Getting Started With Milk Paint
Traditional milk paint is a wonderful finish with deep, rich colors. It’s also tremendously versatile – you can achieve an array of effects, from a light wash of color that lets the wood grain show through to an opaque finish that brings out the form of the design. You can also underpaint in a different color from the topcoat, and abrade through to this to simulate the effect of wear.
Below are some considerations before you begin painting.
What should I be aware of before I start painting?
- Traditional milk paint requires a porous surface to adhere properly.
- The instructions specify mixing equal volumes of water and paint powder, but some find that slightly increasing the amount of water (to around 3/5 to 2/3) makes it easier to maintain a wet edge and improves flow-out. This is a particularly helpful tactic if you’re working outside on a hot summer day.
- Measure out the amount of powder you need into a glass or plastic container; don’t use a metal one, as it can react with the paint.
- Add a small amount of water to make a paste, stirring thoroughly until smooth. Add the remainder of the water incrementally and continue stirring, breaking up any lumps of undissolved powder.
Mix the water and powder into a smooth paste, eliminating any large lumps.
Add water incrementally and give the mixture a stir.
Continue adding water and stirring until the paint is the desired consistency.
- Don’t stir so vigorously that you introduce bubbles into the paint. A small number are inevitable, but do your best to minimize them, and don’t shake the paint to mix it. Cover the container and let the paint stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Milk paint is best used fresh. If your painting session is extended, you can store mixed paint in the refrigerator for a day.
- Knots can be sealed with shellac to help prevent bleed-through. For best adhesion, apply the first coat of milk paint while the shellac is still slightly tacky.
In the next section, we’ll show you how to work with milk paint to obtain the best results and answer some common questions.