Milk paint is a nontoxic water-based paint. It is made from milk and lime, generally with pigments added for color. Borax may be added to the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative.
Milk paint has been used for thousands of years. It is extremely durable, often lasting for hundreds of years if protected from the elements. It is made of all-natural ingredients, and is very safe and non-toxic once applied. Because oil base and acrylic paints are made in vast quantities using cheap petrochemicals, their price can seem low relative to the price of milk paint, which is sold in small quantities. Another impediment to using milk paint for some, is that it does not come pre-mixed.
Milk paint keeps as a powder for six months or more, if sealed very tightly against moisture. Once it has "gone off", however, it will dry as a loose powder, and loses its functionality as paint. Once milk paint has been mixed, it must be used within a day, or a little longer if refrigerated.
Many petrochemical paint manufacturers sell a pre-mixed "milk paint", which is merely acrylic paint in heritage colours, with a matte sheen to make it look like real milk paint. Real milk paint, however, is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, extremely durable, and can be applied in a number of custom applications creating special effects impossible to recreate with acrylic paint.
Milk paint can be used to create authentic reproductions and replicas of antique furniture, or modern pieces that do not rely on any connection with the past.
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- Terri McGraw Additional Tips: Milk Paint Prime Painting Tips Tuesday, September 29, 2009 Central Florida News 13