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 Paintwere 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!
Known by many names, glazing & whitewashing techniques can transform any stained or painted surface into something completely new and unique.
In this Finishing School broadcast, Amy explained the differences between cerusing, pickling, and liming live on the Amy Howard At Home Facebook page. Workshop viewers gained the DIY and refinishing skills to apply these techniques to wood, brick, kitchen cabinets, furniture, and floors!
Amy first shares the basics of cerusing with Glazed Over after painting a cabinet door with your choice of Amy Howard At Home - One Step Paint. To get this effect, simply mix these two water-based, no VOCs formulas with each other using a recipe of one part glaze, one part paint, and one part water.
The right tools can make all the difference in whether your project is successful. When cerusing, use two paint brushes – one for applying the glaze and one for offloading. Watch Amy demonstrate proper painting techniques as she walks you through creating this elegant, timeless finish step-by-step! Remember, Glazed Over and our One Step Paint do not have to be sealed! So once you complete your finish, you are done!
You can use this same glaze mixture and process on raw wood to create a pickling effect. Amy shows you exactly how to use a brush and a rag on a simple oak flooring sample, a wood that's perfect for pickling because of all its beautiful natural grain. Finally, get a little peek at the depth and sheen a bit of carnuba wax can add to your work. Be sure to seal your wood floors with our Matte Sealer to protect your finish!
Next, Amy demonstrates how you can use our Cerusing Wax to transform stained or painted wood finishes using a chip brush and steel wool. Experiment on small, thrifted surfaces to figure out your favorite methods for pulling through the wax. You can even play around with buffing to get your preferred level of sheen!
Next, Amy shows how you can use a glazing technique to refresh brick. All you need is your One Step Paint, Glazed Over, a natural sea wool sponge and water.
If refinishing your fireplace, be sure to thoroughly clean with Clean Slate and then simply sponge on your glaze. This technique using a natural sea wool sponge creates an authentic, mottled aesthetic that is very beautiful for your interior brick finishes!
I am often asked how to easily and affordably create a painted finish with all of the depth, graininess and color contrast of real wood. Though many other tutorials might claim they will help you create that authentic appeal, I have created a finish that will give you the graininess you desire while keeping the depth of color you wish to expose.
Watch as I walk you through the cerused, or limed wax finish process step-by-step. With a very understated and elegant look, the cerused finish delightfully agrees with so many different decorating styles. Whether your style is anything from modern to rustic, this finish will make any room dance.
Here at Amy Howard, we believe that every piece of rescued furniture has a story to tell and we are sure to listen. The lines, materials, composition and year it was crafted must be taken into consideration when dreaming up the new look and purpose. If you stay in tune with the integrity of the item and allow it to inspire you, the restoration process can’t go wrong.