One of the greatest things about milk paint is that you can achieve such an incredible range of looks and finishes with it. It’s so incredibly versatile that it has become the go-to choice for designers and do-it-yourselfers in order to achieve a beautiful paint finish makeover to your wood piece.

A short visit on Pinterest can provide endless inspiration for milk paint furniture refinishing projects to work on. But a lot of people don’t know just where to begin when it comes to painting furniture using milk paint, so we’ve prepared a few easy tips to get you started. Read on and learn how to bring new life to old furniture with these tips to paint or refinish any of your wood projects – from an old hutch you found at the flea market to an old dresser hand-me-down you received from family.

About Milk Paint

Milk paint is made from all natural ingredients including milk protein, lime, clay, and pigment, so it’s completely environmentally friendly and safe to use. It’s a bit thinner than other kinds of paints, so it may take you a bit of time to get used to it.

Painting Technique for Untreated or Raw Wood

There’s no need to use a primer or do much prep work before using milk paint to paint furniture or home decor. It’s always best to paint following the wood’s grain. Since milk paint comes in a powder form, you”ll first want to follow the mixing instructions to create your milk paint color

Painting Two Colors for a Rustic Look

Choose 2 complementary yet contrasting paint colors. For this DIY project, you’ll paint the undercoat color and let it dry for 2 hours. Begin sanding it lightly and use a paint brush to apply another coat of the same color. Allow it to dry overnight.

Apply a coat of paint in the 2nd color and allow it to dry overnight. Allowing the colors to dry completely will prevent the colors from mixing or muddling.

The next day, dip a clean rag in a bucket of water and ring it out well. Wipe the rag across areas where you would like the undercoat color to show. Usually, it’s the areas that are most prone to get distressed like edges and near handles. The rag will slowly lift some color from the surface. If you would like the antiquing, rustic look to be more pronounced, you can use sandpaper.

Painting Over a Finished Surface

In most cases, you can apply milk paint directly over an already finished surface. To get a uniform and not distressed finish, a bonding agent can be applied before painting. On the other hand, if you prefer a distressed or chippy look, the paint can be applied directly to the surface (make sure it’s clean first). When using true milk paint, chipping or flaking can occur when applied to a finished surface, giving you a natural antiqued look.

Getting a More Distressed Look

When painting your piece of furniture, if you want to achieve an ever more rustic look, you can apply some Chippy Paste on where you want it to look like the paint has chipped off for an authentically antique look.

For a crackled look, apply two coats of Natural Crackle as a topcoat over your first coat of milk paint that you want to show through, allowing each coat to dry. Then, apply 2 coats of the top color of milk paint. The first coat should still be a bit wet when you apply the second coat.

When you’re done, you can protect the finish of your painted furniture with a coat of pure tung oil, a finishing cream, glaze or wax. Looking for more painting tips? Check out our blog for tons more DIY paint project tips and tricks.