Making Your Own Milkpaint

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Forum topic by Les Casteel posted 07-18-2010 05:02 PM 1147 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Les Casteel

159 posts in 2480 days

07-18-2010 05:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing shaker question pine

I’ve begun the process of building some various small Shaker Style projects for some customers. Mainly pine. I wanted to use milk paint which I’ve used before, having bought it commercially. But, the stuff costs about $9 a pint or you could say $54 a gallon (2 pints per quart, 4 quarts per gallon). So, I thought that after looking at several recipes online I could easily make my own and according to the articles, “much, much cheaper!!”. Okay, depending on the recipe, you might use a combination of milk, casein, vinegar, borax, water, and hydrated lime. Sounds cheap, right?. Oh! and “powdered pigment”, BUT, it must be, “LIMEPROOF”. Now all of a sudden it gets real expensive. For a recipe of 1 3/4 quarts, you need 200 grams by weight of powdered pigments. Online a blue pigment costs ONLY $90 for 500G, so I can make a couple of quarts for about $100! So a gallon is $200? Makes, the $9 a pint sound really, really cheap!!

Now, obviously I’ve missed something. Where do you get the pigments without costing an arm…and a leg? So, I started thinking, could your use watercolors, food coloring, RIT cloth dye, concrete dyes, blueberries, tempura paint, or maybe even water based wood stains? Or, do I just shut up and call Highland Hardware and buy some milkpaint?

I’d appreciate the help, Thanks!

-- Les, Arkansas,

4 replies so far

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2761 days

#1 posted 07-18-2010 05:09 PM

when i have done projects like this ,
i just use latex paint ,
and thin it with water ,
to what ever consistency i want ,
(more water , thinner like stain ,
less water , thicker like paint ) .

so far so good ,
nobody ask about it if it shades the way they like .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View michelletwo's profile


2587 posts in 2436 days

#2 posted 07-18-2010 06:21 PM

SHUT UP & CALL HIGHLAND. To make it even more expensive get the stuff that makes it stick better on the first coat. The milk paint is terrific and sticks forever..once it wears thru, the layer under looks fantastic…It’s an A-1 product.

View SKFrog16's profile


661 posts in 2621 days

#3 posted 07-18-2010 06:27 PM

Les Casteel, try this company, they are a little cheaper than your source and have a color range to boot.
At least you can try your hand at making your own, without hocking your shop.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 3295 days

#4 posted 07-18-2010 06:38 PM

Get the commercial product. Or, put another way, once people learn that they can buy it cheaper than they could make it, they simply order it. One of our Guild members makes chairs, and orders ALL of it. One thing to remember is the limited pot time. So, plan your work and don’t let it get hard on you (the paint…)

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

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