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What is milk paint?

Tackling a DIY project can pose a few interesting challenges, and choosing the right paint for the job can be one of those struggles. Oil, acrylic, chalk, powder, or milk; paints are each made differently, and one kind of paint doesn’t fit every kind of job. Let’s take a look at milk paint. Right now milk paint is extremely popular if you’re looking for a non-toxic option.

The distressed textured paint styles and antique looking furniture you are seeing on blogs and in retro furniture stores? Many of those pieces are painted with milk paint.

The Textured Look of Milk Paint. Photo Credit: http://MissMustardSeed.

What is milk paint?

Based on ancient findings, milk paint has been dated back through history. Even though milk paint is old-school, it’s still really cool. Milk paint indeed consists of ingredients which include milk, and no, it doesn’t smell sour! Milk paint is organic and and naturally mould resistant. You can make it at home or buy ready made packages in story. Check out the Homestead House website for a look at what you can buy packaged.

Mixed in with the milk is lime (or lemon will work if you are making the mixture at home). Furthermore, color pigment is added to the milk and lime base. Beautiful colours then emerge, rainbows cover the sky, and butterflies dance. This is what usually happens when people paint with milk paint (although the butterflies are not a guarantee).

what is milk paint

Photo Credit:

Why would you choose milk paint?

Milk paint is often used as furniture paint. Unlike other paints, milk paint does not give off a scary chemical odour, and is not made with harsh ingredients. People most often use milk paint when they want to revamp old furniture, or when they want to give perfectly good furniture an antiquated look. You can buy milk paint at local hardware stores and paint shops. If you want to DIY the paint mixture, you can do that fairly simply.

How to make milk paint

Making your own milk paint is a straight-forward procedure, but if you’re nervous to mess it up, or if you’re in a hurry to get the job done today, then go ahead and buy it. One package of paint will probably paint 2 small dressers and just needs to be mixed with water. Just remember, milk paint needs to be used quickly as it will spoil within a day or two.

To make your own milk paint, all you really need is the following list of ingredients: skim milk, paint pigment and lemon. Tools you will need include a sieve, cheesecloth, and something like a long spoon to stir the mixture. The process is explained really well on the Martha Stewart website: Milk Paint Recipe.

So, what is milk paint? Milk paint is an excellent way to DIY yourself a fantastic vintage-style furniture piece. Find a piece of furniture, which would be ideal for painting, on your local, and start painting! Milk paint works best on a porous surface, but use the right bonding agent and it can be used on any other surface too.

How to paint with milk paint

Useful links:

Used furniture

Nadine is a content and blog writer in Victoria, BC. She very honestly loves long walks on the beach. She loves her family and she loves you for reading.

7 Responses to “What is milk paint?”

Debbie Johnson

Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint is available at Sweet Peas AT HOME on 1010B Fort Street.
We have all colors in stock and also sell online and in our retail store in Victoria, BC.



Great, natural alternatives are always welcomed around my parts. Thanks for the article!



I offer my home-made milk paint as an eco-friendly alternative for my clients beds (especially the kids beds) I don’t use lemon or lime in my recipe, though. I also offer home-made paste wax as a finishing coat for a smooth finish and to seal it all in.



    You seem to sell some great items. Why don’t you put them on your local site? That way people can contact you directly about your products.

Stephanie L. Robertson

Great description of milk paint. I may have to try out the recipe myself, as I have a tall bookshelf that I want to paint.



In Australia, I’m a retailer for Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and I love using it for creating an authentic looking aged chippy finish.


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