Hello there my friends! Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a good deal of painting almost exclusively with milk paint. I love it. The combinations of how it can be applied and finished is almost endless. So today I thought I’d share the basics on how to mix milk paint. I’ve had a lot of questions around that. It can be a bit intimidating considering it comes in a powder form.
Let’s tackle mixing milk paint, shall we?
You’ll need the powder, a plastic mixing container and a measuring cup. Bonding agent is optional. We’ll get to that.
We make a lot of smoothies around here so I save the quart size yogurt containers for milk paint. Save the lid too in case you have any paint left that you want to store. It will last for a few days.
I have a 1/4 cup measuring cup that I use exclusively for mixing milk paint. For this tutorial, I added a total of a 1/2 cup of milk paint (2 scoops).
After the paint was measured, I added an equal amount (1/2 cup) of WARM water. The temperature of the water really does make a difference. I’ve learned the hard way. It seems cold water lightens the paint pigments. Trust me and use warm water if you want the paint to mix up true to color. I’m mixing ‘typewriter’ here.
I start with a 1 part paint to 1 part water ratio and mix thoroughly removing most of the lumps. The instructions recommend 1 1/2 part water to 1 part powder. I only add the additional half part water if the mix calls for it, as in the paint is too thick. Use your discretion.
You may want to stop there and start painting. If that is the case, you’re leaving the finish of the paint up in the air. For example, if you desire a potentially chippy look you just might get it with the water/powder paint mix.
On the other hand, if you prefer a cohesive finish, no chipping, you’ll want to add the bonding agent at this point. Measure equal parts bonding agent (1/2 cup here) and add to your paint mix.
Stir the bonding agent into the paint mix.
You’ll notice the consistency of the paint will go from watery to a fuller body closer to what you might recognize from latex or chalk paint. It reminds me of the same consistency of brownie batter actually.
Congratulations, you now have primer in your milk paint. Go ahead and apply to your piece without fear of chipping paint. No other prep work is needed. Another important note is that you’ll want to apply 2 coats of paint for an opaque finish however your second coat does not need the bonding agent or primer added to it. You’ve basically already primed the piece with the first coat.
Stay tuned for the final result of this project in the coming weeks! And certainly let me know if you have any milk paint questions in the comment section (or any other related topics you’d like a tutorial on). As always, all of these products are available in my milk paint shop.
3 thoughts on “how to mix milk paint”
Good tips! Amen on the warm water. I haven’t tried the bonding agent yet, but I will. 🙂
Just painted my first dresser with milk paint. I followed your “tutorial” and it worked perfectly. GLAD to have the warm water tip! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and post this. It’s a bit scary to try this stuff at first, esp. when I’m use to using chalk paint and know how it will react.
QUESTION: How do you finish your milk painted pieces? I tried dark wax on a practice board and it practically covered up the blue milk paint. Of course,I can try clear wax but wonder what others are doing and what options are out there (beside the linseed oil option that has to be bought.) Thanks!!
Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
Great question. I’d like ideas on wax finishes other than clear. (ie: can I mix a bit something into my clear wax to tint it?)