I recently used Old Barn Milk Paint (OBMP) on a gorgeous antique buffet that I’m using as a tv stand. I’ve become very familiar with chalk paint but this was my first time painting a piece with milk paint and I learned a lot during the process!
What is Milk Paint?
Way before chalk paint, latex paint, and acrylic paint there was milk paint. Derived from milk, lime, and earth-based pigments, milk paint is completely organic. It comes in a powdered form and must be mixed with water to use. Chalk paint can be natural as well but it depends on the brand; read up on your paint of choice to see how naturally the product is made.
Mixing Milk Paint
OBMP sends a handy instruction brochure with each order. For larger portions of paint (I used about 3/4 cup powder for 2+ coats on my buffet and had paint left over) mix equal parts water and paint powder. I used a paint stirrer stick making sure to mix from the bottom so no dry clumps were left. Let the paint sit for about 10 minutes to settle (trust me, don’t skip this step!).
The mixed paint should have the consistency of powdered sugar icing, thick enough to paint with but also thin enough to gently run off the stirrer stick. If you want to use the paint as a wash, simply add more water. If you want a more textured finish, add a little more powder.
Painting with Milk Paint
OBMP recommends using a foam brush for most even application. I used a high quality soft bristle brush and didn’t have any complaints. Paint just like you would with any other paint, going with the grain in long strokes, and don’t worry about the slightly streaky look. This is normal for milk paint and it’ll become more even with more coats.
Over time the paint will thicken up and become harder to use. Simply add a tiny bit of water, mix, and keep going. I also found it really helpful to keep my brush clean. When it no longer moved smoothly and the paint seemed to stick, I rinsed my brush thoroughly with warm water, shook out the excess, patted it dry, and got back to painting.
You’ll notice the wood grain really shows through milk paint unlike with chalk paint. Milk paint acts a little more like a stain or a wash and allows the nature of the piece to really shine. Since I wanted a rustic, distressed, and really aged look for this buffet the milk paint was perfect.
Finishing Milk Paint
When the paint was completely dry (maybe 10 minutes later?) I used sandpaper to distress just like I do with chalk painted pieces. OBMP distressed so easily! I hardly had to apply any pressure.
Depending on the painted surface as well as environmental factors, milk paint can chip and give a gorgeous, aged finish. If you aren’t a fan of the chippy look all you have to do is add some Bonding Cream to the first coat of paint.
After wiping clean, I applied OBMP’s all-natural Hemp Oil according to the directions on the bottle. A lot of other top coats have a chemically smell but this one was earthy and subtle. The oil seems sticky and way too shiny when it goes on but don’t worry! The oil soaks into the piece and after 10-15 minutes (or after your second coat) you can wipe up the excess with a clean cloth. I gave the buffet a good rub down and over the next 30 minutes to an hour the oil completely absorbed and the shiny look turned into a soft sheen similar to a nicely buffed furniture wax finish.
You can also seal milk paint with wax but this is a fairly high traffic piece for us so I wanted the extra durability hemp oil offers. Plus, OBMP’s Hemp Oil is food-safe and, since my Twin Tornadoes spend a lot of time beating up on this buffet, I like knowing the finish is safe for them.
Overall I am very pleased with the final look and it gives me so much peace of mind to know that these products are completely safe for my children. There is extra work involved using milk paint instead of chalk paint but, depending on the look you’re going for, it’s totally worth it.
Please note that all opinions shared in this post are mine and I am receiving no compensation for sharing my thoughts. The products I used from Old Barn Milk Paint were free samples I requested and I have recently become a brand rep. When I build our new coffee table I plan on trying out OBMP’s one step all natural wood stain; I’ll share my thoughts whenever I get around to that project.