In today’s DIY world more and more people are finding out how easy it is to refinish an old piece of furniture or other wooden products. Not only have DIY projects become easy, milk paint finishes and sealants help you create a masterpiece.

Many years ago there was no confusion about wood finishing products because there were few products on the market. Boiled linseed was very popular back in the 70’s and 80’s but people still added oils to it in order to make it a more durable linseed oil. Today’s DIY world of finishes can be overwhelming but when it comes to quality and eco-friendly wood finishes, natural milk paint finishes are clearly the answer. Low or zero-VOC finishes can help if you have chemical sensitivities or if you just want to be sure your family is safe around the paint finish used. 

It’s important to keep in mind, that most clear finishes with a low VOC content use primarily water as a solvent, and acrylic or polyurethane as binders (the same as lacquer and varnish). The most common non-toxic, eco-friendly finishes include waxes, oils, and shellac, but let’s take a look at some milk paint finishes you can choose for your upcoming painting projects.

1 – Tung Oil Finishes

tung oil

From the tung tree comes pure tung oil (also known as China wood oil)Milk paint finish projects need to be finished with environmentally safe or low-voc (volatile organic compounds) oils – this means no petroleum distillates or other additives. Tung oil is a great option for projects in which you do not want a glossy finish topcoat. This oil resists abrasions and acids, it does not blister or peel, it resists mold, and it has a long shelf life. Tung oil is incredible because elasticity is an important factor, as the oil must continue to flex with the expansion and contraction of the substrate on which it is applied.

2 – Dark Raw Tung Oil


This product is virtually the same as the pure tung oil with one exception – there is a non-toxic, naturally occurring resinous hydrocarbon added for color. This resin does not contain any PCB’s and it is non-carcinogenic. Dark raw tung oil is a water resistant oil that prevents against marring and penetrates into wood surfaces. It cures by oxidation not evaporation giving you better results with your natural milk paint projects. This natural oil forms a flexible waterproof sealer and it resists abrasions making it great for wood floors. Like pure tung oil, this oil does not form a glossy coat.

3 – Half Pure Tung Oil and Half Citrus Solvent

Half & Half-All

When you are working on projects like table tops, cutting boards, countertops and other wooden kitchen items you need a no-voc, food safe oil and the “Half & Half” is the obvious choice. Half pure tung oil and half citrus solvent are also good for other surfaces such as porous stone, concrete floors, and more. After application, the scent of oranges may be with you up to two weeks – and it is safe.

4 – Citrus Natural Solvent – Natural Mineral Spirits

citrus solvent

Natural citrus solvent is a replacement for mineral spirits. This environmentally safe product is used wherever paint thinner or mineral spirits are required. It is an excellent degreaser, paint thinner alternative, and can be used to replace petroleum chemicals such as mineral spirits. This incredible product is 2% water and 98% pure citrus peel oil extracted from orange peels.

5 – Hemp Oil

hemp oil

Hemp oil is a favorite among the DIY crowd and those with milk paint finish jobs love the nutty aroma that this oil leaves. Hemp oil dries to a matte, wood stain finish, it can be used on bare floors, chalk paint, and it gives life to old wood finishes. Hemp oil has a thin viscosity and penetrates well on porous surfaces.

Natural milk paint finishes makes sense. In today’s world we need to avoid toxins at all costs and not only are natural, high quality milk paint finishes environmentally safe; your DIY project will become a fabulous work of art.