Milk paint is such a fun paint to play with! It dries fast, creates an authentically old finish and is made of natural products. Here are the best tips and tricks for how to use milk paint on furniture!
Get more ideas for DIY Dresser Makeovers here!
If you haven’t tried milk paint, and you love old things, you are missing out!
Milk paint creates a fantastically authentic old world look on your freshly painted furniture!
You can create a chippy old finish, or you can create a solid painted finish that looks like I was painted a long time ago.
The best part is that it dries super fast, so you can go from start to finish before you know it!
And it’s made from natural products that are safe for your family. No need to worry about fumes that will give you a headache!
Something to be aware of though! If you are a perfectionist that needs to be in control, this is not the paint for you. Milk paint has a mind of its own!
Sometimes it will chip, other times it won’t chip at all. Even if you are intentional with what you do before you paint.
The exception to this rule is when you paint over a factory finish from a store like Ikea.
That factory finish will always always always make all of your milk paint chip off. Seriously, don’t try that at home.
Use milk paint with an old piece of WOOD furniture for the best results.
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Prepping for Milk Paint
This all depends on what type of finish you’re going for.
Do you want a super smooth, modern and perfect finish? Powdered milk paint might NOT be the right choice for you!
Do I Have to Sand Before Using Milk Paint?
If you’re looking for an authentic old looking paint job that DOESN’T have chips in it:
Make absolutely sure to scuff sand the surface to give your paint something to hold onto.
If you skip scuff sanding, there is a far greater chance for the milk paint to chip here and there.
And then make sure to add bonding agent (each milk paint brand has its own bonding agent they sell) to the mixed up milk paint.
You’ll also need to be sure to clean the surface really well (I like to use Krud Kutter to clean old pieces of furniture)
If you’re looking for an authentic old looking paint job that HAS chips in it:
If you’re trying to get a chippy finish, you’ll most likely want to skip scuff sanding. (Unless the finish on your furniture is absolutely perfect and more on the slick side. Then you might want to lightly scuff sand, or wipe it down with a sander deglosser.)
Mixing Milk Paint
Milk paint comes in a powdered form that has a very long shelf life. But once it’s mixed up, milk paint doesn’t last very long.
So, you have to mix your milk paint with water.
Get the exact measurements and tips from the pros on how to mix milk paint here.
Painting Furniture with Milk Paint
Once your milk paint is mixed up and your furniture is prepped for paint, you’re ready to paint!
It’s pretty straight forward. Brush on a couple of coats of paint with a paintbrush. Make sure to let each coat dry completely before moving onto the next coat.
As for paintbrushes, these are the very best paint brushes for milk paint! The different shapes make it SO. DARN. EASY. to get into the details, corners, and different areas of each piece of furniture.
Just trust me on this one. If you paint furniture very much, you need a Zibra paintbrush. They are very affordable and can definitely be reused time and time again.
Can You Spray Milk Paint?
But, if you have a paint sprayer, you might be wondering “can you spray milk paint?”
The answer is YES!! Check out the link above with exactly how to spray milk paint!
Distressing Milk Paint
Distressing is where the fun part comes in! Especially when you are wanting a chippy painted finish!
Distressing will help the resisting paint chip off here and there to create the coolest farmhouse chippy furniture. I just LOVE it so much!!
How to Seal Milk Paint
Since milk paint is porous like chalk paint, you have to seal it when it’s on high traffic surfaces like furniture.
Don’t worry though, sealing milk paint is very easy and shouldn’t take you much time!
It’s the last step to your furniture makeover, and then you’ll be set!! Yay!!
Check out 3 ways to seal milk paint here!
Mixing Milk Paint Colors
Just like with regular liquid paint, you can mix milk paint colors to create a unique shade of your favorite color.
I’m not going to lie, its a little bit different than mixing your typical paint. So I decided to show you step by step how to mix milk paint colors.
Warning: It’s a little addicting to use up the last little bit of powdered milk paint by mixing it with other colors!
Milk Paint on Furniture
Best Milk Paint for Furniture
I’ve tried multiple brands of milk paint. From Miss Mustard Seed, Sweet Pickins, Old Barn Milk Paint, Shackteau Interiors Milk Paint, and The Real Milk Paint.
Please note that General Finishes Milk Paint is not the same as powdered milk paint. It doesn’t come in a powdered form, and it DOES NOT chip or create an old-world finish like powdered milk paint does.
But honestly, I haven’t had any problems with any other brand of milk paint. They all seem to act about the same.
The one difference is The Real Milk Paint Company. Their milk paint is different than any of the others. It has a gritter texture once dried, and it doesn’t chip as much as the others do. It also foams up a lot more than the others.
So it all comes down to preference, and what is the easiest for you to buy. Or what color you like best!
They all have bonding agents that help the paint stick if you don’t want a chippy painted finish.
Is there a difference between Chalk Paint and Milk Paint?
Yes! Here are some differences between chalk paint and milk paint.
Milk paint (if it’s real casein milk paint) comes in a powder that has to be mixed with water. Chalk paint comes premixed and ready to paint.
Milk paint can easily create a unique chipped paint look when the surface that it’s painted on is just right. Chalk paint creates a solid painted finish without chips (unless you try to create a chippy look with it).
Milk paint has some grittiness to its texture. If it’s mixed really well, you’ll have less of it. Chalk paint has a chalky texture.
If you want milk paint to adhere and not chip, you’ll need to add some bonding agent to it after you mix it up. Chalk paint will adhere and not chip as long as you prep your surface. If you don’t prep your surface, the chalk paint won’t chip, but it will scratch off very easily.
Similarities Between Chalk Paint and Milk Paint
Both milk paint and chalk paint create a matte finish.
They both in general have great adhesion (better than latex paint!)
They both need to be top coated.
Where Can I Buy Milk Paint
Here is a list of where you can find milk paint for furniture online:
- Shackteau Interiors Milk Paint
- Miss Mustard Seed
- Sweet Pickins
- Old Barn Milk Paint
- The Real Milk Paint
- Old Fashioned Milk Paint
If you’re looking for where to buy milk paint locally, you can search your paint of choice followed by “retailers” and you should find a list of local retailers.
Is Rust-oleum Milk Paint Real Milk Paint?
No. Rust-oleum milk paint is not a real casein milk paint like powdered milk paint is.
But it does seem to act similar to real milk paint (it doesn’t chip like real milk paint though!)
It feels gritty like real milk paint does, and it distresses beautifully as well. It’s also really good for creating a washed look.
It’s already mixed up so you don’t have to mix powder and water together as you do with real milk paint.
Check out this post to learn more about Rust-oleum Milk Paint.