What is milk paint?

Before commercially prepared paint was available, paint was made at home based on formulas handed down from generation to generation. Milk paint was made from old curdled milk or cottage cheese, lime and earth pigment for color.

1870 Milk Paint Formula

* 1 Quart skim milk (room temperature)
* 1 Once of hydrated lime by weight (Available at building centers. Do not use quick lime, as it will react with the water and heat up. Hydrated lime has been soaked in water then dried.)
* 1 to 2 1/2 pounds of chalk may also be added as a filler.

Stir in enough skim milk to hydrated lime to make a cream. Add balance of skim milk. Now add sufficient amount of powder pigment to desired color and consistency (Pigment powder must be limeproof). Stir in well for a few minutes before using. For best results continue to stir throughout use.

Apply milk paint with a cheap natural bristle brush. Allow project to dry sufficiently before applying next coat.

Extra paint may be kept for several days in the refrigerator, until the milk sours.

Double or triple the recipe for paint. Allow to dry thoroughly 3-4 hours before use. For extra protection, give paint a coat of oil finish or sealer. Color may change – test in inconspicuous area.

The Author:

Dwayne Siever is an antique craftsman and developer of Real Milk Paint. For milk paint supplies, please visit his website at: realmilkpaint.com

Reprinted with permission.

Photo. © Luckypic

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