Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Easy Guide to Making Milk Paint Antiquing Paste

As one of the oldest forms of paint, milk paint also happens to be one of the most Eco-friendly paints too. And you can easily make it yourself!

There are no harmful chemicals used in the making of milk paint, as you will see from this ingredients list:
  • Skimmed Milk - 1 quart (2 pints, or 1.1 liters)
  • Hydrated lime - 1 oz (25g)
  • Chalk powder - 1lb - 2 1/2 lbs (0.5kg-1.1kg) depending on the consistency you want to achieve.
Learning how to make milk paint is very easy, but like every good recipe depends on the quality of your ingredients. It is very important that the lime you buy (available from builder's stores and garden centers) is hydrated lime. This has already been pre-soaked in water and then dried, so will not react to water and become warm, the way that quick lime would do.

How to Make Milk Paint
  1. Add enough milk to the hydrated lime, to make a paste. Then continue to add the remainder of the milk, until you've achieved the desired consistency.
  2. Stir well for a few minutes, and continue to give it a stir every now and then as you paint.
  3. Then just apply as you would do with any store bought paint. The consistency should make the paint very easy to apply, and will leave no brush marks behind.
  4. Apply another coat, after the first one has dried, which should take between 3-4 hours.
  5. Milk paint can also be used effectively to create painted furniture in a shabby chic style, as the consistency is perfect for this task (pictured).
Paint can be stored in the fridge for a few days, but should obviously be used before the milk turns sour.
If you want to know how to make milk paint antiquing paste, then just add more chalk powder to your thin milk paint mixture, to bring it up to paste consistency. You can also try a milk powder/chalk powder mix. You will need to keep giving it a stir as you go, to prevent it from clogging and drying up as you apply it.

How to Use Milk Paint Antiquing Paste
A form of milk paint antiquing paste was used extensively in colonial inspired home decorating, especially on their dark wooden furniture. They would use it to protect the furniture, but it also left behind white pigment, which brought out the wood grain detailing. This can be seen on this picture from Colonial Williamsburg, especially on the wall mounted cabinets.

Simply apply the antiquing paste to your piece of furniture with a brush or cloth, and leave it for a few minutes (no more than 30). Then wipe off with a clean soft cloth. The effect should be a general whitening of the piece, more noticeably in the pores and grain of the wood. You can then protect it further by applying an oil or clear varnish over the top, if you wish.
Weatherproof Milk Paint & Adding Color
If learning how to make milk paint antiquing paste has given you a taste for recreating the colonial look on wooden furniture in the home, then you may want to take your skills further and try using milk paint on outdoor furniture, or garden features. This is much the same process, but to make your milk paint weatherproof you will need to combine 5 parts cottage cheese (or curd cheese), with 1 part lime. As before make the lime into a paste with water, and then add the cheese. You will need to let it sit for a few hours before it is ready.

You could also try adding limeproof pigment powders (from art and craft stores), to add some color to any milk paint recipe. Whichever "how to" method you choose to make milk paint from, be confident in the knowledge that you are not only recreating a bit of history, you are also doing your bit for the environment too.

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