What is Milk Paint?


One of the most common questions I get asked is: What is the difference between milk paint and chalk paint?

Well, I’d like to blog about milk paint. 2 reasons:

1 – I recently became a retailer for Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company, Inc..


2 – most people shy away from milk paint usage because it comes in a powder form and they are scared or unsure of how to use it properly.

I first learned about milk paint via Pinterest. I was excited to find a retailer where I could purchase some to try. I bought 2 different colors: Salem Red and Pitch Black. I have to admit I was nervous.
You can read about my 1st milk paint adventure here.

What I want to focus on today is how to use milk paint. Because, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

Before I go into the step by step instructions on mixing and using milk paint I want to add a few additional “pros” that swayed me to not only use milk paint, but to retail it also:

1 – it comes in powdered form and the brown bag packages are small and compact. I don’t have a lot of space to store cans and cans of paint and I’m very stingy with my space!

2 – I live in Texas. Summers here suck!! Weeks and weeks of 100*+ days. I recently had to relocate all my chalk paint inside because after being in the garage for a few 95*+ days the cans emit a sulfur smell when opened. I dislike having to store paint IN my house but I dislike stinky smells more!!

3 – I can easily blend colors and create custom colors while milk paint is still in powdered form. If you go to the color chart on the OFMP website you will discover that they have 20 colors but have recommendations on how to create 60 more variations of the colors by mixing to various specifications. Mixing chalk paint is a pain. I’m clumsy and messy and trying to mix paint already in liquid form is extremely difficult for me. You might not have issues, but I do. So my chalk paint colors are limited to the exact color that comes in the can. With milk paint I can use a pinch of each color and mix it, see if I like it, before I mix up an entire batch for a piece. It’s also easier to recreate if I don’t mix enough. I never could do that with chalk paint.

4 – it’s CHEAP!! $13 for a 6oz. packet of powder that I get 6-8 pieces painted with. I pay upwards of $35 per can of chalk paint and get the same coverage.

5 – NO VOC – the cool thing about milk paint is that it has been made without VOC’s before that became the “green” thing to do. Other paints I work with smell, and some smell worse after being stored in a hot garage! :-p

6 – it dries FAST!! I am able to complete my milk paint pieces in a day. Even when using multiple colors. When I’m painting 5-6+ pieces a week I love the fast drying characteristic!

Now that you are as excited about milk paint as I am – how do you use it?

Step 1 – choose your color (or colors)


I chose driftwood this time. Milk paint is mixed equal parts paint powder to warm water.

This is the foil package that the powder comes in, inside the brown bag.

I find that a 1/4c. size scoop works for me for a medium to large size piece.

I used to mix my milk paint in a plastic cup and blend with a whisk but I wasn’t liking the consistency. I now use a mason jar and just shake shake shake. Plus, the remainder stores in the fridge better when it has a lid AND I don’t have to clean a whisk! 😉


Shaken up, milk paint has a few bubbles but if I do it well, the clumps are gone. As soon as its shaken, it’s ready to be painted on.

Here’s a piece I’m working on for trade days (BEFORE):


Here is the portion of milk paint that is partially dried:


The darker portions are the areas that aren’t dry. This is a first coat so it’s patchy and shows the original wood through in some areas. A second coat will be used on this piece but it isn’t always necessary depending on the look you are going for.

Now, something that some people don’t like about milk paint is that it can chip and flake off some pieces of furniture but you won’t know when it is going to do it. I’m ok with that. But not everyone is. Something you can do is add bonding agent to the paint when mixing it, and it will solve that problem. I have painted multiple pieces with milk paint and I haven’t had the extreme chipping and peeling experience that most get. It could be the pieces I do, or the fact that I blend all lumps out, or just bad luck. I did have one piece that really chipped, and crackled like I have been hoping to see but it was for a client and not me 😦



She is one of my favorite clients and was totally ok with that finish. The thing about the chipping and peeling is that once you seal it with tung oil or wax, it doesn’t peel or chip anymore. Like I said though, I don’t experience a lot of chipping/peeling when I use milk paint.

I hope that helps dispell any questions or fears you might have about milk paint. If not, feel free to comment or email me. I will have milk paint for sale in all 20 colors in my booth at Wylie Last Monday trade days 6/21-6/23. I’m also doing a giveaway for anyone who shares my Facebook page.


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