A lot of people incorrectly believe milk paint is not suitable for use outdoors on exterior finishes and furniture. For some reason, they think that paint must contain harmful VOC-emitting chemicals in order to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions and will typically reach for spar varnishes or exterior polyurethane. Thankfully, that simply isn’t so.

While milk paint is perfectly fine for use outdoors as it is, you can accomplish a lasting, beautiful outdoor painted finish with just a few extra steps.

Use the Outdoor Additive in Your Milk Paint

Once you have cleaned and prepped the wood that you want to paint, you’re ready to mix your paint. When preparing your paint, add the Outdoor Additive to the mixture following the instructions on the container.

The additive is a borate compound, much like borax. This all-natural and non-toxic additive has several benefits for exterior wood:

  • Mold inhibitor: keeps mold and mildew from developing on the surface of the wood
  • Tannin stain blocker: prevents stains from showing through the paint on woods like cedar and knotty pine
  • Bactericide: inhibit the growth of bacteria in the paint 

The Best Finish to Protect Wood

After you’re done painting, your project is going to need an outdoor finish. While tung oil can be an excellent sealer to waterproof the wood, the best form of protective wood finish you can use is our new Outdoor Defense Oil. Made from Pure tung oil, pine oil, and zinc, it offers natural and non-toxic weather protection.

Zinc is well-known for its UV protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays. Meanwhile, the pine oil prevents the growth of mold and mildew and the tung oil adds its waterproof proof properties. Outdoor Defense Oil gives wood and outdoor furniture attractive warm glow. When applied over milk paint, it will darken the color of the milk paint. So, keep this in mind when picking colors for your project!

Wood should be coated with the oil finish until saturated. Apply to the wood coat after coat till the wood is full. Wipe off any excess that does not soak into the wood after 40 minutes. Allow between 24 hours between each multiple coat application. For light to moderate weather exposure, 2 to 4 coats should be sufficient and 6 coat for more severe weather conditions.

Note: avoid applying the oil under direct hot sunlight as this can cause it to polymerize quickly and leave a rubbery, filmy surface.

This method of painting wood for outdoor projects is ideal for outdoor wood furniture, decks, and siding. It’s also food contact safe, so it’s suitable for any outdoor food prep surface you may have. But it’s not just for wood surfaces. Milk paint with the Outdoor Additive and finished with Outdoor Defense Oil can be also used on stucco, concrete, brick, and stone.