Frequently Asked Questions
Should you have a specific question, please address us by email and we will reply personally. If the question is of general interest, it will also be posted here.
The redevelopment of milk paint in South Africa has resulted in a paint that closely matches the finish of the previous century. During the research and development phase it came to light that the only way to perfectly recreate the beautiful characteristics of milk paint would be by making and mixing the paint by hand in small batches.
No. Milk Paint is a totally natural eco-friendly product that will not chip or peel. Because it is a classical paint, the application “feel” is different, and the end result is that traditional slightly streaky texture – it is intended for those who want to achieve that unique traditional look. Unlike PVA, it can be applied directly to unsealed / unprimed porous surfaces such as sanded wood. Because Milk Paint is absorbed by wood details aren’t lost as they are when using PVA’s. PVA has been developed as a wall coating.
Yes you can. Milk Paint can be applied to plastered walls and drywalls without first painting an undercoat/primer. If there are patches then these may show through as Milk Paint is absorbed by the plaster.
A wash is a thin coat of Milk Paint, and this is achieved by mixing the Milk Paint according to the enclosed directions, then adding more water and testing on a piece of scrap wood. Allow to dry and adjust the mixture with more or less water until you achieve the finish you want. Remember that the paint will be a tone lighter when it is dry. Should you wish to get back to the darker shade as if the paint was wet, coat the dry surface with linseed or teak oil, wax or varnish.
Judge the colour you’ve created once it has been mixed with water, applied onto a piece of scrap wood, and has dried again. To experiment, use small amounts of the powders and mix them in a cup, add a little water and stir well. Write down the ratio of your mixture (work in parts, eg. 1 part Atlantic to 5 parts Litchi), this way you will be able to easily duplicate a colour combination you like in larger batches. First test your colour on a scrap piece of the same material before applying it to your project. Remember that the paint will be a tone lighter when it is dry. Should you wish to get back to the darker shade as if the paint was wet, coat the dry surface with linseed or teak oil, wax or varnish.
Yes, it is. Milk Paint will water-spot if it has not been sealed and something gets spilt on it or if it is wiped with water. Decorative pieces do not need to be sealed, but functional pieces should be – hard working surfaces such as table tops should be sealed. Milk Paint, once cured wears like iron. Historically, painted surfaces were finished with Shellac or Boiled Linseed Oil. For the eco-conscious, we recommend a few coats of Tung Oil that will give you a child-friendly, water resistant seal to the surface.
As part of our on-going experimenting, we have found that Milk Paint on external cob walls withstand the elements remarkably well. The colours do not fade, and as the entire surface gets “water-stained”, it is not noticeable. Even though Milk Paint used on external surfaces withstands rain, and even a direct jet of water, hard abrasive rubbing of the wet surface will remove some of the paint.
After 24 hours the applied paint will be fully cured and it should last for generations (interior). The colour won’t fade and it will develop its own character, like the patina of wood, with subsequent oilings or waxing.
Yes. Small 50g samples are available to make approximately 100ml Milk Paint. Order on-line.
Depending on the depth of the ground colour, eg. dark wood, relative to the colour of the paint, eg. “Mango”, it is recommended that three coats are applied for full coverage (this is also a requirement for commercial paints). The last coat will match the colour swatch. Beautiful effects can be achieved by painting dark colours on light wood, or vice versa, and then sanding wear areas back to the colour of the wood (see our section on Paint effects).
Based in the Western Cape, South Africa, Milk Paint Powder distributes nationally and internationally by way of airmail or surface mail – please use our email form.
The main difference is that Milk Paint is made from totally organic non toxic ingredients that date back centuries and whilst Chalk Paint is a more recent development that is a mixture of Latex paint and Calcium Carbonate which gives it a chalky appearance.