What is Milk Paint, Exactly?
Milk Paint is 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.
Our formula has 5 ingredients - Casein (milk protein), Chalk, Clay, Limestone and Pigments.
This simple formulation causes Milk Paint to behave very different from its more modern counterparts like latex and acrylics. It provides a beautiful matte finish that shows amazing color variance.Milk Paint is also the oldest known form of paint! It pre-dates chalk type, latex, acrylic and even oil paints! Milk Paint has been around for thousands of years and has been discovered in cave paintings and Egyptian tombs.
How Old is Milk Paint?
The oldest known record of Milk Paint was discovered in 2015 on an ancient fleck of dolerite. The specimen was dated to be 49,000 years old and contained traces of casein (milk protein) and ochre (a naturally occurring plant used for dyes).It has been found on cave paintings in Australia and in ancient Egyptian tombs. It was used to paint barns and wooden antique furniture.Needless to say, Milk Paint is NOT the new kid on the block!
What Makes Milk Paint Special?
On pre-finished surfaces, it can flake away in some areas, giving a piece an authentically aged finish that can’t be achieved with any other paints. How it chips, when it chips and to what extent is quite random and unpredictable. While this may make some beginner painters nervous, it’s part of the fun of using Milk Paint!
A Non-Chippy Milk Paint Finish
What if you don't want the chippy look on a piece with an existing finish? We carry a product called Bonding Agent that can be squirted directly into your mixed Milk Paint. This water-based acrylic emulsion will make the paint adhere to existing finishes, other types of paint, metal, glass, and other slick surfaces.
How Do I Prep for Milk Paint?
Raw Wood - No prep is required.
Pre-Finished Surfaces - Scuff up the surface with medium grit sandpaper (100-150) prior to painting. Remove the dust with your vacuum. If you want the chippy look, do a light scuff sanding. If you don’t, go a bit heavier on the scuffing and mix Bonding Agent into your Milk Paint.
Glass & Metal - Clean the surfaces with either Windex or a slightly dampened rag. Obviously you can’t sand these surfaces, so mix up your Milk Paint, add Bonding Agent and have fun!.
How to Mix Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
Mix approximately 1 part water to 1 part milk paint powder with a blender (strictly used for paint), by shaking in a lidded container, by hand with a whisk or stir stick or with a motorized paint mixer.
Add tepid water to container first, then add milk paint powder slowly and mix for 3-5 minutes.
Paint a test swatch to make sure desired consistency has been achieved. If the paint is translucent or runny, it is too thin. If it the brush drags and the paint appears gritty or chunky, it is too thick. Add more water or powder accordingly and mix again.
Once satisfied with the color opacity and consistency, pour out paint into a wide mouth container. Apply paint evenly in long, smooth strokes with a brush or roller. Stir paint occasionally as pigments may settle at the bottom of the container.
Dry time is approximately 30 minutes.
Two to three coats may be necessary to achieve your desired coverage and possibly more when applying a light color over a dark surface. Lightly sand with a 220 grit sandpaper to smooth surface. Remove dust.
A top coat is required to protect the paint and bring out the richness and depth of the color. We recommend MMS Hemp Oil for a natural finish or MMS Furniture Wax for a hand-rubbed appearance. A polyurethane or varnish of your choosing may also be applied.
Mixing Milk Paint
There are lots of ways to mix Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. Check out these options and see which one suits you best.
The cool thing about milk paint is that you can change its consistency to suit your project. You can mix it on the thin side for a wash or a stain. Mix it thick to create texture and crustiness.
If you want normal opacity, then the ideal consistency you’re aiming for is that of melted ice cream. You know when you eat ice cream, and you get towards the bottom of the bowl where that “soup” is? That’s what your Milk Paint should feel like!
With that said, it will definitely feel thinner than latex, acrylic and chalk type paints. Don't expect that thick, smooth body that’s consistent with modern paints. It’s normal for Milk Paint to have a few lumps and clumps here or there. When you brush the paint on, the lumps usually work themselves out.
Milk Paint does have a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used it before. It’s practically 180 degrees different than modern paints, and there’s a reason for that! Because of its simple formulation, it doesn't have chemicals in it that make it smooth and creamy like modern paints. It’s kind of the “natural peanut butter” of the paint world!
We recommend trying Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint out on a scrap piece of wood or on furniture with which you don’t have a strong emotional attachment. Painting great-grandma’s antique table might not be the best first-time project!
Coverage of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
One quart of milk paint covers approximately 70 sq. feet. Simply mix this powder with water- it’s that easy! A Milk Paint finish is unique and can range from a solid color to a stain, it all depends on how much water you add! It can be used on any porous surface without a primer. It will never chip or peel on porous surfaces as it soaks in and binds with the substrate.