milk paint in a can or milk paint powder?

I've been using Miss Mustard Seed's milk powder paint off and on now for a few months.  
It's been a fun learning process of all the nuances of the paint, and I thought I'd share some of the things I am learning about milk paint recently.

This dresser was painted in milk paint- but, it's the pre-mixed milk paint made by General Finishes.  I stocked up on a bunch of it when a local hardware store was closing it out from their stock. 

Since we're talking milk paint, I'm going to describe the differences in consistency using milk terms.

The milk paint made by General Finishes is really thick- like a thick milk shake.  
It takes a lot of stirring to get it all mixed and ready to paint.

The MMS milk paint is frothy and thin when it's all mixed.
Kind of like if you were to mix it up in a blender.  Which is exactly the method I prefer.

Milk paint, in general, is made with milk proteins.  
It is a water based paint that is low in VOC's, and different variations of it have been around for many years.
I'm not great with scientific information, but you can read up more on the ingredients here, and here.

I purchased an old blender at Goodwill after my first use of MMS milk paint.  
The first time, I tried stirring it up with an old whisk, but it didn't quite mix up and get all the lumps and dry spots out of the liquid.  
I've also tried shaking it up in a jar, but it didn't quite do the trick for me either.

The blender I bought was $7, and it works beautifully.  
It mixes everything up in a nice, smooth consistency, and is nice and creamy like a chocolate milk consistency.  
You could pick one up at a garage sale or your local thrift shop.  Most have outlets nearby for you to plug it in and make sure it's working properly.  
Don't use your home blender!
It's paint! 

As far as clean up, I just scrape as much as I can out of the blender into whatever paint cup I'm using (usually an old recycled plastic container- like sour cream or something)
and then soak it in warm water in my utility sink while I paint.
Once I'm ready to clean everything up, I rinse it out and then pop the blender jar in the dishwasher.
That's it.

The difference in the paint finish is this:
GF:  almost a latex like finish- a slight sheen and it goes on very smooth like a regular paint.

MMS: a slightly watery finish, dries to a dry / chalky like finish.
Both look relatively the same once it is waxed, although the GF paint finish is still ever so slightly more glossy.

With all of my furniture projects using milk paint, I have done very little prep to the surface.  
I don't prime or sand much.  I want the oils and surface "stuff" to help with the chipping process.
The GF paint I used on this dresser took four coats to completely cover the dark stain.

With most of my projects using MMS paint, it takes 2, maybe 3 coats max.

I wanted to see how well the GF paint would chip in contrast to MMS.  
It did very well and I was happy with the end result.

The GF paint took a little more arm muscle and didn't chip or flake nearly as easily as MMS, but it still gave an authentic look.  I have more fun with the MMS paint though, because you can see it happening as you work on it.
I haven't tried the bonding agent yet with the MMS products, because I really love the chippy look!
I should probably try some out soon on a project so I can see the difference...

I've also used the GF (Lamp Black) milk paint on our bar stools.  
They were raw wood to begin with, and it went on beautifully and they've stayed in great shape since I painted them 6+ years ago.  They are finished in a clear poly.

So far, everything I've painted in the MMS paint, I've sold.  
I really love both paints, and even though there are some minor differences, I think you could probably achieve whatever look you wanted - chippy or smooth finish using either paint.

I keep hearing a lot of people are nervous about the mixing process with the powder, but it's really not so intimidating.  You can always add a little more powder or liquid if the consistency doesn't seem right.
Remember, you're going for creamy milk consistency
I highly recommend a blender for mixing.
It has given me the best results when I've used it.

So there you go!  I hope this info was helpful.  

I had fun using this vintage shade of pink from General Finishes.  
It's called Little Pink.
I took it down to Aunt Bee's House yesterday, so it is available in my space.

There's so many different paints and methods to what you can use with furniture- this is just one.
I'm having a lot of fun with milk paint these days, and I hope you'll let me know what you are discovering with using it!

And FYI, Aunt Bee's House is a retailer for MMS milk paint and products.

I really like using milk paint, and I enjoy experimenting with other paint products for furniture.
I'll let you know of a another new one I've tried out soon!


  1. I always wonder about milk paint and how the finish will come out on different finishes. I love this dresser! Bet it sells quickly!

  2. i like them both for different looks- it depends on what i am working with. the general finishes milk paint is NOT actually milk paint. it is an acrylic paint designed to have the look of authentic milk paint, so the base is different, too. but that's why it has a smoother finish as well.

  3. Denise the chest looks great (I like that shade of pink too). I have only used MMS paint once and didn't have much luck...but I am not giving up...just need the right piece to come along.


  4. Love that soft pink Denise! And I've tried both versions of milk paint. I think the powder is a bit messy and smelly, but I will use it outside in the summer. And the colors and authentic look are awesome. I like the bonding agent for when you don't want a really chippy look. And I'm a big fan of the GF paint, the finish is extremely durable, but it's a little pricy. I think there's room in the furniture painting world for all kinds of paint. That makes it more fun!

  5. Hi friend! I just love this shade of pink and the dresser is perfectly charming in all it's chippiness! I appreciate the info. on milk paint too! I would like to give it another try sometime soon...your adorable pink dresser might be just the motivation I needed! Happy Spring Break!


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