Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An ode (and tips) to working with Milk Paint

An Ode to Milk Paint

Milk paint, milk paint

you are incredibly GREAT.

Even though I don't like cows milk I'll give you an 8!

You are probably my new favorite and you've earned my love,

and the fact that you're cheaper than ASCP means I think you're sent from above. 

Milk paint, milk paint,

let work together again soon! 

And restore enough furniture to fill a big room. :) 


I know, I know, you are all probably rolling your eyes.

My husband is. 

But SERIOUSLY, I can't say enough good things about Milk Paint.

I used it on the secretary and the organ desk (which will be revealed soon) and the results were perfect.

So here is the low down on Milk Paint!

What is Milk Paint?

Milk paint is not a latex or oil based paint...it's water based. That means that it won't give you a totally uniform color on the piece you're painting. It's really incredible the depth it adds. (Go here for more info.) 

How is Milk Paint packaged?

Milk paint comes in 2 forms, powder or pre mixed. There are pros and cons to using both. In powder form you are adding the water to create the consistency you want. Obviously this can be great because you can experiment with different looks. However if you're a first time user I suggest using the pre mixed Milk Paint. Because it is so different from latex and oil it simplifies the use if you can take mixing it out of the equation.

What about priming or sanding?

This is one of the best parts of using milk paint! You need minimal, and I mean minimal, of both. I suggest roughing up the piece if it already has a stain on it and if you are using any of the shades of white you might want to prime a little if you are using it on a piece with a really dark stain. I did have some problems with the stain bleeding through the white milk paint, but after about 4 coats the bleeding wasn't a problem.

What other products do they offer?

There is a bonding agent that you can brush on before applying the paint which will help the paint adhere to the sufrace. If you buy the powder version, buy the bonding agent as well. However the premixed paint has some of the bonding agent in it. I had no problems with the premixed paint adhering to the surface without the bonding agent.

They also have products to give your piece a crackled look, they have amazing glazes and sealers as well.

What color options do they have?

Here is one of their color cards. They have about 40 colors and wil the glazes they offer you can create tons of looks. The paint also mixes really well to help you create custom colors.

How much does Milk Paint cost?
If you buy the powder form it's $11. The premixed Milk Paint is $13 for a pint. Obviously depending on how thin/thick you mix the powder form equates to how much paint you get from the package, but it should equal a pint. Glazes, crackle, and bonding agents etc around $10 to $15.

How far does the paint go?
I was impressed. You will probably need at least 2 coats, I used 3, and I still have just under have a pint left. The glaze goes REALLY far.

Does it distress well?
Yes! It was super easy and it is fantastic for giving an aged look.

This is a really basic overview of the product and if you want more info here is a link to their website. (You can also find distributors there.)

All opinions are mine and I was not compensated in anyway for this post. 
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  1. Thanks for this review! I'm getting ready to refinish a dresser for my daughter's room and have been researching the best way to do it. I'm thinking this is the way to go !

  2. I love the look of the milk paint! I am also redoing a dresser and thinking I want to try this...Do you think you could use your "dry smearing" technique with this kind of paint?? I'm so torn between the two I just want to do both! Would love your input!

  3. I just stocked up on a bunch because a business here was closing them out. Dirt cheap! :) great stuff.

  4. I just received a sample kit of milk paint, yesterday. It contained a sample of the entire range of colours and a mix chart. Can't wait to try it.

  5. What bothers me about the "no priming necessary" + "use a bonding agent to help it adhere" is that the bonding agent is essentially a primer. The first piece I ever painted with milk paint was a chair, well-sanded, and the milk paint not only chipped and flaked off in a charming "chippy" manner, but continued to shed paint for months until I stripped it. And by that I mean that the chair sat decoratively in a corner and every few days there would be more flakes of paint under it. When I contacted the company, they explained that I should have used a "bonding agent" though they reassured me it didn't need "primer". A bonding agent IS essentially primer. It's a substance used to help the paint adhere to a surface. I don't care what you call it - it's an extra, added substance needed for the paint to stick. Call it primer, call it bonding agent, but you do need it. However, having said all that, I did love the color and depth! So I painted a side table in Sea Green AFTER using traditional primer and it looks absolutely lovely. With minwax paste wax on top, it's a dream of a color and finish. So while I do love milk paint, I wish they wouldn't emphasize that it needs no primer. Technically you could use any kind of paint at all including latex or acrylic with no primer - it still brushes on, it still allows itself to be placed on the furniture - however if you want it to stay put and adhere, you need extra help. Same with milk paint.

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I really appreciate all of your thoughts and comments! They bring a smile to my face!