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Question and Answers are courtesy of The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co., Inc.
Photos courtesy D Andrew Kates, Cabinetmaker

What is Milk Paint Base?   Base is simply our Milk Paint Formula with no pigment added. Some of our customers like to add their own universal tinting colors' or other water soluble pigments to obtain colors other than the ones we carry. If possible, use 'lime proof' pigments as the lime in the paint tends to bleach out color.  

Can I mix your Milk Paint colors to obtain other colors?   Yes! To experiment you should use small amounts of the powders - teaspoons, tablespoons, even fractions of teaspoons. Mix the powders together in a small cup, add a little water and stir well. Paint a sample on a piece of scrapwood or cardboard. Keep in mind the color will look lighter when dry. Write down the ratio of your mixture, this way you will be able to easily duplicate a color combination you like in a larger batch.   Wine Cupboard This piece was designed after a typical Shaker cupboard. The upper portion (usually one or two doors) was removed and replaced with pigeon holes that can be used to store wine. The single plank door has dovetailed battens to provide stability. It is finished with distressed milk paint and top-coated with oil and wax. 74"h x 12"d x 36"w    

Why doesn't my crackle finish crack? You may have gone over the same spot more than once with your top coat of Milk Paint. Also, make sure the paint is mixed correctly, and it is always a good idea to experiment on some scrap wood first. For more detailed information refer to the 'Applications' section on the Antique Crackle Product Bulletin.    


How do I paint walls or plaster with Milk Paint?   For detailed instructions on how to apply Milk Paint to walls or plaster see 'PAINTING PROCEDURES' in the Milk Paint Product Bulletin. You can paint directly over new plaster, but, as it is so porous, you may end up using far more Milk Paint than necessary if you are going for an opaque coverage. If you are going for a thin washed look, then go right ahead!


Tombstone Cupboard

A distressed milk-painted cupboard named after the

distinctive "tombstone" cut-out in the upper portion of

the face frame. The original dates back to the early

1800's and is now in a private collection in Virginia. It

features an adjustable shelf in the display area and one

fixed shelf behind the single plank door. 74"h x 14"d

x 30"w.


When should I use your Milk Paint Primer?   Our Milk Paint Primer simply has more binder in it, and is designed to be used on new close-grained hardwoods that aren't as porous as, say, pine. When painting a previously finished surface, however, it's best to use the Extra-Bond in your first coat of milk paint. The Primer is a little grainier and may require a bit more mixing than our standard milk paint formula.  

How do I make a wash?   Mix the Milk Paint according to the enclosed directions, then add more water and test on a piece of scrap wood. Allow to dry and adjust the mixture with more or less water until you achieve the finish you want.    

Is the Extra Bond really necessary for painting over previously finished surfaces?   We recommend using Extra Bond on anything other than bare wood. Milk Paint needs a porous surface to adhere to, and the use of Extra Bond will greatly help adhesion on non-porous surfaces. New sheetrock walls and plaster are actually too porous and should be primed with a flat latex primer, followed by a first coat of Milk Paint with Extra Bond added. For detailed instructions be sure to read our Extra Bond and Milk Paint product bulletins  

Do I really need to seal a surface that has been painted with Milk Paint?   Yes! Milk Paint will water-spot white spots if it has not been sealed and something gets spilled on it. It will also spot if it is wiped with water or washed. Decorative pieces, walls etc., do not need to be sealed, but functional pieces should be. A bench, chair or similar piece of furniture can be waxed or oiled, which provides a nice finish an helps prevent water spotting. We carry a clear acrylic finish, Clear Coat, which has a satin finish and is suitable for most furniture and woodwork applications, but a tabletop, kitchen cabinetry, etc. should have a much stronger finish such as polyurethane. For more detailed information refer to the 'Applications' section of our Milk Paint Product Bulletin    

Do I need to seal a surface that I've crackled?   If it is a functional piece, or if you will later want to be able to wash the surface, yes. You will need to use a non-waterbased sealer over what you have crackled. This is very important, as a water-based sealer, such as our Clear Coat, will reactivate the crackle and not seal the surface properly. Be sure to use an oil or solvent-based clear finish.    

Shaker Tall Clock

Designed after the tall clocks often seen in the Shaker

communities. This clock is shown in antique curly

maple but is available in a variety of woods, including a

distressed painted milk paint finish as pictured in the

right photo. It features solid brass antiqued hardware,

hand turned knobs, and reproduction painted face. It is

available with a quartz or mechanical movement.


I've seen Milk Paint in a can before. How is that different from your paint?   Real, natural, Milk Paint is always made in powder form. Other companies may offer 'Milk Paint Colors' but they are usually oil or acrylic based paints.  

Can I buy your Milk Paint in sample sizes less than one pint?   Yes! Gallagher's Milk Paint in Townsend, Mass. packages our paints into small one-ounce packages. You may call them at (978) 597-5226.  

Can your Milk Paint be saved or stored once it has been mixed?   We recommend mixing up only as much paint as you will need at any given time. However, if you find you've mixed up more paint than you need you can try keeping the leftover paint in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. It will usually keep for a short time, especially if it is not mixed up too thick, but, due to the organic nature of the paint, it may not. You'll know if it is not usable because it will gel up.  

How can I remove Milk Paint?   Most modern strippers won't touch Milk Paint. There is a Behlen Masters product, however - P.D.E. paint remover that will remove it. It comes in one pound cans of powder that you mix with water to form a paste. It is the only method of removing milk paint that we know of other than alot of elbow grease and sanding. You can order Behlen's P.D.E. through us or you may be able to find it locally through a distributor who carries Behlen products.   Note: Removing old Milk Paint from an authentic antique may decrease it's value!     We market our Milk Paint and other products primarily through a network of Dealers. Since prices may vary slightly from dealer to dealer we do not list retail prices on our website. If there is not a dealer in your area we can ship direct. Call us at (978) 448-6336 or e-mail us for current prices and shipping and handling costs.  

Help! I applied the Clear Coat and it has turned a milky white!   This will happen with any water-bourne acrylic, including our Clear Coat, under one of the following conditions: it is either too humid where you are applying the finish, or, it has been applied too thickly. What happens is that the top layer of the finish dries quickly, trapping moisture underneath, resulting in a whitish, cloudy, or milky appearance. Sometimes this will clear over time, even a matter of several days, but if it doesn't your only option is to sand through the finish and reapply- under dryer conditions and in a thinner coat. Two thin coats are more desirable than one thick coat.  

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