Frequently Asked Questions

-Old Fashioned Milk Paint is our original formula that has been in production since 1974.  There are 32 colors in that line.

-Sweet Pickins Milk Paint is our boutique line.  It is the same exact formula as the original Old Fashioned Milk Paint line but it has 22 exclusive colors.

-Farmhouse Finishes Safe Paint is the 1st and only milk paint on the market that was originally formulated for walls.  It is a bit easier to mix and doesn’t quite have the original old world, mottled appearance as the original paint.  Can be used on everything the original formula can be used on + walls.  Generally doesn’t require the Extra Bond.   Comes in the same 32 colors as the original Old Fashioned Milk Paint line.

-Eco-Orchard is our paint that is used by nurseries to protect young tree trunks from sun scald.

Our boutique line, Sweet Pickins Milk Paint currently has 54 colors!

Our original line, Old Fashioned Milk Paint and Farmhouse Finishes both have 32 colors!

Orders are almost always shipped within 1 business day.  Orders that are placed during a sale can take longer to ship due to volume.

You will receive a confirmation that your order has been processed as well as a tracking # email, if you do not get this email, please check your spam folder.

We will accept returns of any unused, unopened product that was purchased in the last 30 days.  Product must be received back in good, sell-able condition for a full refund.

Customer is responsible for all shipping costs.  Pre-paid shipping costs that were paid at the time the order was placed, will not be refunded.

Please email [email protected] to initiate a return.

2 oz. sample – covers approx 12 sq ft.

6 oz. pint – covers approx 36 sq ft.

12 oz. quart – covers approx 72 sq ft.

48 oz. gallon – covers approx 288 sq ft.

You do need to keep in mind that coverage varies a lot depending on the piece your painting (how light or dark it is compared to the color your painting it), how many coats you do, how thick or thin you mix your paint, type of brush used and your painting technique.  Whites tend to take 2-4 coats, whereas colors normally take 2 coats, sometimes even just 1.

True Milk paint comes in a powder form and just mixes with water.  See tips for mixing here.

OFMP in Snow White or Sweet Pickins in Flour Sack – this is our cleanest, brightest white.  It has no pink, yellow or gray undertones.

OFMP in Oyster or Sweet Pickins in Window Pane – this is our white with a gray undertone.

OFMP in Light Cream or Sweet Pickins in Creamy – this is our “antique” white.  Its a soft white with a touch of a yellow undertone.  No peachy, pink or gray undertones.

Yes!  You can use our milk paint on your cabinets just as you would use it on furniture.  Milk paint is extremely durable and is a perfect choice for high traffic areas.  It is advised to clean your cabinets well with a degreaser such as TSP (be sure to completely rinse the TSP so you don’t have adhesion issues).  If your cabinets are shiny, very smooth or have been painted before, then you might want to give them a light sand to knock down the shine a bit and create a little “tooth” for the paint to stick to.  Remember – if you have chipping/peeling paint or clear coat prior to painting, then that must be removed or the milk paint wont adhere and it will just continue to peel.  Your paint job will be all for nothing if you don’t fix any problem areas 1st.  If you aren’t going for a “chippy” look on your cabinets or if they have been painted before, then add the Extra Bond to the 1st coat of milk paint just as you would do on furniture.  After cabinets are properly prepped, paint as normal and then seal with a good quality polyurethane (water or oil based) or a clear lacquer – be sure to find a product that protects against food oils.  If your looking for a glazed look on your cabinets, its advised to use an oil based glaze with milk paint.  Glaze 1st, then seal with top coat of your choice.

Milk Paint is an ancient paint developed 1000’s of years ago – in fact they have even found ancient cave paintings that are in milk paint!  Chalk type paints are newer on the market.  Only true milk paint comes in a powder form – if its pre mixed and it says its milk paint, its not (it would be an acrylic based paint) – chalk type paints come premixed.  Milk paint is made with all natural ingredients consisting of limestone and casein, which is the milk paint protein – most chalk type paints are not all natural.   Milk paint is well known to be very durable and when painted over a porous surface its virtually impossible to remove.  Milk paint is known for its depth and dimension and somewhat “mottled” appearance – this is unlike any other paints which are flat and one dimensional (chalk type paints, latex, oil, lacquer) – milk paint has a ton of character even when its not distressed.

Because milk paint comes in a powder form (that you mix with water), it can be made as thick or as thin as you like it.  You can use it thin for a stain or thicker to create texture and age.  Chalk type paints generally are thicker and are already mixed.  Milk paint is well known for its ability to naturally chip/flake off and crackle when painting over some existing finishes – chalk type paints don’t do this and have to be distressed or forced to crackle.  Both paints can be distressed, glazed, waxed, etc.

Generally, the prep work for milk and chalk type paints are about the same.  Both paints have their place and one is not better than the other – its all about personal preference and about the overall look your trying to achieve.  Milk paint traditionally will give a more authentic aged look (or you can add the Extra Bond to get a cleaner painted look).

Base is simply our Milk Paint Formula with no pigment added. Some of our customers like to add their own ‘universal tinting colors’ or other water soluble pigments to obtain colors other than the ones we carry. If possible, use ‘lime proof’ pigments as the lime in the paint tends to bleach out color.

Yes! To experiment you should use small amounts of the powders – teaspoons, tablespoons, even fractions of teaspoons. Mix the powders together in a small cup, add a little water and stir well. Paint a sample on a piece of scrapwood or cardboard. Keep in mind the color will look lighter when dry. Write down the ratio of your mixture, this way you will be able to easily duplicate a color combination you like in a larger batch.

To see some examples of how you can mix our colors together to create other colors click here to see the “Paint Chips” photo album on our Facebook page.

You may have gone over the same spot more than once with your top coat of Milk Paint. Also, make sure the paint is mixed correctly, and it is always a good idea to experiment on some scrap wood first. For more detailed information refer to the “Applications” section on the Antique Crackle Product Bulletin.

For detailed instructions on how to apply Milk Paint to walls or plaster see ‘PAINTING PROCEDURES’ in the Milk Paint Product Bulletin. You can paint directly over new plaster, but, as it is so porous, you may end up using far more Milk Paint than necessary if you are going for an opaque coverage. If you are going for a thin washed look, then go right ahead!

Or, try our Farmhouse Finishes SafePaint formula for walls! It was formulated for previously painted walls, new wallboard with joint compound, and plaster. It adheres to almost every clean, sound surface- even metal!

Yes, our milk paint can be used outdoors.  In fact, milk paint has limestone in it, so the more its exposed to water, the harder it becomes, almost like cement.

But, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Milk paint will do best outdoors when its painted over a porous surface such as bare wood, brick, cement.  If you use milk paint outside over a non porous surface and its exposed to moisture, it most likely will eventually chip and flake off.

We have found that our Farmhouse Finishes Safe Paint doesn’t water spot as much as the original milk paint formula.  But, the Farmhouse Finishes Safe Paint when it’s wet, can rub off if you purposely try too.  But as soon as its dry, it will dry like normal and wont rub off.

Generally the lighter colors wont show water spotting, but darker colors may depending on how hard the water is.

You can seal the milk paint with our Tung Oil to create a more water resistant finish or you can seal with any outdoor finish such as Thompson’s Water Seal.

Mix the Milk Paint according to the enclosed directions, then add more water and test on a piece of scrap wood. Allow to dry and adjust the mixture with more or less water until you achieve the finish you want.

You will need to do some sort of a resist over the chalk paint/porous wood.  The chalk paint/wood is so porous, most likely the milk paint would just absorb into the surface and either not chip at all or pull up all layers and chip down to the original surface.
For the resist, we would suggest using something like beeswax or vaseline.  Just paint your chalk paint layer, then lightly dab the vaseline/beeswax with either a chip brush or a wadded up rag and sort of “pounce” it around on the surface for an irregular pattern.  Then paint your milk paint layer on and paint right over the areas of the resist.  Once you do your final sanding, those areas will just lift right off and give you the chippy look.

Yes – our milk paint can be sprayed!  Every paint gun is different, so it will take some trial and error to get the right consistency for your specific gun.  We have found that more complex spray guns with a lot of metal parts don’t spray as well as the most basic spray gun.  We use this one with consistently good results, surprisingly it works quite well – spray gun for milk paint.

  1.  Mix your milk paint according to package directions and let sit for about 10 minutes.  It is best if you mix the paint with an immersion blender for a super smooth finish.
  2. Add about 10% extra water and mix.  Some guns may require the paint to be mixed up a bit thinner to spray with good results.
  3. Strain your paint through a fine mesh strainer.  (We have found that this step is not necessary when mixed with the immersion blender and using the Dynastus Gun)
  4. Add paint to your gun, spray on a test patch and add more water as necessary.

We recommend using Extra Bond on anything other than bare wood. Milk Paint needs a porous surface to adhere to, and the use of Extra Bond will greatly help adhesion on non-porous surfaces. New sheetrock walls and plaster are actually too porous and should be primed with a flat latex primer, followed by a first coat of Milk Paint with Extra Bond added. For detailed instructions be sure to read our Extra Bond and Milk Paint product bulletins.

Please note: Our new SafePaint wall formula does not require the use of Extra-Bond.

Milk Paint will water-spot white spots if it has not been sealed and something gets spilled on it. It will also spot if it is wiped with water or washed. Decorative pieces, walls etc., do not need to be sealed, but any painted surface subject to spills should be (or if you want to be able to wash the surface). A bench, chair or similar piece of furniture can be waxed or oiled, which provides a nice finish and helps prevent water spotting. We also carry a clear acrylic, Top Coat Final Finish, which is suitable for most furniture and woodwork applications, but a tabletop, kitchen cabinetry, etc. should have a much tougher finish such as polyurethane or lacquer for best protection.

We do not know of anything that is incompatible with going over our paint. For best results, test an area with the topcoat you plan to use to make sure that you like the end result.

For more detailed information refer to the “Applications” section of our Milk Paint Product Bulletin.

Please note: Farmhouse Finishes SafePaint for walls does not water spot and is washable/wipeable (not scrubbable) when cured. However, it is still a flat paint, so sealing the surface in problem areas where stains might occur may be a consideration.

If it is a functional piece, or if you will later want to be able to wash the surface, yes. You will need to use a non-waterbased sealer over what you have crackled. This is very important, as a water-based sealer, such as the Top Coat Final Finish we carry, will reactivate the crackle and not seal the surface properly. Be sure to use an oil or solvent-based clear finish, or wax.

Real, natural, Milk Paint is always made in powder form. Other companies may offer ‘Milk Paint Colors’ but they are usually oil or acrylic based paints.

We sell 2 oz samples for all our colors.  They are $7 each and will cover approx. 12 sq ft.

When applying any paint, whether milk paint or any other kind of paint, planning and prior preparation are always key to successful use. So, plan ahead; mix up only the amount you will use that day. Due to the organic nature of true milk paint, it always works best when mixed up fresh.

If you do have leftover paint, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days or more. Be sure it is not too thick when you go to store it, then add a little water on top without stirring before you put it in the fridge. When you need to use it again, stir well and add a bit more water if necessary.

Our paint contains no preservatives, which is why gelling might occur. Some other paints on the market claim to be real milk paint, but they contain synthetic extenders that will allow a mixed batch to last longer without gelling. But, even with those paints containing synthetic extenders, you will find you get your best results when applying freshly-mixed paint.

Most modern strippers won’t touch Milk Paint. There is a Behlen Masters product, however – P.D.E. paint remover that will remove it. It comes in one pound cans of powder that you mix with water to form a paste. It is the only method of removing milk paint that we know of other than a lot of elbow grease and sanding. You can order Behlen’s P.D.E. through a distributor who carries Behlen products.

This will happen with any water-borne acrylic, including the Top Coat Final Finish, under one of the following conditions: it is either too humid where you are applying the finish, or, it has been applied too thickly. What happens is that the top layer of the finish dries quickly, trapping moisture underneath, resulting in a whitish, cloudy, or milky appearance. Sometimes this will clear over time, even a matter of several days, but if it doesn’t your only option is to sand through the finish and reapply- under dryer conditions and in a thinner coat. Two thin coats are more desirable than one thick coat.

Many of our customers (such as Pennsylvania Folk, in our Gallery) have far more experience than we do ourselves in various finishing and distressing techniques. Many such practices can be done with Milk Paint (rolling, sponging, ragging, graining, etc.) and there are many books available on decorative painting such as this. Our best advice is to mix up a little paint, get a piece of scrap, and experiment!

If you wish to paint multiple layers of different colors and sand through the edges to expose the underneath color, one tip is to wipe off an edge or corner with a rag while the top layer is still wet. This will save a little effort in sanding once dry, although you’ll probably still want to go at it with a little touch-up sanding as well.

Our genuine Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic, and considered safe for children’s furniture and toys.

How it all started:

  1. For over 49 years, The Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Company has been faithfully producing a genuine Milk Paint as close as possible to the old primitive, home-made paint made on the back porch with skim milk or buttermilk, crushed limestone and pigments found around clay pits, or chimney soot and mineral colors crushed and powdered. This original paint goes back about 6000 and more years as evidence by early cave paintings.
  2. This original paint varied quite a bit in color, texture and permanence as no recipe was widely disseminated world wide. Slight variations in the results were quite usual, as evidenced by artifacts found with (a) a fairly heavy film thickness in spite of great age, or, (b) just a thin stain of earth pigment color that penetrated the wood pottery.
  3. During our early experiments, we easily reproduced the latter (b) results although we were working to get a good film with strong adhesion as mentioned in (a) above. These experiments resulted in our being able to produce a genuine milk paint as made long ago, with one variation. We found that when using regular liquid milk, the paint would start to gel in a matter of hours. Keeping it in the refrigerator would increase the life of the liquid paint, but not for more than a few days.
  4. This was all right for our own use but we were already receiving requests from some of our customers who had purchased a four-poster bed or a Windsor chair that we had made and painted, and wanted some of our unusual paint. Our main business was the making of museum replicas of the 17th & 18th century furniture, and some of the original country pieces had been milk-painted.
  5. Naturally, for authenticity, we had to stick with the original ingredients. We were able to make one concession in order to ship our paint anywhere. We used all dry ingredients, still faithful to the history and “that’s the end of the story”.
  6. Genuine milk paint is technically a calcium-caseinate. That means simply that it is made from milk protein, (also known as casein) and lime, (also known as calcium), plus the earth or mineral pigments. There are casein paints of many varieties as well as casein glues and adhesive coatings. About a hundred years ago in Germany a casein paint was made using formaldehyde instead of lime. Another formula used borax instead of lime. Still another used additives like synthetic plastics such as acrylics, vinyls or acetates, and the list goes on and on. Many of these formulations are good paints, as are oil and latex. But they are NOT milk paints.

Since 1974 Often Copied – Never Equaled

Interesting Facts About Milk Paint:

  • Old Fashioned Milk Paint and Farmhouse Finishes Safe Paint for Walls are safe for people and the environment.
  • Milk paint is one of the most ancient forms of paint known. Milk protein (also known as casein) and
    crushed limestone mix to form a very strong binder. Clay is added for body and earth pigments are added
    for color. The paints are made in powder form to avoid adding chemical preservatives. Water is simply
    added to the powder before use.
  • The ingredients in milk paints are 100% biodegradable.
  • Old Fashioned Milk Paint was first produced in 1974 as a natural, authentic finish for reproduction furniture
    and the restoration trade. It was formulated to adhere to porous surfaces such as bare wood and raw
  • Farmhouse Finishes Safe Paint was recently introduced to meet the growing demand for safe, interior wall paint. Safe Paint is a
    breakthrough that uses an old technology to meet modern needs. It can be used on many nonporous
    surfaces including previously painted walls and new drywall with joint compound, which was unheard of in
    early milk paint formulations. Safe Paint is a milk paint based on the original formula, but refined through
    modern innovation to give it properties that the original formula did not have- while still retaining its
    natural, safe qualities.
  • Both formulas contain zero VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and zero HAP’s (Hazardous Air
    Pollutants). They are free of harmful chemicals, plastics and synthetic preservatives.
  • Both have a soft, matte appearance and deep, rich colors. The twenty standard colors + 12 new colors are easily mixed to
    produce many other colors. The original formula has a somewhat uneven, mottled, “old world” look while
    the new Safe Paint maintains a more uniform appearance.
  • Many people who suffer from allergies or multiple chemical sensitivity are able to tolerate milk paints where
    they are not able to use most conventional paints, even many that have low or zero VOC’s.
  • Milk paints have just a faint milky or earthy odor when wet, and no odor when dry. One may paint a room
    in the afternoon and sleep in it that night without fear of breathing harmful fumes.
  • Old Fashioned Milk Paint and Safe Paint are safe for use by pregnant women, for children’s furniture and
    toys, and for hospital, school and nursery walls.

Professional Use:

Artists, decorators, house painters, architects and cabinetmakers all use and/or recommend our milk paint for these reasons:

  • Quality Product
  • Fairly Priced
  • Historical Accuracy
  • Beautiful Colors
  • Timeless Durability
  • Does Not Fade
  • Non-Polluting
  • Virtually Odorless
  • 100% Biodegradable
  • Zero VOC’s
  • Does Not Support Combustion
  • Safety During and After Application
  • LEED Credits*
  • Widely Available

*Use of our milk paints can help you obtain credits toward LEED certification (LEED – NC IEQ Credit 4.2- low emitting materials- paints & coatings).

More Reasons Professionals Prefer Our Milk Paint:

  1. Trade discounts to professionals, resellers, and others buying in large bulk for use or repackaging.
  2. We can apply your custom labels or supply packaged product without any labels.
  3. Our milk paint is packaged in samples, pint, quart, gallon or bulk for convenient use.
  4. Our milk paint is ready to solve any size project for decorators, faux finishers, and painting contractors.