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.

A short visit on Pinterest can provide endless inspiration for 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.

About Milk Paint

Milk paint is made from 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 Untreated Wood

There’s no need to use a primer before using milk paint. It’s always best to paint following the wood’s grain.

Painting Two Colors for a Rustic Look

Choose 2 complementary yet contrasting colors. Paint the undercoat color and let it dry for 2 hours. Sand it lightly and apply another coat of the same color. Allow it to dry overnight.

Apply a coat of 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. For a more pronounced look, 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 chipped look, the paint can be applied directly to the surface (make sure it’s clean first). Milk paint can chip or flake 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 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 painting your wood furniture, you can protect the finish with a coat of pure tung oil, a finishing cream, glaze or wax.