We’ve done several milk paint projects lately – and there are more to come – so in this post I’m demonstrating a great little hack I developed. Traditional milk paint comes in a powder form that has to be mixed with water. I’ll show you how to mix milk paint fast and efficiently using none other than two items from the kitchen: a milk frother and a coffee filter!
If you’ve ever had to mix only a small amount of milk paint – or you’re using it as a watered-down stain – you’ll know that mixing it can be a challenge. For a project I just completed, both of those conditions were met: I literally only needed to mix a few tablespoons of milk paint to stain a few boards. It’s not possible to use a blender, as I normally would for large projects, because there isn’t enough liquid volume to come into contact with the blade and mix it properly. Hand mixing is slow and stubborn lumps can prevent a smooth mixture.
To resolve those problems, give my mixing hack a try. It’s fast, clean up is a breeze and it’s splatter proof!
For the next two steps, you’ll need milk paint powder, a coffee filter, milk frother, water, a mixing cup (preferably clear), a mixing spoon, a paint brush and a wooden craft stick.
A Few Tips Before Beginning
We use Homestead House milk paint; the colour you see used in the second step is ‘Coal Black’. I use a dedicated frother for mixing milk paint that is separate from the one I use in the kitchen. Milk paint is all natural but I like to keep my craft tools separate from my kitchen tools.
A clear plastic cup for mixing is best so you can make sure there are no dry spots on the bottom of the cup. For small quantities, I use a tablespoon to measure the water and milk paint powder. Eventually, as you get used to mixing the powder, you will be able to eyeball the quantities of each but if you’re just beginning, it’s helpful to measure out the water and milk paint.
The coffee filter is the trick to keep the milk paint from splattering as you mix; the next step shows you how to prepare and use it.
For small projects, I generally use a chip brush to paint. For larger projects, I like to use a Staalmeester as you can see on the bottom of the picture above.
The craft stick is essential to mix the milk paint occasionally as you work; the pigments tend to settle as you work away on brushing on the paint.
Step 1: Prepare the Coffee Filter
The spot where I paint in my craft studio is pretty confined so it doesn’t take much for splashing to occur when mixing small batches of milk paint using the milk frother.
This handy trick will prevent milk paint from splattering out of the mixing cup. To start, take a coffee filter and fold it up into quarters. Use scissors to cut a small hole right at the pointy tip.
Unfold the coffee filter and cut a straight line up to the hole you just cut in the middle. The hole is necessary so that when the frother is on, the filter won’t catch and get caught around the spinning spindle of the milk frother (trust me, I know this from experience).
After the water and milk paint are added to the container, drape the filter over the top of the cup then insert the frother through the hole in the middle.
Overlap the filter at the seam and now you’re ready to turn on the frother without fear of splashing! Disaster averted!
Now that the filter is ready to go, it’s time to move on to mixing the actual milk paint.
Step 2: Mixing the Milk Paint
I mixed up a small batch of milk paint using Coal Black. Instead of the usual ratio – 1:1, I diluted it with more water to make it more like a stain (about 3 parts water to 1 part milk paint powder).
For small batches like this, I use the tablespoon to measure the water and milk paint. I add the water to the cup first and then the milk paint (although some people swear by doing it the other way around).
Put on the coffee filter as described in the previous step. Rest the frother on the bottom of the container and apply pressure. Turn it on and lift it up ever so slightly to mix. Work the powder into the water in this pouncing manner for a maximum of 20-30 seconds so it doesn’t over-froth (if it does, there’s a fix for that too!).
Remove the filter and let the milk paint sit for a few minutes (go do something else). This will allow the water to absorb fully into the powder. Give it another quick mix with the frother – or you can simply use a wooden craft stick (which you should also use to periodically mix the paint because the minerals will settle as you paint).
If you find that the paint got too frothy, you can let it sit for a while so the bubbles disperse or skim them off and discard them. But who has time to wait when you’re excited to get started? I skim the bubbles off as shown below.
Clean the Milk Frother
Submerge the frother in a cup of water and turn it on to rinse away the paint. Once clean, give it a shake and let it dry so it’s ready to use next time. As I mentioned earlier, I keep my milk frother exclusively for milk paint use.
Watch this quick video to see my milk paint hack in action:
Uses for Milk Paint
There are many uses for small quantities of milk paint. I recently painted this mini adirondack chair with the help of a bonding agent.
Next week we’ll be revealing another awesome milk paint project using the phone booth we found on our recent antiquing trip to Aberfoyle Ontario.
In doing that project, we eventually came up with a phenomenal faux barn board that uses milk paint as a stain. I’ve seen all the techniques out there on the web, but the one we developed is by far my favourite – you can see why below!
We’ll have instructions for the ultimate faux barn board next week so stay tuned. These samples show what you’ll be able to accomplish!
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