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 painting furniture with milk paint!

Learn more about the different types of paint for furniture here.

powdered milk paint with text overlay milk paint furniture tips and tricks

If you haven’t tried milk paint, and you love old things, you are missing out!

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What is Milk Paint Good For?

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 it 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. Learn more about painting IKEA furniture here.

Use milk paint with an old piece of WOOD furniture for the best results.

How to Paint Furniture with Milk Paint

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Prepping for Milk Paint

The way you prep furniture for milk paint will depend 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!) Check out the best paints for furniture to pick a better paint for your furniture.

Or do you want a chippy old world looking finish?

First, clean the surface really well (I like to use Krud Kutter to clean old pieces of furniture). Learn more about how to clean furniture before painting.

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, you have to sand to make sure the milk paint doesn’t chip.

  • 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.

Learn more about the importance of sanding before painting furniture

  • And then mix some bonding agent (each milk paint brand has its own bonding agent they sell) into the mixed-up milk paint.

Bonding agent is kind of like a primer that is specific for milk paint. There are other primers for painting furniture, but bonding agent is the best for milk paint.

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 straightforward. Brush on a couple of coats of paint with a paintbrush. Make sure to let each coat dry completely before moving on to the next coat.

Learn how to use milk paint on furniture here.

The Best Paint Brushes For Painting Furniture

As for paintbrushes, these Zibra paint brushes are the very best paint brushes to paint furniture with 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.

My favorite is the round brush, and then probably either the triangle brush or the square brush. They are also excellent for crafts and painting walls as well!

Learn about all of the best paint brushes for painting furniture here.

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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!! Here are distressing furniture techniques anyone can do.

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!

Here’s how to topcoat painted furniture. If you want to spray a topcoat on, here is how to spray polyurethane.

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, it’s 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!

painting furniture with milk paint ideas

Milk Painted 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 does not come in a powdered form, and it DOES NOT chip or create an old-world finish like powdered milk paint does.

But my go-to brand of milk paint is Shackteau Interiors Milk Paint. She actually uses her milk paint almost every single day and shares her painting adventures on Instagram Stories.

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.

painting furniture with milk paint ideas

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 dry to a matte finish. They both in general have great adhesion (better than latex paint!) And they both need to be top coated.

Check out my comparison between milk paint vs chalk paint to learn more.

Where Can I Buy Milk Paint

Here is a list of where you can find milk paint for furniture online:

If you’re looking for where to buy milk paint locally, you can Google 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.

Now that you know all about painting furniture with milk paint, you’re ready to go paint your own furniture!

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