I almost didn’t post this. I love using milk paint and am a little worried that photos from mid process will scare folks off trying it. It’s kinda like showing a sausage making video right before breakfast.
I use real milk paint. It comes in powder form and you mix it with water. If its pre-mixed in a can it’s not real milk paint. Since you mix it yourself, you can control the consistency. You can have a thick, creamy consistency or a thin stain like consistency. Milk paint dries very fast, is durable and is nontoxic. You can mix different colors to get colors or tones that suit your needs. Milk paint however really needs a top coat of a different finish for it to be a complete finish. Tung oil seems to be a popular choice but I have not tried it. I always use shellac.
My preferred method of using milk paint is to apply a couple of coats of paint. Once that is dry, I burnish it with 0000 steel wool. It has to be steel wool. I’ve tried several other products but non of them give me the smooth burnished effect that actual steel wool does. Then its time for three coats of clear shellac. After that dries, I rub it out with steel wool and apply a paste wax. Seems like a lot but it’s not that bad and I get consistent results.
So here is what the table bases look like with two coats of barn red milk paint only. The surface is rough and the color is light. That will all change once I complete the process. Once burnished the surface will be glass smooth and the color will darken. The lap desk shown here is the same color milk paint with the process completed.
Milk paint may not be to everyone’s liking but I enjoy using it and like the finished look.