Frequently Asked Questions

-Old Fashioned Milk Paint is our original formula that has been in production since 1974.  There are 32 colors in that line.

-Sweet Pickins Milk Paint is our boutique line.  It is the same exact formula as the original Old Fashioned Milk Paint line but it has 18 exclusive colors.

-Farmhouse Finishes Safe Paint is the 1st and only milk paint on the market that was originally formulated for walls.  It is a bit easier to mix and doesn’t quite have the original old world, mottled appearance as the original paint.  Can be used on everything the original formula can be used on + walls.  Generally doesn’t require the Extra Bond.   Comes in the same 32 colors as the original Old Fashioned Milk Paint line.

Our boutique line, Sweet Pickins Milk Paint currently has 50 colors!

Our original line, Old Fashioned Milk Paint and Farmhouse Finishes both have 32 colors!

Milk Paint & Farm Fresh Finishes

Orders are shipped within 1-3 business days.  Orders that are placed during a sale can take up to 10 days to ship.

You will receive a confirmation that your order has been processed as well as a tracking # email.

We will accept returns of any unused, unopened product that was purchased in the last 30 days.  Product must be received back in good, sell-able condition for a full refund.

Customer is responsible for all shipping costs.  Pre-paid shipping costs that were paid at the time the order was placed, will not be refunded.

Please email info@milkpaint.com to initiate a return.

2 oz. sample – covers approx 12 sq ft.

6 oz. pint – covers approx 36 sq ft.

12 oz. quart – covers approx 72 sq ft.

48 oz. gallon – covers approx 288 sq ft.

You do need to keep in mind that coverage varies a lot depending on the piece your painting (how light or dark it is compared to the color your painting it), how many coats you do, how thick or thin you mix your paint, type of brush used and your painting technique.  Whites tend to take 2-4 coats, whereas colors normally take 2 coats, sometimes even just 1.

True Milk paint comes in a powder form and just mixes with water.  See tips for mixing here.

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Yes!  You can use our milk paint on your cabinets just as you would use it on furniture.  Milk paint is extremely durable and is a perfect choice for high traffic areas.  It is advised to clean your cabinets well with a degreaser such as TSP (be sure to completely rinse the TSP so you don’t have adhesion issues).  If your cabinets are shiny, very smooth or have been painted before, then you might want to give them a light sand to knock down the shine a bit and create a little “tooth” for the paint to stick to.  Remember – if you have chipping/peeling paint or clear coat prior to painting, then that must be removed or the milk paint wont adhere and it will just continue to peel.  Your paint job will be all for nothing if you don’t fix any problem areas 1st.  If you aren’t going for a “chippy” look on your cabinets or if they have been painted before, then add the Extra Bond to the 1st coat of milk paint just as you would do on furniture.  After cabinets are properly prepped, paint as normal and then seal with a good quality polyurethane (water or oil based) or a clear lacquer – be sure to find a product that protects against food oils.  If your looking for a glazed look on your cabinets, its advised to use an oil based glaze with milk paint.  Glaze 1st, then seal with top coat of your choice.

Milk Paint is an ancient paint developed 1000’s of years ago – in fact they have even found ancient cave paintings that are in milk paint!  Chalk type paints are newer on the market.  Only true milk paint comes in a powder form – if its pre mixed and it says its milk paint, its not (it would be an acrylic based paint) – chalk type paints come premixed.  Milk paint is made with all natural ingredients consisting of limestone and casein, which is the milk paint protein – most chalk type paints are not all natural.   Milk paint is well known to be very durable and when painted over a porous surface its virtually impossible to remove.  Milk paint is known for its depth and dimension and somewhat “mottled” appearance – this is unlike any other paints which are flat and one dimensional (chalk type paints, latex, oil, lacquer) – milk paint has a ton of character even when its not distressed.

Because milk paint comes in a powder form (that you mix with water), it can be made as thick or as thin as you like it.  You can use it thin for a stain or thicker to create texture and age.  Chalk type paints generally are thicker and are already mixed.  Milk paint is well known for its ability to naturally chip/flake off and crackle when painting over some existing finishes – chalk type paints don’t do this and have to be distressed or forced to crackle.  Both paints can be distressed, glazed, waxed, etc.

Generally, the prep work for milk and chalk type paints are about the same.  Both paints have their place and one is not better than the other – its all about personal preference and about the overall look your trying to achieve.  Milk paint traditionally will give a more authentic aged look (or you can add the Extra Bond to get a cleaner painted look).

Base is simply our Milk Paint Formula with no pigment added. Some of our customers like to add their own ‘universal tinting colors’ or other water soluble pigments to obtain colors other than the ones we carry. If possible, use ‘lime proof’ pigments as the lime in the paint tends to bleach out color.

Yes! To experiment you should use small amounts of the powders – teaspoons, tablespoons, even fractions of teaspoons. Mix the powders together in a small cup, add a little water and stir well. Paint a sample on a piece of scrapwood or cardboard. Keep in mind the color will look lighter when dry. Write down the ratio of your mixture, this way you will be able to easily duplicate a color combination you like in a larger batch.

To see some examples of how you can mix our colors together to create other colors click here to see the “Paint Chips” photo album on our Facebook page.

You may have gone over the same spot more than once with your top coat of Milk Paint. Also, make sure the paint is mixed correctly, and it is always a good idea to experiment on some scrap wood first. For more detailed information refer to the “Applications” section on the Antique Crackle Product Bulletin.

For detailed instructions on how to apply Milk Paint to walls or plaster see ‘PAINTING PROCEDURES’ in the Milk Paint Product Bulletin. You can paint directly over new plaster, but, as it is so porous, you may end up using far more Milk Paint than necessary if you are going for an opaque coverage. If you are going for a thin washed look, then go right ahead!

Or, try our new SafePaint formula for walls! It was formulated for previously painted walls, new wallboard with joint compound, and plaster. It adheres to almost every clean, sound surface- even metal!

Mix the Milk Paint according to the enclosed directions, then add more water and test on a piece of scrap wood. Allow to dry and adjust the mixture with more or less water until you achieve the finish you want.

We recommend using Extra Bond on anything other than bare wood. Milk Paint needs a porous surface to adhere to, and the use of Extra Bond will greatly help adhesion on non-porous surfaces. New sheetrock walls and plaster are actually too porous and should be primed with a flat latex primer, followed by a first coat of Milk Paint with Extra Bond added. For detailed instructions be sure to read our Extra Bond and Milk Paint product bulletins.

Please note: Our new SafePaint wall formula does not require the use of Extra-Bond.

Milk Paint will water-spot white spots if it has not been sealed and something gets spilled on it. It will also spot if it is wiped with water or washed. Decorative pieces, walls etc., do not need to be sealed, but any painted surface subject to spills should be (or if you want to be able to wash the surface). A bench, chair or similar piece of furniture can be waxed or oiled, which provides a nice finish and helps prevent water spotting. We also carry a clear acrylic, Safecoat Acriglaze Matte Finish, which is suitable for most furniture and woodwork applications, but a tabletop, kitchen cabinetry, etc. should have a much tougher finish such as polyurethane for best protection.

We do not know of anything that is incompatible with going over our paint. For best results, test an area with the topcoat you plan to use to make sure that you like the end result.

For more detailed information refer to the “Applications” section of our Milk Paint Product Bulletin.

Please note: SafePaint for walls does not water spot and is washable/wipeable (not scrubbable) when cured. However, it is still a flat paint, so sealing the surface in problem areas where stains might occur may be a consideration.

If it is a functional piece, or if you will later want to be able to wash the surface, yes. You will need to use a non-waterbased sealer over what you have crackled. This is very important, as a water-based sealer, such as the Acriglaze Matte Finish we carry, will reactivate the crackle and not seal the surface properly. Be sure to use an oil or solvent-based clear finish, or wax.

Real, natural, Milk Paint is always made in powder form. Other companies may offer ‘Milk Paint Colors’ but they are usually oil or acrylic based paints.

Yes, sample sizes are now available from two sources. Samples are great for very small projects or for experimenting with color.

When applying any paint, whether milk paint or any other kind of paint, planning and prior preparation are always key to successful use. So, plan ahead; mix up only the amount you will use that day. Due to the organic nature of true milk paint, it always works best when mixed up fresh.

If you do have leftover paint, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days or more. Be sure it is not too thick when you go to store it, then add a little water on top without stirring before you put it in the fridge. When you need to use it again, stir well and add a bit more water if necessary.

Our paint contains no preservatives, which is why gelling might occur. Some other paints on the market claim to be real milk paint, but they contain synthetic extenders that will allow a mixed batch to last longer without gelling. But, even with those paints containing synthetic extenders, you will find you get your best results when applying freshly-mixed paint.

Most modern strippers won’t touch Milk Paint. There is a Behlen Masters product, however – P.D.E. paint remover that will remove it. It comes in one pound cans of powder that you mix with water to form a paste. It is the only method of removing milk paint that we know of other than alot of elbow grease and sanding. You can order Behlen’s P.D.E. through us or you may be able to find it locally through a distributor who carries Behlen products.

This will happen with any water-borne acrylic, including the Acriglaze Matte Finish, under one of the following conditions: it is either too humid where you are applying the finish, or, it has been applied too thickly. What happens is that the top layer of the finish dries quickly, trapping moisture underneath, resulting in a whitish, cloudy, or milky appearance. Sometimes this will clear over time, even a matter of several days, but if it doesn’t your only option is to sand through the finish and reapply- under dryer conditions and in a thinner coat. Two thin coats are more desirable than one thick coat.

Many of our customers (such as Pennsylvania Folk, in our Gallery) have far more experience than we do ourselves in various finishing and distressing techniques. Many such practices can be done with Milk Paint (rolling, sponging, ragging, graining, etc.) and there are many books available on decorative painting such as this. Our best advice is to mix up a little paint, get a piece of scrap, and experiment!

If you wish to paint multiple layers of different colors and sand through the edges to expose the underneath color, one tip is to wipe off an edge or corner with a rag while the top layer is still wet. This will save a little effort in sanding once dry, although you’ll probably still want to go at it with a little touch-up sanding as well.

Our genuine Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic, and considered safe for children’s furniture and toys.

A Few Facts That You Should Be Aware Of

  1. For over 41 years, The Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Company has been faithfully producing a genuine Milk Paint as close as possible to the old primitive, home-made paint made on the back porch with skim milk or buttermilk, crushed limestone and pigments found around clay pits, or chimney soot and mineral colors crushed and powdered. This original paint goes back about 6000 and more years as evidence by early cave paintings.
  2. This original paint varied quite a bit in color, texture and permanence as no recipe was widely disseminated world wide. Slight variations in the results were quite usual, as evidenced by artifacts found with (a) a fairly heavy film thickness in spite of great age, or, (b) just a thin stain of earth pigment color that penetrated the wood pottery.
  3. During our early experiments, we easily reproduced the latter (b) results although we were working to get a good film with strong adhesion as mentioned in (a) above. These experiments resulted in our being able to produce a genuine milk paint as made long ago, with one variation. We found that when using regular liquid milk, the paint would start to gel in a matter of hours. Keeping it in the refrigerator would increase the life of the liquid paint, but not for more than a few days.
  4. This was all right for our own use but we were already receiving requests from some of our customers who had purchased a four-poster bed or a Windsor chair that we had made and painted, and wanted some of our unusual paint. Our main business was the making of museum replicas of the 17th & 18th century furniture, and some of the original country pieces had been milk-painted.
  5. Naturally, for authenticity, we had to stick with the original ingredients. We were able to make one concession in order to ship our paint anywhere. We used all dry ingredients, still faithful to the history and “that’s the end of the story”.
  6. Genuine milk paint is technically a calcium-caseinate. That means simply that it is made from milk protein, (also known as casein) and lime, (also known as calcium), plus the earth or mineral pigments. There are casein paints of many varieties as well as casein glues and adhesive coatings. About a hundred years ago in Germany a casein paint was made using formaldehyde instead of lime. Another formula used borax instead of lime. Still another used additives like synthetic plastics such as acrylics, vinyls or acetates, and the list goes on and on. Many of these formulations are good paints, as are oil and latex. But they are NOT milk paints.

Since 1974 Often Copied – Never Equaled

PROFESSIONAL USE

Artists, decorators, house painters, architects and cabinetmakers all use and/or recommend our milk paint for these reasons:

  • Quality Product
  • Fairly Priced
  • Historical Accuracy
  • Beautiful Colors
  • Timeless Durability
  • Does Not Fade
  • Non-Polluting
  • Virtually Odorless
  • 100% Biodegradable
  • Zero VOC’s
  • Does Not Support Combustion
  • Safety During and After Application
  • LEED Credits*
  • Widely Available

*Use of our milk paints can help you obtain credits toward LEED certification (LEED – NC IEQ Credit 4.2- low emitting materials- paints & coatings).

MORE REASONS PROFESSIONALS PREFER OUR MILK PAINT

Wick Ahrens – Whale Sculpture

  1. Trade discounts to professionals, resellers, and others buying in large bulk for use or repackaging.
  2. We can apply your custom labels or supply packaged product without any labels.
  3. Our milk paint is packaged in pint, quart, gallon or bulk for convenient use.
  4. Our milk paint is ready to solve any size project for decorators, faux finishers, and painting contractors.
  5. Any size or quantity can be shipped by air or ground on short notice.
  6. We encourage commercial and institutional users and resellers to contact us for volume pricing.