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Milk Paint for Beginners

Milk Paint for Beginners

, by Amy Howard, 4 min reading time


Back before the seemingly infinite rows of paint chips you find yourself looking through at the home improvement store…. back before the large-scale manufacturing of gallons and gallons of paint… back before having to carefully choose between eggshell, satin, matte, glossy, and so many other finishes…


Thousands of years before the world of spray paint, acrylic paint, oil-based paint, latex paint, chalkboard paint, and even washable paints… there was milk paint.


Some of the earliest cave paintings known to man were created with a very basic combination of milk, lime, and earth pigments. As these formulations were refined over time, milk paint coatings became more and more beautiful and durable. Many ancient artifacts still retained their vibrant painted designs upon discovery, giving us a unique peek into the color preferences of these historic cultures. Traveling painters in Old World Europe and colonial America would carry pigments with them, mixing their powders with milk and lime from the farm once they happened upon a home where their craft was needed.


Although we no longer need access to goats from the farm to make milk paint, it still must be formulated with casein, a protein found in milk, to achieve its unique velvety finish. So the name “milk paint” remains a perfect fit even though it can now be commercially manufactured.


Milk paint is essentially a versatile and authentic way to create an Old World finish on any piece of furniture, cabinetry, decorative accent, or even artwork – no matter the age of the actual surface you are refinishing.


In its original powder form, true milk paint has an unlimited shelf life. Each of the rich, luxurious pigments in Amy Howard At Home Toscana Milk Paint were sourced from Italy and the South of France. Their authentic provenance from the heart of the Old World ensures a superior finish, color, and vibrancy. With no VOCs or other unsafe commercial ingredients, this milk paint is safe to use anywhere in the home. After mixing with water and removing any clumps or foam, Toscana Milk Paint can be used as-is, thinned to create a glazed patina, or layered multiple times for luxurious, antique depth.


Working with Toscana Milk Paint requires close attention, although beautiful results are easy to achieve. It is much thinner than commercial paint you might be more used to, as it it is completely all natural. Working on a horizontal surface is necessary, and several coats are usually needed to create the look you are envisioning. As you agitate your paint and work through a wet edge, imagine yourself in southern Italy painting alongside the old masters in this same way, using the same methodology and brush strokes!


In the past, you had to search for years or spend thousands to find a piece with this kind of elegance and drama. Now you can recreate this iconic historic patina in your own garage. Once you are comfortable with the basics, try some of Amy’s more advanced aging techniques using waxes, Dust of Ages, and even Antiquing Glaze with your favorite Toscana Milk Paint colors!


Getting Started with Toscana Milk Paint:

1). Choose your favorite Toscana Milk Paint color. Remember, your mixed paint will dry to that exact shade!


2). Use this 2.5″ Flat Paint Chip Brush with your milk paint and the specialty 2.0” Round Hog Hair Paint Brush for any waxes you may apply.


3). Be sure to protect and seal your painted finish with Matte Sealer or Amy Howard At Home Waxes.

4). For advanced milk paint techniques check out Amy’s latest book Rescue Restore Redecorate.



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