Milk Paint


This traditional paint looks great on any project – and it’s simple to use.
By Michael Dunbar
Pages: 44-48

From the February 2010 issue #181
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Woodworkers have been painting their furniture for thousands of years. During that time, they have used many different types of paints. In fact, in historic terms what you will find at the paint store is limited: oil or latex. Modern paints are also pretty limited in their appearance. To put it simply – they are boring. Old paints looked a lot nicer.

If you want to achieve a nicer painted surface on your most recent masterpiece, you’re not going to find it in the paint store. Although it’s a bit extreme, you could make your own paint. This means mixing a bunch of hard-to-find ingredients. Some of the ingredients used in historical paints are poisonous and even illegal.

Happily, you do have a safe and easy-touse option – milk paint. Woodworkers have used milk paint since antiquity. It remains a desirable finish today for the same reason it was favored by the ancients, and every generation of woodworkers in between. Milk paint is quick to apply, easy and forgiving. It results in a rich, lustrous and complex finish that improves with time. Yet it can be applied in an afternoon.


From the February 2010 issue #181
Buy this issue now