dresser will need anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of paint.
It will also cover the outside of a wardrobe or armoire.
If you want to paint the interior too, that may push you into the 1 cup territory.
1/2 cup of Milk Paint will also cover small to medium sized hutches.
And small to medium sized buffets like this one by Oliver and Rust.
Or this one by Eight Hundred Furniture.
One cup of Milk Paint is needed for big projects. We’re talking super large hutch cabinets, long buffets, and cupboards that are painted inside and out. Here are some projects that would require this amount of Milk Paint.
This was affectionately called “The Beast” by Colour Saturated Life, and for good reason! If you were going to paint this whole piece, it would definitely fall into the 1 cup category.
Basically, if you consider your project a bit of a beast, then start with a cup!
We hope this lengthy post will help you determine how much paint you’ll need for your next project. Remember, you can always mix less than what you’ll need and make more batches as you go. If you do wind up mixing more than is necessary, you can store your Milk Paint in an airtight container overnight and revive it with some water the next day. Because Milk Paint is perishable once mixed, you’ll need to use it sooner than later, and it won’t hold up much more than 24-48 hours after being mixed. As you work with the product more, you’ll get a better feel for your personal painting style, how heavy-handed you are with the paint, and before you know it, you’ll be able to eyeball how much Milk Paint you’ll need like a pro!