All Things Milk Paint!

Expert Milk Paint Refinisher, Kristen of Shackteau Interiors, answers many questions on the topic of Milk Paint!


Q1.  What’s the difference between Milk Paint and Chalk Paint?

A1.  Authentic milk paint comes in powder form. You mix the powder with water to make the paint. You will need to mix a bonding agent if you’re painting over a surface that’s previously painted or sealed and you want less chippy. If you are painting bare wood you don’t need a bonding agent as the paint absorbs into the wood. Chalk paint is premixed. All paints need prep for proper adhesion no matter the paint type.


Q2.  What are the benefits of Milk Paint?

A2.  It’s non-toxic and there are no VOCs. You can get two totally different looks a chippy look without the bonding agent and a solid look with the bonding agent.


Q3.  Is Milk Paint durable once it’s cured?

A3.  Yes, it’s very durable. Mostly depends on the finish you are after. 


Q4.  Do you find it easier to strip than other paints?

A4.  I don’t usually strip anything so I don’t think I could answer that question. I don’t like to use any kind of chemicals on anything, so I would imagine it would probably be the same as other paints.


Q5.  Once you mix Milk Paint, how long does it last?

A5.  I’ve found some colors will last longer than others but it’s best to mix up what you are going to use right away. It can curdle just like milk. Sometimes you can get a few days if you keep it in the fridge, but every color is a little different.


Q6.  What is the shelf life of the Milk Paint Powder?

A6.  As long as it’s sealed, I don’t think there’s a shelf life. I think it will last forever.




Q9. How do I prep my piece for Milk Paint?

A9. Typically I will wash my piece with TSP. Depending on the look I am after, that will determine my prepping. If I want a chippy look, I don’t do anything but paint it. When using extra bond I’ll give it a good scuff sand with 120 grit sandpaper then clean it with a tack cloth then it’s ready to paint.


Q10. Can you paint over something that is already painted – over any other paint?

A10. This can get tricky because sometimes even with the extra bond it can be unpredictable painting over other paints because the milk paint can react to another paint. Even years of furniture polish or oils can create a different reaction with the milk paint.


Q11.  Can I use Milk Paint over a previously waxed or sealed surface?

A11. I would definitely remove the wax or sealant and then paint and maybe even consider using the extra bond with the milk paint.





Q12.  How much Milk paint is needed – does Milk Paint go a long way?

A12. The pint size package we sell will generally paint a regular size dresser. It also depends on the color. If you’re going to use white or any light colors you are going to use more paint. You’ll do at least 2 to 3 coats. Some darker coats you can sometimes use one coat.


Q13. Do you have to work fast when using Milk paint?

A13. No, it will dry in regular average temperatures.


Q14.  Once you mix Milk Paint, how long does it take before it’s ready to be applied?

A14. So, I generally tell people to let it sit for 10 minutes once it’s mixed. Also, use distilled water to prevent clumps in the water.


Q15.  Any need to mist my furniture as I paint?

A15. Milk Paint is thinner, when you mix a one to one ratio. You can mix on thicker side or thinner as a stain or a wash. Generally you don’t need to use a mister.


Q16.  Can you achieve a smooth finish with Milk Paint?

A16. If you use the extra bond and sand in between coats you can get a really smooth finish.


Q17.  Can I make my own Milk Paint with sour milk?

A17. I would not recommend it.


Q18. How many coats are usually needed with Milk Paint?

A18. Generally for most colors, two coats. For lighter colors, you may need to do three coats.


Q19.  What one thing do you need to remember when working with Chalk Paint?

A19. Add a tiny bit of water, store it well, and apply thin coats.


Q20.  What is the hardest part of working with Milk Paint?

A20. If it chips when you don’t want it to but that is just understanding the importance of the extra bond. 


Q21.  What is the easiest part about working with Milk Paint?

A21. I think its easier to brush on than other paints because its so thin. It’s easier to store as well.


Q21.  Is Milk Paint good for blending like the Ombré Effect?

A21. I don’t really do ombré much. But I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to do the blending.


Q21.  What one thing do you need to remember when working with Milk Paint?

A21. You should definitely measure your powder and water when mixing. Keeps everything consistent. Milk paint has color variations to it so the more accurate when mixing the better for consistency.


Q21.  Any special techniques when painting with Milk Paint?

A21. Once you paint your piece and you have to touch something up, make sure you paint a full section instead of just that spot.







Q22.  How do you get the chippy finish?

A22. It’s a gamble, you can sometimes do no prepping and you still don’t get any chipping. If you really want chipping you can rub wax in areas where you want chipping and that can help. Bare wood will not provide any chipping. The paint soaks right into the bare wood. 


Q23.  How do you use the extra bond?

A23. You mix it after you make the paint. I mix a half of cup of powder then a half of cup of distilled water and after the 10 minutes, then I put in about a half of cup of extra bond and add in. 


Q21.  Anything else you can use if you don’t have the bonding agent on hand?

A21. As far as I know, no.


Q21.  After the Milk paint chips and you are satisfied with the results, once you top coat it, will that keep it from chipping further?

A21. I try to sand with a fine grit over the chipping part to make it as smooth as possible and usually once you add the topcoat it stops the chipping. It can chip a little more after its been top coated or waxed. You can spray with a water based poly to keep more from coming off.




Q24.  Best to use waxes or Top Coats for Milk Paint?

A24. I primarily use waxes. I like how they smell great and are non-toxic. It gives a nice sheen over the Milk Paint. Hemp oil also works really well. You can wet sand over hemp oil to make it incredibly smooth and its all non-toxic. You can use water-based poly, it will provide the most protection but I think it takes away from the look a bit.  No matter what top coat you use and someone puts a wet glass on it, it won’t be good. Use coasters!




Q24.  How should I clean my paintbrushes?

A24. I use my Zibra Paintbrushes and they are easy to clean. I usually just run them under water, very easy to clean due to the thin paint that Milk Paint provides.


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