What is Milk Paint?

If you're looking for that naturally rustic look, milk paint is your best bet.

milk paintRust-Oleum

As a DIY enthusiast, you know a thing or two about paint, but when you get to the hardware store’s paint section, you may stumble across a type you’ve never heard of before.

There are a lot of different types of paint to choose from, many with specific purposes. There are options like chalk paint, milk paint, mineral paint and latex paint. If you’re wondering what milk paint is, we have you covered.

While most paints for DIY projects contain pigments, binders, solvents and various additives, milk paint does not. This makes it a much more environmentally friendly choice, and better for your health, too, since it’s void of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are solvents that get released into the air as the paint dries, and they can cause symptoms like headaches and dizziness.

Milk paint is made of simple ingredients that include milk protein, clay and lime, which are all non-toxic, good for the planet, and don’t give off noxious fumes and odors.

Milk paint has been around for centuries, having been found in pyramids and cave paintings. In fact, if you come across an antique with the original paint on it, it’s likely milk paint. So what’s milk paint good for? The short answer is, virtually anything!

Unlike other paints, you don’t have to sand or prime the surface you’re working on prior to applying this type of paint. It can be applied to wood, glass, metal, masonry, plastic, drywall and plaster.

The paint comes in a powdered form because once it’s mixed it becomes perishable. The powdered form will last forever though, making it a great option for the occasional painter. To use it, simply mix the powder with water to form the paint. It will last about a week, so be sure you don’t mix up way more than what you need.

Milk paint is a DIYers friend because it’s extremely easy to apply, is forgiving and dries in 30 minutes tops. You can expect a soft, matte finish if applied with a binder, or you can apply it as is for that rustic look.

Photo: Courtesy of Rust-Oleum

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Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com