WHAT IS MILK PAINT?

Milk Paint is a traditional style of paint made up of milk protein (casein), limestone, chalk, clay, and natural powdered pigments that you mix with water. What was used for cave paintings? A kind of Milk Paint! It goes over raw woods amazingly, and can adhere to pre-finished surfaces, glass, and even metal by incorporating Miss Mustard Seed's Bonding Agent. Finish with her waxes, hemp oil, or Tough Coat to seal and protect.

100% natural, no VOCs, eco-friendly, and non-toxic! For interior and exterior use. Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint comes in 24 fabulous colors, to create both rustic and sleek looks.

IS MILK PAINT SAFE?

Yes- Milk Paint is made from just five all-natural ingredients: clay, limestone, chalk, casein (milk protein) and iron oxides for pigments. It is safe for children’s furniture, painting projects indoors, and for use during pregnancy. The Hemp Oil and Beeswax Finishes are also food-safe, meaning you may use them to finish wood serving wear (cutting boards, wooden bowls, etc.).

HOW ARE MILK PAINT AND CHALK PAINT® SIMILAR? HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan are very different, yet have certain similarities.  It depends on the look, finish, and colors you wish to work with!  

  • Milk Paint comes in powdered form and needs to be mixed with water. There can be 10% variation between packages of Milk Paint. There can even be some variation within your brush strokes depending on how thoroughly you’ve mixed a batch, which can be remedied by mixing more. This can be one of the most wonderful aspects of Milk Paint, especially for rustic looks.

  • Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan is sold as a traditional liquid Quart or 4oz. Project Pot, and color is consistent from can-to-can as long as you’ve thoroughly mixed any colors that may have separated within the can.

  • Milk Paint and Chalk Paint® both have great adhesion on raw wood that will never chip/peel or fade.  Add the bonding agent to Milk Paint for use on previously finished surfaces to improve adhesion.  A quick sand to scuff up the surface will also help the paint adhere.  Chalk Paint® has great adhesion on most surfaces and there is no need to add a bonding agent (though you may need to also scuff up some contemporary finishes prior to painting for best adhesion).

  • Milk Paint can show wood grain in most cases when thinned with water to be used as a stain. Chalk Paint® is thicker-bodied straight from the can, but can also show wood grain when thinned with water.

  • Milk Paint can be distressed and/or crackled and will naturally resist some finishes giving an authentic chippy, aged look. Chalk Paint® can be distressed and crackled, and needs more manipulation to create a ‘chipped’ look- with Chalk Paint® you can create a ‘chippy peeled’ look, but never a full flaky chipped look like with Milk Paint.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MIX MISS MUSTARD SEED’S MILK PAINT?

Milk Paint can be a thin stain or a solid opaque paint depending on how much water you add. Mix with a Mini Whisk, an Immersion Mixer, and more to break up the paint into the added water.

  • For a solid opaque mix: Mix one equal part water to one equal part Milk Paint powder. Add water to container/jar first, then add powder and mix thoroughly for a few minutes. Let the mix sit for 10 minutes, to let the pigments fully disperse. For a super smooth finish, use an Immersion Mixer for best results.

  • For a thin transparent ‘stain’: Mix one equal part water to one equal part Milk Paint, same as above. After it’s fully mixed and absorbed, add more water while mixing, until the desired consistency and transparency is reached.

  • Mixed Milk Paint should have a table cream consistency for opaque coverage. Once satisfied with consistency, test out a small sample to see if desired consistency is reached. If the brush drags, the mixture is too thick and you need to add more water.  If sample drips and is too thin and transparent, add more powder.

  • Mixing Milk Paint can be like baking bread in that the amount of water required will vary based on the humidity of the day and location.  It can also vary depending on the amount of pigment in the color being mixed. Adjust as needed!

HOW MUCH WILL ONE QUART OF MISS MUSTARD SEED’S MILK PAINT COVER?

Every surface absorbs Milk Paint differently, so it depends on this and how much water has been added to the mix. The paint coverage will be different on bare wood and other porous surfaces (they’ll absorb more paint) vs. shiny or pre-finished pieces that require Bonding Agent. Typically one Quart package of a very light white (Ironstone, Farmhouse White, Linen) will cover approximately 50-70 sq ft, whereas a darker color will cover 70+ sq ft. For example, one Quart will cover a large armoire/hutch OR a dresser and two side tables (basically, one large project or a few small-medium projects).

MY PAINT LOOKS LUMPY AND UNEVEN – IS THE MILK PAINT BAD?

Start right with your mix! Having a good mix is the key to a great finish. The majority of the texture and application issues come from the method the Milk Paint was mixed. Make sure you are stirring your Milk Paint until most of the paint is dissolved. Here are some great tips:

  • The Mini Whisk and Immersion Mixer are great tools to use for smooth mixes. Let the paint sit for 10 minutes after mixing to allow limestone, clay, and pigments to fully dissolve and disperse.

  • Stir the paint every few minutes to prevent clay from settling on the bottom and pigments from separating. Dip your brush all the way to the bottom of the container. The paint at the top will be thinner and more translucent, especially if a frother was used to mix paint.

  • Some lumpiness is normal and will usually brush out once paint is applied. Small lumps can be smoothed out with a fine sand paper after it’s dry, and can lead to some unique finishes!

IS MILK PAINT GOOD FOR RAW WOOD?

It’s one of the best paints for raw wood. It acts like a stain, but looks like a paint. The color will penetrate the wood for a lasting finish that won’t chip or flake. This makes it an ideal paint for raw wood cabinets or floors. *Some oily woods, like Teak, may need to be sealed prior to painting, since oils can cause Milk Paint (and other kinds of paint) to chip.

WHEN SHOULD I USE BONDING AGENT?

Add Bonding Agent to your mix to use over pre-finished surfaces and slick surfaces (like glass and metal). Really, use it with any surface that is non-porous when you must have an even finish with no chipping. Milk paint will resist and chip if it cannot be absorbed, unlike over raw wood and other porous surfaces.

  • For troublesome, slick, or shiny surfaces, mix together 1 equal part Milk Paint + 1 equal part water + 1 equal part Bonding Agent. This will help with even coverage. Make sure that the Bonding Agent is in every coat of paint that is applied to the piece.

  • Remember that painting a pre-finished surface without sanding and/or using the Bonding Agent is unpredictable, but can create the coolest looks if you’re willing to experiment!

HOW DO I ACHIEVE A CHIPPY LOOK ?

  • For shiny/pre-finished surfaces: You can apply the paint without scuff-sanding the piece and without Bonding Agent, to see where the paint will not adhere and will naturally chip. The chipping with this method may be hard to control- so be advised that it may not chip at all, may chip some in desired areas, or chip too much (but this unexpected method can be very pleasing!) Or, you can control the chipping by applying a Hemp Oil or Beeswax Finish resist to specific areas immediately before painting. The key to achieving this technique is to work in small sections, to apply the resist medium irregularly (ie; drip the Hemp Oil instead of brushing it), and to paint over that resist immediately so that the resist doesn’t have time to dry or be absorbed by the surface underneath. Also blast these areas with a hair dryer or heat gun on high right after they are painted over, and watch the paint flake and chip. Repeat in subsequent sections where you also desire chipping.

  • For raw wood and other porous surfaces: Milk Paint will be absorbed and will not chip or flake naturally.  A controlled resist process (read above) is necessary, with Hemp Oil or Beeswax Finish.

  • Using the Wax Puck will create a ‘resist’ in the sense that Milk Paint can be more easily sanded and distressed from those areas (like edges and raised areas), revealing the surface tone from underneath. However, the Wax Puck will not cause chipping and flaking.

I WANTED MY PIECE TO CHIP, BUT IT DIDN’T.  HOW CAN I MAKE IT HAPPEN?

Try a controlled resist technique with the Hemp Oil or Beeswax Finish, as mentioned above. Since you’ve already applied some paint to the surface, when the next coats chip they will reveal that first paint color instead of the original surface of the piece underneath. You may need to mix it up and add another Milk Paint color over top for better contrast. Or, if you prefer the original surface of the piece to show through (ie; a wood tone), you may sand what you already painted to show that surface through, then apply your resist, then paint over.

THE PIECE I PAINTED CHIPPED A LOT AND I DON’T WANT IT TO CHIP ANY MORE.  HOW CAN I PREVENT IT FROM CONTINUING TO CHIP?

It is possible for the Milk Paint to flake away from the entire piece if the surface is too slick and doesn’t have “tooth”. To achieve some “grip”, sand lightly and add the Bonding Agent into your Milk Paint mix from the get-go. However if you’ve applied paint already and it’s starting to chip, you can wait for the paint to fully dry then sand down the chipped areas that you don’t want, so that there’s no more flaking. Sand so that those areas are flush with those around it. Then, apply more Milk Paint with Bonding Agent added into each new coat, until those previously chipped areas are completely disguised. For troublesome chipping, sand well once dry and apply a layer of Tough Coat to the whole piece to ‘prime’ it. Wait 24 hours for Tough Coat to dry, then apply more Milk Paint with Bonding Agent added into each new coat.

**For such cases, do not seal the painted surface with the Hemp Oil, as this can penetrate the surface and react, and cause chipping again.

HOW DO I CREATE A CRACKLE EFFECT?

Paint your piece and apply direct heat immediately after coating (such as a blow dryer or heat gun) to areas you want to crackle, without using a resist layer. It will also usually crackle if you paint outside on a hot day, if you paint next to a heater or vent, or under some heat lamps! This may also cause some chipping too.

WHAT IS THE FURNITURE WAX?

Furniture Wax is used as a durable, protective topcoat.  It’s creamy in texture and extremely low-odor. Apply in a thin coat to a piece of raw wood, unsealed stained wood, or painted furniture with a wax brush and wipe back the excess with an absorbent, lint-free cloth. It dries clear and does not yellow. Buff after about 5-10 minutes.  Apply multiple coats (2-3) for a higher sheen and more durability, waiting 24 hours in between coats.

IS WAX A DURABLE FINISH?

It’s reliably durable and liveable for most people’s lifestyles, for indoor applications. If a waxed surface is marked up, just lightly sand and add another coat of wax. If a waxed surface is ever spilled on or stained, mild soap and water can wipe it back- but for heavy-duty stains, light sanding and re-waxing may be necessary. Re-painting a piece completely is not required in these cases. However the paint and wax can easily be retouched if a surface receives some kind of trauma (severe scratches, dents). Use waxes on coffee tables, kitchen tables, cabinets, and more! However we do not suggest using the wax as a finish for outdoor pieces- there are other topcoats that better suit outdoor applications. For upkeep, never clean a waxed surface with alcohol or bleached-based cleaners, as they dissolve waxes completely, and your topcoat would then need to be reapplied.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANTIQUING WAX AND FURNITURE WAX?

Antiquing Wax is tinted with a dark pigment that will age and darken your painted surface. Furniture Wax will dry clear and give your colors the richness that they need after drying. For a controlled look with the Antiquing Wax, apply a good thin coat of the Furniture Wax to your piece, wiping back the excess. Then apply the Antiquing Wax only where you want it to show (crevices, carved details), also wiping the excess back. The Furniture Wax will create a buffer layer between the paint and Antiquing Wax, so it’s easier to wipe back and will prevent it from getting too saturated.

WHAT IS THE HEMP OIL?

The Miss Mustard Seed Hemp Oil is an all-natural and food-safe finish that can be a nice alternative to the wax. Hemp Oil is best when it’s applied to a porous surface (like raw wood, stained wood or Milk Painted raw wood), absorbing into the surface to create a durable finish. It can be a great product to revive dry, tired wood, metal, leather and more. Since it’s food-safe, you can use it to seal wood cutting boards, serving boards, bowls, and other similar items.

  • Lightly brush on with a soft, natural-bristle brush, or wipe on with a clean cloth, and then fully wipe away excess oil.

  • Multiple coats can be applied for increased durability, waiting 24 hours in between.

  • When using over light white Milk Paint colors, be advised that it might leave a slight yellow tint. Over dark blue or grey Milk Paint colors, it can deepen them further and make them look darker or richer.

WHEN SHOULD I USE HEMP OIL INSTEAD OF WAX?

Since it’s all-natural and pesticide-free, it’s a food safe finish that can be used best on raw cutting boards, butcher block counters, and kitchen tables. Hemp Oil is also great for projects that will be used outside. Once it cures (after approximately 30 days), it protects and wears beautifully in the elements. Wax will not hold up outdoors (especially in Texas!), and will break down in the heat. We do not recommend waxing pieces that will be in the heat, sun, or rain- use Hemp Oil for these projects instead. For an extra durable interior topcoat, apply a coat of Hemp Oil and let it dry for 24 hours, then apply Furniture Wax (and/or White Wax or Antiquing Wax) on top. Wax can go over oil, but never oil over wax!

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MMS ANTIQUING WAX AND OTHER TINTED WAXES ON THE MARKET?

MMS Antiquing Wax was developed specifically to be used to antique paint finishes. Tinted waxes are meant to be used as a wood stain/wax in one.  Because of that, the dark wax is very saturated with pigments and can look heavy and streaky on a finish if not mixed with clear wax or mineral spirits.  Antiquing Wax only has a small amount of pigment, so it works more like a glaze with the body of a wax.  This product is also extremely low-odor and can be applied with a wax brush.

WHAT IS THE WHITE WAX?

The MMS White Wax has a creamy white tint to it- again like a glaze but with the body of a wax. It’s specially formulated to help create ‘weathered’ looks- faded, limed, or washed. It looks lovely over both raw wood surfaces and painted surfaces alike. It looks and shows up best when applied directly over a surface, without doing a coat of Furniture Wax to buffer the surface first. Apply with a wax brush, wiping the excess back with an absorbent, lint-free cloth.

DO I HAVE TO PRIME BEFORE USING MILK PAINT?

No, you don't have to over raw and porous surfaces (unsealed wood, plaster, fabric, etc), Milk Paint will absorb with ease. For all other surfaces, you can mix the Bonding Agent with all coats of paint for even adhesion. If the ‘chippy’ look is desired, do not use the Bonding Agent and do not prep the piece (unless completing a controlled resist chipped technique, see above).

CAN I PAINT COLONIAL WOOD LIKE TEAK?

Woods like Teak are the hardest to paint. The natural oils in this wood will most likely bleed through, causing oil marks, cracks, and sometimes chipping.

  • If Teak wood looks dry or weathered, this indicates that the oils may have dried out over time, and you may not have issues when painting. Test paint in an inconspicuous area first if you can.

  • When Teak wood looks very saturated, there are lots natural oils remaining. These oils will migrate to the surface and show through. If the wood has been treated with protective oils (as Teak and similar wood often are), the additional oils will only exacerbate this problem. Prevent bleed-through and cracking by applying a thin coat of Clear Topcoat Sealer or clear shellac. Then make sure to add Bonding Agent to each coat of Milk Paint. Refrain from sealing with Hemp Oil or Tung Oil!

WHEN SHOULD I USE TOUGH COAT INSTEAD OF WAX OR HEMP OIL?

Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat can be a great candidate for high-traffic areas, like table tops and  kitchen cabinets. It has similar durability and water resistance of a Polycrylic, as a non-yellowing liquid brush-on topcoat. Really, use it anywhere that receives constant wear and tear daily- however keep in mind that while it resists much wear, it is not as easily repaired and touched up as the Waxes are. The Waxes and Hemp Oil have great protective qualities, but both will only endure so much constant water or aggressive household products (never clean waxed surfaces with alcohol-based cleaners). The more you clean or scrub a waxed or oiled surface, the faster they will dry out and need to be re-applied.