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  Do you recognize this stuff? It is milk paint. Last December I was approached by a client who sells historical paints. She wanted me to customize some pieces I had for sale using Old Fashioned Milk Paint. Up until that time the only milk paint I was familiar with was General Finishes Milk Paint. While that is wonderful paint and I would absolutely recommend it, it's not really milk paint. I did quite a bit of research before I started painting. The more I read the more excited and nervous I became! It's not the easiest paint to use but I love it. I am going to share with you what I've learned, even though I am sure there is much more to know.
Slate Blue and Old White ~ Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co
Milk paint is an all natural paint that has been around for thousands of years.  It is made with milk protein and lime as the main ingredients. It comes in a powdered form that you mix with water to make your paint. I mix with hot water and a kitchen mixer. If the paint is resisting mixing just add a drop of hand soap. It gives you a truly authentic aged look that is unsurpassed. The durability of this stuff is what really got my attention. Virtually indestructible, make sure you really want to paint the piece you are working on. An exact quote  from a good friend who used to refinish furniture was, "I did it once and you couldn't pay me to do it again", speaking of stripping it off. Since most of the furniture I paint is for sale, this is a big deal to me. I wanted a "specialty" paint that was different from my standard latex but I didn't want to sacrifice durability.
You MUST sand. Milk paint works on porous surfaces, sand to the bare wood. The good news is no primer, the first coat acts as you primer. I use a standard paint brush and roller. Did I mention sanding :), it's a must! I am convinced if it sounds too good to be true it is, a sanded surface is preferable no matter what paint you are using if you want a durable lasting finish.
Dining table in French Grey, The Real Milk Paint Co

 One thing to know about milk paint is that it's unpredictable. If it doesnt want to stick it won't. That's part of the beauty! Also, distressing is not easy. 80-150 sandpaper and good arms required and distress as soon as possible. The longer you wait the harder it is. That is always a sign of a good quality paint. Once you are done go over the entire piece with 220 or more and the paint becomes velvety smooth.

I prefer milk paint for a distressed finish but you can create a smooth classic finish as well.
Barn Red, Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co
I have finished most of my milk painted pieces with matte finish polyurethane. I think the matte looks best. I have used satin as well. Finishing with poly can keep the paint from curing fully but it also protects it from moisture. Milk paint without protection is very prone to water spots. I am going to try Tung Oil on my next project.
Bright Red, The Real Milk Paint Co. Satin poly

I used Watco Danish Oil in Medium Walnut on this piece and though it worked very well too.

Turquoise, The Real Milk Paint Co

I have purchased milk paint from 2 places. The Real Milk Paint Co. and The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co

I can't really tell any significant difference in the products. The colors available through The Real Milk Paint Co are more appealing to me. I have noticed that the colors online and even on the color charts are not really true. Another great thing about milk paint is that you can mix your colors, so really the sky's the limit on colors you can make. Also, both companies have loads of info on their websites.
Marigold Yellow mixed with Snow White. Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co

Buttermilk over Chocolate, Old Fashioned Milk Paint

Primitive and Proper: POWW 94
 Savvy Southern Style: Wow us Wednesdays
The Shabby Creek Cottage Transformation Thursday
Domestically Speaking Power of Paint Party
Thrifty Decor Chick August before and after party

Milk Painted Washstand

French Provincial Beauty