It is extremely challenging to duplicate the composition and appearance of historic paints using modern materials. Now contemporary painters can recreate that classical look, including the attractive, subtle unevenness of colour, the irregularity of surface texture, the depth provided by a glaze topcoat, and the directional lines of application, with historic recreated Milk Paint from The Original Milk Paint Co.

Milk Paint is a traditional, long-lasting paint made from milk casein, clay, earth pigments and lime. It is a natural, non-toxic product that bonds with hard porous surfaces, such as sanded wood, by way of a naturally forming resin, called calcium caseinate.

Did you know?
Milk Paint was also used by the itinerant decorators of Scandinavia, Northern America and Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries.

With traces of it found in King Tutankhamen's tomb, Milk Paint is the oldest form of paint known. Until as recent as the 1930's, many craftsmen still painted furniture with it - one such famous example being Shaker furniture. Antique lovers, and people who have tried to strip old furnishings painted with Milk Paint, know this vibrantly coloured, flint-hard surface well.

With Milk Paint, you take a step back in time; picture this:
You're wearing gum boots, and have just milked Daisy with the intention to make some milk paint (there's a litre of milk in each litre of Milk Paint). All the other ingredients have been gathered and hand-mixed with the finely grounds pigments from the nearby iron-rich stone quarry. You hum in anticipation of fresh colour in the home.

The redevelopment of milk paint in South Africa by The Original Milk Paint Co. has resulted in a paint that closely matches the finish of the 19th century. It is hand-made in small batches using earth pigments and natural ingredients. We have already added the milk for you in powder form - all you need to do is stir in warm water.
Use our Coverage Calculator to see how much powder will be required for your project.

The unique traditional texture* of cured Milk Paint, which leaves a hard matt surface, can be sanded, distressed, oiled, waxed, polished to a velvety sheen, or simply varnished. It dries within two hours and also provides that genuine lime-washed effect by mixing the paint - which comes in dry powder form - with double the amount of water.

Milk Paint can be applied directly to sanded wood without the need for a primer / sealer. To achieve the unique traditional texture* on wood (that no other paint can emulate), apply Milk Paint quite thickly, allow to dry, and then sand it down.

*a slightly streaky, flat matt surface.

Original Milk Paint is packaged in dry powder form allowing you to control the thickness of the paint, by mixing it with warm water, for use as either a wash / stain, full cover coat, or for stencilling.

The flexibility of Original Milk Paint provides a range of creative options:

  • Give your project a mere wash that adds colour without hiding the wood, by applying a single, thinly pigmented coat.
  • Apply a single, fully pigmented coat and then buff through to the wood in selected wear areas by using a Scotch-Brite pad.
  • Apply two or more coats, with or without buffing.
  • Try coats of different colours, then buff through the top coat(s) in selected wear areas to reveal hints of the underlying colours.
  • As it dries quickly, Milk Paint is also the ideal non-sticky way of doing paint effects, such as distressing, sponging, rag-rolling and stippling - in half the normal time.
  • Milk Paint readily accepts a final coat of linseed or teak oil, wax, shellac, or a modern, clear acrylic or polyurethane varnish finish (note that all of these will enrich and darken the colours).

It is always best to first test the effects on a spare piece of the same material before applying it to your project, to ensure your satisfaction with the end result.

Who needs Milk Paint?

Milk Paint is a product for the purist or traditionalist, and it is ideal for furniture makers, restorers, DIY'ers, hobbyists, interior designers / decorators, and those sensitive to chemicals and / or the need for protecting the environment.