Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Sour Milk

When we lived in Belize in Central America, we used to watch HGTV on cable. On one particular program, there was a feature with Martha Stewart using milk paint to create a set of shaker style steps for her kitchen. I was so impressed with the finish and the whole concept, that I researched milk paint and eventually bought some from South Africa.

The Original Milk Paint co. says...
Milk Paint is a traditional, long-lasting paint made from milk casein, clay, earth pigments and lime. It is a natural, non-toxic product that bonds with hard porous surfaces, such as sanded wood, by way of a naturally forming resin, called calcium caseinate.

The milk paint comes in powdered form and all you needed to do with this particular variety, was mix with water. This was about 6 or seven years ago, and I carefully stored my milk paint in a tin in a dry place. Funnily enough I stored it in a large KLIM powdered milk tin.
After all this time,(how does life get so busy?) I thought I would try out the paint on one of my auction bargains. I bought this little bathroom corner cupboard a while back for the vast sum of £1. Actually, I think I bought this and a couple of other things for £1! I sanded it back to the bare wood ready to recieve the milk paint.
I followed the instructions carefully and mixed and mixed untill it started to look creamy, and then let it sit for a while to thicken up.
It didn't seem to be thickening up much.
But I went ahead and started painting it on the wood to see what happened. Hmm, don't think it's supposed to be all lumpy and gritty! I had to clean off the cupboard. It seems my milk paint has gone off. I guess the heat in Belize is probably what did it as it has been stored cool and dry enough here. It was probably ruined within the first wee while of owning it. Guess I'll be using ordinary paint this time after all.
I'm not sure if the company is still in business any more, but if they were I think I think I would order more. I have another auction bargain - a hall table that would look gorgeous in this shaker grey/green.


  1. your finds make me want to hit a flea market for some good deals. i've always wondered what milk paint was. that shad eof green looks wonderful!!

  2. Hi,
    it looks like your milk paint powder had been stored properly, as long as the container was airtight. The lime is used as a solvent for the milk protein and must remain airtight in order to be active- to dissolve the milk protein (casein). If exposed to air or dampness it can turn to chalk. It would be extremely gritty when mixing and most likely powder off the painted surface when dry.
    I can't vouch for that particular company, but we were the first company to recreate a milk paint formula in powder form back in 1974, and our comany is still going strong, so if you are ever in the market for more milk paint check out . Good luck!

  3. Oh I am so sorry it did not work. Milk paint has a lovely matte, old finish. I think you can get the "look" with other paints - check with your paint store.

  4. Thanks everyone.

    Anne - I'll need to check out that milk paint. I do want to buy more sometime!

  5. Really interesting! It's the first time I heard about milk paint :S and know I have to check it out! Thanks for sharing :)


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