How to Make Milk Paint

Milk paint has been around since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. It has become popular again today, because it is environmentally friendly. There are no toxins in milk paint. It is made with all natural ingredients and is therefore perfectly safe to use. Furniture that has been painted with milk paint has a special vintage look, and it is very durable. You can purchase milk paint powders that you mix with water from specialty stores. If you want to try to make milk paint for yourself, follow these directions.


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    Purchase a few basic ingredients. You can purchase a quart (0.94 l) of skim milk and a lemon at your local grocery store. You will need to purchase dry color pigment or artists' acrylic paint from a craft store in the colors of your choosing. You will also need some cheesecloth and a sieve.
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    Prepare the piece of furniture for painting. Milk paint is best used on unfinished furniture, but it is possible to strip and clean vintage furniture for painting. The surface of the piece you are painting should be dull from sanding, so that the paint will adhere to the wood.
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    Mix the skim milk with the lemon juice. You will need to use the juice of 1 lemon for each quart (0.94 l) of skim milk you add to a bowl. Mix as much as you need for your project. The mixture is going to stay out at room temperature overnight, so that the milk will curd.
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    Strain the curd from the milk mixture. You can use a piece of cheesecloth and a sieve to pour the milk mixture through for straining.
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    Add 4 tbsp. (2 oz) of dry color pigment to the milk curd. If you are using acrylic paint, you will want to add a little at a time until you reach the color desired. You could also adjust the amount of color pigment to your liking.
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    Stir the color pigment or acrylic paint into the curd. Keep stirring until it is completely mixed.
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    Apply the paint to the piece of furniture you have prepared with a paint brush. The paint will dry quickly. It will leave behind a very rustic, vintage look resembling colonial furniture.
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    Throw away any unused paint within 2 days of mixing. It is made from milk, so it will not last long.
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    Wash any containers and brushes with soap and water. Remember, this is a non-toxic paint, so it is safe to clean these items in your kitchen.


  • Milk paint can also be used on walls and kitchen cabinets. Do not try to apply it to any surface that has been previously covered with an oil based paint, unless you first completely remove the paint.
  • Use a hair dryer to dry the paint quickly, and it will crackle giving the piece of furniture an even more vintage appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Skim milk
  • Lemon
  • Plastic container
  • Dry color pigment, or artists' acrylic paint
  • Cheesecloth and strainer

Article Info

Categories: Paint Recipes and Mixes