Milk Paint

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A colorful, eco-friendly coating with historic durability

Milk paint’s durability, ease of application, and visual characteristics have made it a colorful go-to finish for ages. Made popular for its use in venerated furniture styles such as Colonial and Shaker, it has withstood the test of time. Contemporary makers have embraced its luscious surface quality, durability, and environmental friendliness on pieces ranging from turnings to band saw boxes and furniture. It works equally well as a solid, single color, as a thin transparent wash, or layered with other colors to accentuate textured surfaces. 

I have been using and teaching about milk paint for several years and find a lot of people still have questions about how to take advantage of this wonderful finish. This article lays out my approach to using milk paint from mixing (it comes as a powder) to applying, and finally to finishing. I encourage you to explore this vibrant coating on your next project; your only limitation is your imagination. 

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