HVLP and Milk Paint

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Forum topic by chip73 posted 05-05-2012 03:25 PM 9052 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View chip73's profile


55 posts in 2238 days

05-05-2012 03:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hvlp milk paint earlex

I am working on an entertainment center for my daughter and she wants it painted (of course). I have just recently bought my first HVLP an Earlex 5500. I’m looking at using GF Milk Paint as the finish. Looking for any thoughts on what I’m in for and and suggestions.

-- Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

10 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 05-05-2012 03:31 PM

I don’t use HVLP (I wish I had one), but getting the correct tip is the standard advice. The tip and a practice shot or two should ut ya in good shape.


View ducky911's profile


237 posts in 2814 days

#2 posted 05-05-2012 08:54 PM

Your instuctions probably state to thin the paint to 35 sec to 60 sec. You will need to thin down to the lower sec. And use 2.0 tip or bigger.

With latex i have thinned with water ,festol and water based poly (gloss).
Maybe 4 parts paint 1 part water 1 part festol 2 parts poly…check your time

I have never used milk paint but i hear it is thick you have to get it thinned down or you will get splatter.

When you start a test spray close the back knob all the way in. Than open it a half turn at a time and test. When you notice splatter you opened to far.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2311 days

#3 posted 05-05-2012 10:40 PM

Milk paint is just cassein paint. You can mix it as thick or thin as you want. If you add 10% (no more than 15%) by volume of BLO or Pure Tung Oil (I use the Tung oil), you’ll improve the durability about 10-fold. Milk paint is a sacrificial coating. It will chalk up and slough. It basically sacrifices itself to save the wood. Outdoors this happens in as little as 2 years. Inside would take much much longer, but you usually put a clear coat of some kind on it indoors for easier cleaning. If you add the oil to the paint, you may not need the clear coat for durability. You can just wax it.

Thick or thin…. if I’m painting a birdhouse for outdoors, I mix it thick and put on a thin coat (a wash coat) first and then brush it on thick. For nicer pieces, I use several thinner coats. You can get nice antiqueing by using something like a dark green underneath a creamy white. As the edges wear, the green shows through. A deep bergundy under a colonial green also looks really nice.

Milk paint is easy to work with. It’s a wonderful medium and as long as you mix THOROUGHLY you won’t have any issues. Oh and no nasty vapors, AND you can clean your sprayer into the garden if you want. Milk paint is biodegradable. I use it on kids’ toys.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2386 days

#4 posted 05-06-2012 12:12 AM

Check out Good information and a couple videos. I don’t think spraying is a good idea for real milk paint.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View chip73's profile


55 posts in 2238 days

#5 posted 05-06-2012 12:33 PM

Appreciate the good info – trying to increase my knowledge on paint. I hear so much negatives about latex paint on furniture it makes me nervous. General Finishes Milk Paint caught my eye because they advertise it for furniture. Whats great about LJ is all the knowledge you can find on different subjects. Thanks for taking time to give me a leg up.

-- Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2410 posts in 3895 days

#6 posted 05-06-2012 02:37 PM

The GF paint will spray fine, you will need to thin it a little and do light coats , the problem with any water base paint is the sheen and stain resistence, I suggest you apply a topcoat of a good water base finish, like GF High Performance , the orginal milk paint which is a powder mixed with water does well, however, you will need to experiment with it, and also strain it well, it can be a little clumpy, so mix it well and strain thru a med mesh strainer , it has to be clean and smooth to spray, to be sure you have it correct, IF a finsh will go thru a mediumn mesh strainer about as fast as you pour it in, it will spray, thru a 1.5 or .043 nozzle and do well.

View Inwood's profile


1 post in 1959 days

#7 posted 02-08-2013 12:23 AM

Do you need a more expensive 5 or 6 stage HVLP sprayer like the Capspray 115 or Apollo 1050 to spray milk paint with best results or will a less expensive 2 or 3 stage turbine work?

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2994 days

#8 posted 02-08-2013 12:43 AM

Found this on the website. General Finishes Milk Paint.

Its formulation gives it excellent flow and levelling properties allowing brush marks to disapear for a perfectly flat finish. This pigment rich paint gives a solid colour finish and can also be used for numerous paint effects such as rag rolling, marbling, antiquing and distressing. Rapid drying, milk paint provides a tough, durable and chip resistant finish which will not crack at joints or knots like other paint finishes do. For best results, we would recommend applying milk paint with a foam brush or pad. This paint is resistant to UV and dries to a satin finish. ©

Do you need to spray it at all?

View Hartworks's profile


53 posts in 1622 days

#9 posted 03-27-2015 04:39 AM

Let me preface this with the fact I am NOT a pro finsher or painter and I am in the learning curve as well, but thought my experience may lend some benefit.

I am currently spraying a media center using an HVLP Fuji 4 stage and G-xpc gun with 1.8 tip (side mounted pressurized cup)with General Finishes Snow White paint. The unit being painted is made from 3/4” ply for body and Maple for doors. (I know painting maple….long story but what the customer wanted)

Now out of the can it is mighty thick, appeared too thick to spray without thinning so I thinned down about 10%, before thinning my viscosity cup was emptying in no less than 1.5 minutes which by the book is way too thick to spray.

I had gone through the paint I had on hand and picked up another can and this time, for experimental reasons, I thought I would see if it would spray out of the can at its original thickness. To my surprise it sprayed well but not quite well enough. So I again knocked it down by 10% with water.

Not having used this paint before, I have to say I was not all that happy at all with foam brush application. My technique, may be imperfect, but I have painted my share of items with other paints and had the paint level out very well, this however did not, I did not paint much with it and went to the sprayer.

Now as for spraying GF Milk paint, I friggin love this stuff, goes on good and thick, you really have to put effort into making it run, and it levels beautifully. And not being a pro painter, this made me happy. I just finished up with the upper cabinet portion and in spraying the larger flat surfaces I have no complaints about how it turned out.

I will say this, after you paint the first coat on bare wood there is raising of the grain (presumably due to water base) that must be knocked down with 320 – 500 sanding. Very lightly, then follow with another one or two coats. I needed three coats to achieve full coverage, but I am very picky about the finished product. I think GF recommends 3.

So all that said, I don’t see why you can’t spray with a 2-3 stage, you may have to thin a bit more which will increase your chance of runs, but even that is easily resolved. I ran an edge on the side of the face frame, ran over it with the foam brush, sprayed over it again lightly and it leveled out.

My opinion, for what its worth, is GF Milk paint sprays very well. I will not hesitate to use it again.

-- Gary, California

View John_H's profile


175 posts in 1730 days

#10 posted 03-27-2015 05:59 AM

General Finishes actually has a video tutorial on spraying milk paint. The Earlex 5500 is one of the two systems they recommend for spraying it

Check it out:

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