Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Milk Paint Samples

I've talked before about how much I enjoy using milk paint; it's just fantastic. Very easy to use, non-toxic, lasts about forever in its powdered state, versatile (translucent wash/stain or completely opaque)and incredibly durable. What's more, it has the look of old fashioned paint because, well, it is old fashioned paint. What's not to love?

You can use the milk paint by itself for a dull (and sometimes slightly chalky) look that is quite nice, but I really like it with a coat of oil, or oil and wax over the paint. This evens out the color a bit, and produces a wonderful satin sheen. There is only one down side - it also changes the color; sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Not a big deal, unless you are going for a specific look, then it's nice to know what will happen ahead of time.

In the past my solution to this problem has been to mix up some paint, paint a few sample boards, then oil it when it's dry. Not ideal. First, it wastes some paint. Second, the milk paint and oil continue to "age" for quite a while - so the samples are not perfect.

My new solution was so obvious it's silly. I ordered two sets of "color sticks" from my milk paint provider of choice: The Real Milk Paint Co. Okay, really I ordered four sets, two each of their "traditional" and "historical" sets - but I just combine them. One set I left plain, and one set I oiled. And "BAM!", instant samples of both oiled and non-oiled milk paint! I know, it's so simple...can't believe it took me years to figure this one out...Sheesh!*

Here they are matched up by color. The oiled set is on the bottom. You can see how some colors shift ever so slightly while others change dramatically. To keep them handy, I string them together on some twine and they hang in a corner of my shop:

Note: I've added a "milk paint" label to this post as well as some relevant previous posts. You can click on it in the "Post Categories" list if you want to read and see more about my experiences with milk paint.

*I almost didn't post this, because now that I thought of it, it seems SO obvious. But then I thought, "What the heck, maybe this will actually help someone..."


  1. Great idea Dan! And thanks for the link to the Real Milk Paint Co. I hadn't heard of them before, only the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. Have you used the Old Fashioned paint as well? If so, how does the Real paint compare?

  2. You also might look into using hide glue and milk paint together. I've heard of it, but never tried it myself.

  3. Bob - Thanks! I've only used the Real Milk Paint Co. paints so far. I've been so happy with these that I haven't even tried others - which is a little out of character for me, usually I'm "Mr. Comparison". I started with them because I liked what I read on their site, and so far everything has been excellent.

    Erik - I've never heard of that! Do you know where I might find any information?

  4. A place to start:


  5. What exactly do you "oil" your milk paint with? Boiled linseed oil? Watco? or something else?

    Good tip on the sample sticks.

  6. Rob - It varies; I use Tried and True boiled linseed oil, tung oil, dark tung oil, mineral oil, and my own mineral oil and beeswax blend. It just depends what strikes my fancy at the time. They all create the same major change in the paint, but with slightly different results. For the sample sticks I think I just used mineral oil...

  7. Dan-

    I agree with your comments regarding The Real Milk Paint Company (www.realmilkpaint.com). Not only do they offer milk paint, but paint removers, pigment powders, and even natural crackle paint.. I would recommend this company to anyone.

  8. Colleen - Yes, they have a lot of cool stuff. I've also used their paint remover with great results. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Thank you for this! I've been looking everywhere for some idea what oiled milk paint would look like before I go invest in buying the paint and the oil and testing it. Now I know what I want to do, so simple. Thank you.

  10. Christibale - You're welcome! Glad it helped!

  11. Hi Dan,

    I love that you did all the work for me on this front. We have used the Old Fashioned Milk Paint on several projects with great results but I was looking for some testimony about the Real Milk Paint brand since they have such an abundance of colors. Your oiled and no-oiled sticks are wonderful!! However, I have no idea what colors they are. Any chance you can add the colors in a list form from left to right for us or label your sticks?

    Many Thanks!

    1. Kim - I'll see what I can do. Although I'd recommend you buy two sets of sticks and try it yourself, as I don't trust the accuracy of colors on the computer. Also, with your choice of oils, results may vary.

  12. Hi Dan...just wondering..have you ever tried painting a white or light color on first and then the color you want and then the oil? Just wondering if that would give you a different color? I am new to milk paints and just getting ready to order some.

  13. Thank you so much for this post! Searched so many other posts and videos to get this info on how different milk paint colors behave when finished with oil. Much obliged!!


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