milk paint

Use milk paint for unique soft, rustic furniture

You may have heard of chalk paint, but there is a new kid on the block: Milk paint. Technically not at all new, the process behind milk paint has been used for thousands of years. Milk paints are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and you can mix and match colours to create your own shade. Nowadays it is the richly pigmented competitor to currently taking over for furniture, walls, cabinets, and more.

Find out here what milk paint is, how to use milk paint, and where to find the best milk paint products in New Zealand.


Why milk paint has many advantages

If you’ve ever been on the home makeover section of Pinterest or seen late night repeats of renovation shows from the last few years, you have come across milk paint. The reason why milk paint is so successful, and why it works as an interior paint, for wood and timber, but also plaster: its short list of ingredients. The simple combination of lime, skim milk (or casein, a protein in milk), and pigment, milk paint has been around for thousands of years and is one of the oldest recipes for paint in the world. Currently milk paint is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Why? The advantages of milk paint are:

  • A richly coloured matt finish
  • Customisable – colours can be blended, and the finish can be solid colour, stain, or made to chip or crackle
  • Fast drying, solvent free, and low odour
  • Environmentally safe, non-toxic and biodegradable
  • Indefinite shelf life as powder in sealed bag

Tips for working with milk paint

Milk paint is marketed as a powder that you have to mix at home right before using it gor makeover of your furniture. Though the idea of buying paint in powder form may be intimidating, there’s no need for anxiety. Just follow these simple tips for the perfect application, and you’ll see that it al depends on a good mixture.

  1. Work out the look you want before mixing – If you want full opaque colour, you will need to add less water. For more of a wash effect, more water will need to added.
  2. Don’t panic if lumps form – Lumps forming is totally normal! After mixing, leave the paint for a few minutes for the casein and lime to do their work and dissolve. Any remaining small lumps will brush out as you apply the paint (or they can be sanded out with a fine sandpaper afterwards).
  3. The trick to a great finish is all in a proper mixing – For first timers, test a small amount of powder to see how it responds to water and to get a feel for it. Mixing can be done with a small whisk, a milk frother, or even a blender. For an opaque finish you are going for the consistency of cream, or thinner for a wash. Do not whisk into a froth. Do not bung all the water in at once – you don’t want to go too far before you’ve begun.
  4. Bonding agents and finishing oils are up to you – Do you want the chipped, antiqued look for your final finish or a clean and full finish? A bonding agent will work to keep the paint attached to the substrate. Without the bonding agent the paint will age and give an antique look.
  5. Paint follows look: When it comes to application, how much or how little paint you use is up to you and the look you want. If you want the wood grain to shine through, a single coat of wash is the way to go. For solid colours, one to two coats will achieve the look you want. And now you’re ready to go!

Where to buy milk paint products in New Zealand

The popularity of chalk paints and milk paints is leading to a proliferation of businesses with products in New Zealand. Below we have listed some of the top milk paint brands and the products they produce. To buy milk paint, one finds milk paints online as well as at stores and warehouses that sell natural paint products.

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint

Manufactured by Homestead House, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is the creation of “Miss Mustard Seed” a DIY/home decor blogger and author who wanted her own line of milk paints in all her favourite colours. And her favourite colours are fab. With the quality production of Canadian brand Homestead House behind her, this is a classy product with a beautiful range of 24 shades including Apron Strings (a light pink), Eulalie’s Sky (a vibrant aqua), Marzipan, and of course, Mustard Seed. Miss Mustard Seed also produces waxes, finishes, oils, and sealers.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint

A true milk paint, Sweet Pickins is manufactured by The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. out of America, the oldest manufacturer of true milk paints. The Sweet Pickins Milk Paint range comes in 36 colours including names ranging from the cosy to the fun such as Tickled Pink, In A Pickle (a bright green), Sunflower, and Ol’ Blue. Sweet Pickins also produce wax, bonding agents, oils and other top coats.

Porter’s Paint Milk Paint

This authentic milk paint producer is situated in Australia and is a division of DuluxGroup Australia. Available in a colour range of 10, the Porter’s Paint milk paints are claimed to be Australia’s one and only authentic milk paint that’s been produced there as well. Colours come from UV resistant natural oxide pigments, that make the most beautiful earthy as well as back, green and blue colours.


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