The Milk Paint UK Guide: How-Tos & Products
Milk paint is the richly pigmented competitor to chalk paint currently taking over for furniture, walls, cabinets, and more. It is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and you can mix and match colours to create your own shade. Read our milk paint guide to find out more about what it is, how to use milk paint, and where to buy milk paint!
So, what is Milk Paint?
If you’ve ever been on the home makeover section of Pinterest or seen late night repeats of reno shows from the last few years, you have come across milk paint. A simple combination of lime, skim milk (or casein, a protein in milk), and pigment, milk paint has been around for thousands of years but is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity. It is:
- A richly coloured matt finish
- Fast drying, solvent free, and low odour
- Enviromentally safe, non-toxic and biodegradable
- Customisable – colours can be blended, and the finish can be solid colour, stain, or made to chip or crackle
- Indefinite shelf life as powder in sealed bag
The top milk paint products available in the UK
The popularity of milk paint and chalk paint is leading to a proliferation of businesses with products on the UK market. Looking for where to buy milk paint UK? Below we have listed 5 of the top brands and the products they produce, with links to online sources. If you want to head straight to the guide, click here.
The Crafty Bird Milk Paint
The Crafty Bird Milk Paint – Pictured in ‘Jaipur Pink’
The Crafty Bird Milk Paint focuses on the environmental benefits of milk paint. Natural, non-toxic, VOC-free, and child safe, one of their 230g pots of powder translates to 1L of paint. The final finish is matt and velvety, though it is recommended to seal the paint with a wax or varnish.
They come in 26 colours, from subtle pastels to bright and cheerful hues like Joe’s Morris Minor (a blue-green) and Caribbean Reef (a light purple). Suitable for wood and other porous surfaces.
Old Fashioned Milk Paint
Old Fashioned Milk Paint – Pictured in ‘Marigold Yellow’
Old Fashioned Milk Paints, as the name suggests, are manufactured based on traditional methods and ingredients. They only use natural materials – milk protein, lime, and earth pigments like ochre, umber, lampblack – and only make their paint in small batches.
Designed for all types of furniture, wood floors, cupboards, plaster walls, and stenciling, Old Fashioned is also toy safe. It is available in 20 colours with traditional names like ‘Barn Red’, ‘Mustard’, and ‘Soldier Blue’.
FolkArt Milk Paint
FolkArt Milk Paint – Pictured in ‘New England Red’
FolkArt Milk Paint is from Plaid, an American-based crafting and do-it-yourself manufacturer. Their paints aim to capture ‘farmhouse chic’, perfect for updating vintage furniture items or for bringing that elegance to new wood. The paint is versatile and beautiful, with a velvety appearance.
With 33 evocative colour names like Churned Butter, Pink Dogwood, Blue Belle, Absinthe, Pirate Black, and Sweet Lilac, FolkArt’s paints are capable of providing any look you are going for. They also come premixed, meaning you don’t have to mess around with powders.
General Finishes Milk Paint
General Finishes Milk Paint – Pictured in ‘Buttermilk Yellow’
General Finishes Milk Paint aims to imitate the look of old-world furniture paint, but in a modern premixed version. Acrylic-based (so not a true milk paint), these paints are durable enough to not require a topcoat, and are formulated for both interior and exterior projects.
Colours range from Snow White and Lamp Black to Persian Blue and Persimmon, and can be applied to wood, fibreglass, PVC, and most composites. It dries to a low lustre sheen, exactly like a traditional milk paint.
American Crafts Milk Paint
American Crafts Milk Paint – Pictured in ‘Blue and Yellow’
Also known as Imaginisce Milk Paint, these paints again hearken back to colonial American decoration. These paints come in powder form, with simple 1:1 mixing instructions for powder to water. They are designed for arts and craft projects, rather than walls or heavy-use surfaces.
American Crafts Milk Paint is available in a variety of colours and can be applied to any porous surface such as wood, paper, or chipboard.
How to use Milk Paint – Application tips and tricks
Though the idea of buying paint in powder form may be intimidating, there’s no need for nerves. Just follow these simple tips for the perfect application.
- Work out the look you want before you get mixing – If you want full opaque colour, you will need to add less water. For more of a wash effect, more water will need to added.
- The trick to a great finish is all in the mixing – For first timers, test a small amount of powder to see how it responds to water and to get your eye in. Mixing can be done with a small whisk, a milk frother, or even a blender. For an opaque finish you are going for the consistency of cream, or thinner for a wash. Do not whisk into a froth. Do not bung all the water in at once – you don’t want to go too far before you’ve begun.
- Don’t panic if lumps form – Lumps forming is totally normal! After mixing, leave the paint for a few minutes for the casein and lime to do their work and dissolve. Any remaining small lumps will brush out as you apply the paint (or they can be sanded out with a fine sandpaper afterwards).
- Bonding agents and finishing oils are up to you – Do you want the chipped, antiqued look for your final finish or a clean and full finish? A bonding agent will work to keep the paint attached to the substrate. Without the bonding agent the paint will age and give an antique look.
When it comes to application, how much or how little paint you use is up to you and the look you want. If you want the wood grain to shine through, a single coat of wash is the way to go. For solid colours, one to two coats will achieve the look you want. And now you’re ready to go!