Milk Paint Makeover

Yes, I’m all caught up in the milk paint magic…it actually enticed me to come out of hiding.  I saw this cute lil desk on Craigslist this week and knew it would be the perfect tester for me and my milk paint.

I had ordered it awhile back from here and just was waiting for that certain “special something” to give it a go on.  Of course, I forgot to snap a full before picture, but I did manage to get a few random shots to show what kind of shape it was in before I started.

But, nothing that a little wood filler couldn’t fix up.

After the wood filler, I gave the top a good sanding

covered it with some wood conditioner, and she was already beginning to look as good as new.

I painted the rest in Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Sea Green and I absolutely loved the way it went on.  When I distressed the finish after two coats, it would crackle in some places, chip off in others and stick like glue everywhere in between.

Do I like it as much as Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint…as of right now, the jury is still out.  I really do love both paints and as I continue to work with the milk paint, I think I will know more in how it ranks next to ASCP.  I will say the MP has definitely made a lasting first impression.  And I say this with the understanding that I am not being an expert here and I understand I may not fully “get” the two types of paint, but I really do feel like there is a need for both.  They are just different enough…

If you are wanting to know more about MP, here are some things I have picked up in my test runs with it and how it may vary from ASCP.  For those of you who are feeling brave and want to take on a furniture painting project, you can see the differences between the two below and, hopefully, have a better feel of which paint is right for you.

What is milk paint?

The brand I used is Old Fashioned Milk paint and is made from milk protein (casein), lime, clay, and earth pigments.  There are no preservatives, fungicides, leads, hydrocarbons or petroleum derivatives in this paint.  So, what does all that mean?  It means that is is non-toxic, environmentally safe, contains no VOCs and is even safe for children’s toys.

What is Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint?

Developed in 1990 by Annie Sloan, it is described as the BEST paint for painting furniture.  It also has low VOCs so it is also good for the environment.

How many colors are there?

OFMP has 20 available colors, but you can create new colors on your own simply by mixing different colors together.  You can most easily change the hues, or make tints of the colors by starting with Snow White and adding in more and more color to get the exact shade you want.  You can also add Pitch Black or Lexington Green to deepen any color, as well.  The big thing with OFMP is the colors will vary slightly from batch to batch due to variations in the natural earth materials, which I think is pretty cool.  Now, since MP comes in a powder form, they suggest the best way to mix your colors is to use a Tablespoon of the major color and add teaspoons or even fractions of teaspoons of another color.  Place the powders together in a paper cup and mix in a little water to have an idea of what you will get.  It will always look darker wet, so make sure to test the color on a piece of scrap wood or cardboard to make sure it is what you are going for.

ASCP has 29 colors, but again, by mixing the colors one could reach as many as 55 different colors. One great way to extend the color range is to simply add in one, two, three or four parts Old White or Pure White to any color you like to get varying shades of that color.  The paints are extremely easy to mix since they already come as liquid.

How is the paint shipped and what is the price comparison?

OFMP comes in a powder form and one package ($12) can be mixed with about 1 & 1/2 cups of water to make about 1 pint of paint.

MP is always best mixed up fresh, so if you have leftover paint, you need to keep it in a sealed container (cup covered with plastic wrap with rubber band around it would work) in the refrigerator.  Since they do not add any unnatural preservatives or extenders to the paint, it may thicken or gel up over time so they recommend only mixing up what you plan to use that day and then storing the unused powder in a airtight container.  The desk only took a small amount of MP.  So, I have a lot left in the fridge and I’m hoping I can find some more things to paint so I don’t have to waste it!  I also used a foam brush to apply it on the wood because the consistency of the paint was so thin.  The foam brush ended up working great and two coats of MP was more than enough to cover the desk.

ASCP is sold around $34.95 for a quart of paint.  It is sold as a liquid in a paint can container that can be sealed between uses which I think is definitely a plus considering my projects readily get interrupted with the kiddos.   The paint does thicken as it’s exposed to air so if you are going for a impasto (thicker) look just leave the can open, but it can also easily be thinned out by adding in a little water back in.   And this paint goes a really long way.  I can usually do 2-3 pieces of furniture with multiple coats with one quart of paint.  I usually use a good quality brush with ASCP.  Most of the time, two coats of ASCP will be all you need and some pieces only really required one coat.

Is primer or sanding necessary?

No, neither CP or MP require you to sand or to use primer.  In fact, the MP recommends that you do not use primer sealers with stain blockers such as Kilz or Zinsser Bin.  MP has a product called Extra Bond ($19) that they recommend using if you are applying on non porous surfaces or close-grained hardwoods such as maple or birch.  I chose not to use the extra bond with the desk because I knew that I wanted a chippy, distressed look, but I did order some for the other projects that I plan on doing.

Can it be used outdoors?

It is not recommended to use MP on exteriors as it will water spot in the rain.  However, multiple coats of a clear exterior finish will seal the paint and prevent water spotting.

ASCP can be used on interior and exterior surfaces.  In fact, Annie Sloan painted the outside of her shop and loves it, which you can see here.

Do these paints need a protective sealer?

The people at OFMP recommend sealing the paint of any surface that is susceptible to spills.  Without a sealer the paint is fine, but it will water spot and readily absorb dirt.  Any sealer will work over the MP.  Penetrating oils such as linseed, tung, or blended oils will deepen the color considerably, but really make for a beautiful finish.  Waxes are fine, too, but as with the oils, may not protect enough against coffee cup rings.  They did develop their own finish called Clear Coat, a non-toxic, water-borne, clear satin acrylic.  This Clear Coat is a low odor hard, non-yellowing acrylic that can be brushed on or sprayed, is fast drying and darkens the paint least of all.  However, it may not protect against kitchen oils and grease splatters.  If you are painting kitchen cabinets, for example, it may be best to use an oil or solvent based sealer.

ASCP can be used for nearly anything…furniture, walls, kitchen cabinets, exteriors, whatever.  She recommends sealing the paint with her Soft Wax in Clear.  Even if you are wanting to use the Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax for more of an aged finish, you will still always want to first apply the Clear Wax to prevent staining your paint.  By applying the clear wax first, it makes the dark wax easier to work with without changing the actual “paint” color.  In all my pieces that I have painted in ASCP and waxed using her wax, I have never had a problem with water spots or oil spots.  However, I did use a technique taught by Annie Sloan in which you highlight the grain of wood on my kitchen table.  With this technique, you don’t really have a painted surface and because of this, some water and oil spots do show even with the application of the wax.  But, in my opinion, I kind of like the look.  It shows that it is a table that gets used.

My own thoughts…

I really do LOVE Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and I was really happy with the finish of the Old Fashioned Milk Paint.  The only thing that I struggled with this first time using the OFMP was the mixing.  I found that I had a lot of powder lumps in my liquid that didn’t fully dissolve.  They do warn about this and recommend using warm water to mix the paint which I did use.  They also say that it is better to add a little bit of water to the powder to almost form a paste first, much like you would do if you were making gravy, and then slowly add more and more water to the paste.  I tried to do this, but still got the clumps.  It was recommended to strain the mixture through a nylon stocking or a piece of cheesecloth, but I skipped that step thinking it was unnecessary…apparently not.

And, as a side note, as much as I really love this desk, I’m thinking about selling it, if you are interested, click the “email me” button in the right sidebar!  First come, first serve!

If you are wanting to order Old Fashioned Milk Paint, I recommend going here.  And you can go here to find an Annie Sloan stockist near you.

If you are interested in learning more about milk paint, you should check out Miss Mustard Seed.  She is unbelievably talented and full of inspiration and she just announced that she is getting her own line of Milk Paint!  Congratulations, Marian!!!! I, along with so many others, cannot wait to get our hands on it!