Milk paint has been used since ancient times. It is very resistant when dry and can truly stand the test of time.
In fact, this paint was used on most painted wooden furniture from past centuries.
Completely natural and ecological, milk paint is perfectly suitable for untreated, new or restored wooden furniture.
Milk paint recipe
Using ½ quart of milk, you can make ¼ quart of paint,
enough to cover about 30 sq. feet with 2-3 coats (a small piece of furniture or a chair, for instance).
Mix ½ quart of skim milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar and warm over low heat for 5 minutes.
Do not boil. The milk will curdle. Carefully drain off and discard the yellowish whey on the surface.
Pour the remaining curd into a very fine filter such as a universal coffee filter. Let it drip for a few hours or overnight.
You will obtain about 3 oz. (100 g) of curd. Dilute a pinch of borax* (3 g) in one tablespoon of water.
(Borax, optional in this recipe, is antibacterial and also makes the casein contained in the curd water-soluble.)
Add the curd to this mixture. You should obtain a creamy, thickish, yogurt-like consistency.
Add a little water if necessary.
In a separate bowl, mix 5½ oz. (150 g) chalk powder** with ½ to 1 cup of water.
This will produce a grayish, chalky substance to be used as an extender.
Afterwards, carefully blend the two mixtures.
Next, color your paint. For small amounts, you can use gouache or artist oil paints.
For larger amounts, opt for ecological universal coloring agents or natural pigments.
For instructions on how to make the shelf shown here,
go to the "furniture instructions" section.
Two coats of natural, color-free furniture wax were applied to finish the shelf.
* Borax also called Sodium Borate, can be found in the cleaning aisle of your grocery store next to the laundry soaps.
Also available in some drug stores and janitorial supply stores. Price: approx. $5/lb. (500 g).
** Chalk Powder: Finely ground natural chalk. It can be found in the cement section of home improvement
or pool supply retailers in 3 or 10 lb packages. Also used to clean marble or silver. Price: approx. $1/lb.