One of the popular ways to incorporate a vintage or shabby chic vibe into any room in your home is by adding milk painted furniture. Whether you’re an experienced DIY-er or a beginner, painted furniture with milk paint can be a fun and rewarding project.
To help inspire your next painting project, we’ve compiled a list of creative ideas to get your creativity flowing.
Milk paint is a versatile medium that can be used to create a variety of finishes. Whether you want a rustic, distressed look or a more modern chic vibe, you can achieve a range of different styles with this paint.
With milk painted furniture, the possibilities are endless, making this DIY trend so exciting!
Before we dive into the ideas, here are some helpful tips to make sure you are on the right post.
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What is the difference between milk and chalk paint?
Both paints are fantastic for giving your furniture a fresh new look, but they do have some differences that could impact your project.
Let’s dive into the main differences between milk and chalk paint to help you decide which one is perfect for your next DIY furniture makeover.
Composition: Milk paint is an all-natural paint made from a blend of milk protein (casein), limestone, clay, and natural pigments. You mix it with water to turn the powder into paint.
On the other hand, chalk paint is a water-based paint that contains calcium carbonate, which gives it a chalky, matte finish. Chalk paint typically has a thicker consistency compared to milk paint. Learn more about what is chalk paint to help you decide if milk paint is the right choice.
Finish: Milk paint provides a more authentic, old look in a matte sheen. It’s perfect if you’re going for that time-worn, farmhouse style. Chalk paint dries to a matte finish with no variations in the color and that looks great on shabby chic or modern pieces.
Application: Milk paint comes in a powder form that needs to be mixed with water before use. You can play around with the consistency by adding more or less water to achieve your desired effect. Learn more about how to use milk paint on furniture.
Depending on how you prepare your furniture, it will either stick amazingly well, or it will chip off here and there. Chalk paint is pre-mixed and ready to use right out of the can.
It’s known for its excellent adhesion properties, requiring minimal to no surface preparation before painting. But that’s really not the case. Learn more about How to Chalk Paint Furniture to see what to expect when using chalk paint.
Distressing: Both milk and chalk paint are perfect for creating distressed finishes. However, milk paint tends to chip and flake naturally, giving it an authentically aged appearance.
Chalk paint distresses easily with sandpaper, allowing you to have more control over the final look.
Sealing: Milk paint requires a topcoat like wax, polyurethane, or oil to seal and protect the finish, though if you use waterbased polyurethane, the paint will most likely chip even more. Check out these ways to seal milk paint for more information.
Chalk paint also requires a topcoat to seal the finish. Check out our post on wax vs polyurethane for information to help you decide what is the best for your project.
Do you have to sand furniture before using milk paint?
The good news is that milk paint adheres well to most surfaces, even without sanding. However, there are still some cases where sanding can be beneficial before applying milk paint. Check out the best paint for furniture without sanding here.
If your furniture has a glossy or very smooth surface, lightly sanding it can help the milk paint adhere better and reduce the chances of chipping.
A quick scuff with a medium or fine grit sandpaper (150-220 grit sandpaper) should do the trick. You don’t need to remove all the existing finish; just remove the shine from the furniture for the milk paint to grip onto. Learn about the best sandpaper for furniture painting to find out what sandpaper is right for your project.
For laminate furniture, mix some of the bonding agent into the milk paint to help it stick, in addition to sanding. Here’s our blog post about the best paint for laminate furniture.
On the other hand, if your furniture has an unfinished or porous surface, you can skip the sanding step altogether, as milk paint will stick nicely to these surfaces.
Keep in mind that if you’re going for a distressed look, milk paint will naturally chip and flake over time, especially on edges and high-wear areas.
This is part of the charm of milk paint, but if you want more control over the distressing process, you might consider light sanding before painting.
So, while sanding isn’t always necessary before using milk paint, it can be helpful in certain situations to make sure the paint sticks and create your desired look.
More Painted Furniture Ideas
If you’re on the fence about using milk paint on your furniture project, don’t worry, we have lots more ideas! Here are some more lists of painted furniture ideas that will inspire you!