milk paint

Milk paint – the natural choice of furniture paint

Milk paint is the 100% natural cousin to chalk paint that is muscling in on the furniture painting scene. Technically not at all new, the process behind milk paint has been used for thousands of years. Nowadays it is the richly pigmented competitor currently taking over for furniture, walls, cabinets, and more. It is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and you can mix and match colours to create your own shade.

Find out what milk paint is, how to use milk paint, and where to find the best milk paint products in South Africa.


Why milk paint does you and your cabinets good

If you’ve ever been on the home makeover section of Pinterest or seen late night repeats of reno shows from the last few years, you have come across milk paint. A simple combination of lime, skim milk (or casein, a protein in milk), and pigment, milk paint has been around for thousands of years but is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity. It is:

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

How to use milk paint

Though the idea of buying paint in powder form may be intimidating, there’s no need for nerves. Just follow these simple tips for the perfect application.

  1. Work out the look you want before you get to 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. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Bonding agents and finishing oils are up to you – Do you want the chipped, antiqued look for your final milk paint furniture 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.

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!

Buy milk paint products in South Africa – casein paint brands

The popularity of milk paints as well as chalk paints is leading to a proliferation of businesses with products in South Africa. Below we have listed the top milk paint brands and products.

The Original Milk Paint Company

As a South African originated product, The Original Milk Paint Co. promises to handmade milk paint in powder form that is child safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic an suitable for almost all porous surfaces. To cherish the historic paint recipe, you can buy their milk paint powder that’s 100% organic, add water and mix exactly the amount you need. This environmental concious choice of milk-based pints offers a variety of no less than 31 milk paint colours. You can also mix your own individual milk paint colour with the powders!

The Real Milk Paint

Products from The Real Milk Paint Co. are made in the USA. Their minimal black-and-white pots create an idea of their simple but clever approach. So is the instruction: Just add water. You can try that and choose one of the 50 color shades like Dijon, Spearmint and Granny Smith Green. As a real milk paint, this one is of course environmentally safe and too.

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