Milk Paint Powder: What is It?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Milk paint is a nontoxic water-based mixture used as a paint. It is made from milk and lime with or without pigments added for color. Borax may be added to the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative.
Though milk paint has been used for thousands of years it does not compete commercially with oil paints mostly due to its short shelf life. Milk paint will spoil and must be used within a day or a little longer if refrigerated.
Milk paint can be used to mimic the look of antique furniture.
I found two brands of milk paint powder available locally and experimented with them by mixing the powder with water and painting some small, inexpensive wooden items: birdhouses and boxes from a craft store.
Milk Paint Powder from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company, Inc.
The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company has been providing chemically safe milk-based paints since 1974.
The product is sold as a powder in 20 colors. The milk paint powder is mixed with water and applied to porous surfaces. For non-porous surfaces, the milk paint powder can be mixed with a product called Extra-Bond.
A final sealing coat is recommended to prevent water spots and other damage to the surface. The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company has developed their own finish, Clear Coat, which they describe as “a non-toxic, water-borne, clear satin acrylic.”
Company History and Legacy: Non-Toxic, Environmentally Friendly Products in Historical Colors and Formulas
In 1974, Charles Thibeau, the founder of The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company, also founded The Country Bed Shop to make exact reproductions of early American Colonial furniture as can be seen in such places as Winterthur, Shaker Villages, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Old Sturbridge Village and The Shelburne Museum.
In order to get the authentic look of some early pencil-post beds, six-board chests, and Windsor chairs, he began to experiment with different formulas in an attempt to recreate the milk paint used extensively to paint furniture, walls and toys in early America. In 1974, he was interviewed for Yankee Magazine’s series of books on “forgotten arts”. This interview brought home the realization that a widespread interest existed among craftsman for this kind of finish and, “Voila”. The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co., Inc. was born.
For the expertise demonstrated in his recreations, he was elected in 1981 to the membership in the Guild of Master Craftsmen in London.
Birdhouses: An Experiment with Milk Paint Powder and Color Mixing
You can see that the first coat I applied to the birdhouse on the left end of the row was thinner (The wood grain shows through) and it was also Soldier Blue in color, no Snow White mixed in the paint. The birdhouse on the right end of the row is blue and white mixed about 1 part white and 2 parts blue. The house in the middle is the lightest shade of blue, mixed about half each blue and white. Each of the lighter blue birdhouses were painted with a mixture with less water content and I achieved a more opaque coverage. with no wood grain showing through.
I found it easy to mix this paint using a plastic container with a lid and a wire whisk which I purchased for $1 at the local dollar store. It is recommended by some painters that you use a cake mixer or similar powered mixer to ensure a smooth consistency for your paint.
What I love most about the mild powder paint from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company is that there is NO odor and I experienced no skin or eye or throat irritation working with this paint. I am pleased with the colors and the coverage I achieved.
I’m ready to try this paint on a piece of furniture!
Make sure to pay a visit to The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company at Facebook and LIKE their page.
Next post: My experiment with milk paint powder, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, from Homestead House Paint Co.
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