Using Milk Paint To Create An Antique Look

Are you looking to give your shutters, doors or wooden furniture a timeworn, antique look? Pass over those “crackle” paints that promise fancy results and give off chemicals with even fancier names. Try milk paint for a green alternative that will deliver results without harm.
What Is Milk Paint?
Milk paint is an organically made solution that is used to paint wood, drywall, plaster and any number of other surfaces. Generally a mixture of lime and milk curds with color added (or not), milk paint doesn’t give off VOCs or emit any harmful pollutants into the air. It’s made to last and was even used on those gorgeous Italian frescoes of artsy times past.

Easy Recipe for Homemade Milk Paint
Although you can get quality milk paint in powder forms and add water to create the paint solution, real homemade milk paint can be made with a bit of patience and a blender.
1 Gallon skim milk (non-fat)
2 1/2 oz hydrated lime (make sure it’s not quick lime)
2 1/2 cups water
6 cups chalk (dust or ground for filler)
Natural dye (some people suggest Koolaid for bright, bold colors)

  1. Leave the milk out for a few days. (Resist the urge to clean it up or put it away – come on, you can do it.)
  2. After you see it has curdled, strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filters.
  3. Put the curds and hydrated lime in your blender or food processor.
  4. Pour in the water and mix it up.
  5. Add chalk and mix on low or just use a wooden spoon to combine.
  6. Mix in dye, if desired.

Painting the Shutters, Wooden Doors or Furniture
Whatever wood surface you are ready to paint, be sure it is properly prepped. Sand it down heavily with 150 grit sandpaper. Then, for a smooth surface sand down with 220 grit sandpaper. Apply the paint and watch it crackle and make that aged pattern you’re looking for.
Afterward, to avoid water spots and premature wear, you’re going to want to seal the painted surface with an oil-based clear seal. Natural tung oil is a great choice and will provide the protection your wood piece needs.
Milk paint is an excellent alternative for finishing just about any wood or plaster surface around your home. Always mix up only the amount you need as it will go bad in just a few days. And remember to seal the surface for better longevity.
A natural, green paint that is easy to mix up and apply, milk paint will have you thirsty for more of that creamy dairy drink. Have you given milk paint a try? Let us know what you think!
Photo courtesy of flickr/jrhitz

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