Paint, the Cheapest Way to Redecorate – Part 4



Now that we know what ingredients are in latex and oil paints generally, what about some other types of paint?


When I was reading thee two books that inspired my four blogs on the subject of paint, I became interested in two specific types of paint: milk paint and chalk paint.

Milk Paint

When you think milk paint, thing cave paint. To put it another way, milk paint has been around for a long, long time. Now the recipe is not quite the same as it was back in the time of spears and hunting hooved animals. However, the basic premise is there.

Another name for milk paint is “casein paint.” Casein is the refined animal protein extracted from milk after all of the lactose and fat have been removed. This acts as the binder in milk paint. Add some lime, water and pigment to the casein and you have milk paint.

  • Milk Paint Recipe



  • Container large enough to hold over 1 gallon of liquid, with room for stirring
  • Wood or plastic spoons, one large and one small
  • ½ yard cheesecloth for straining
  • Plastic containers such as two large margarine tubs, and a one gallon paint bucket


  • 1 gallon skim milk (milk must be fat-free and fresh, not powdered)
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 112 grams Hydrated Lime Powder Type S (approx ¾ cup)
  • 200 grams pigment
  • Water


  • Put milk in a container and allow it warm to room temperature.  Add 2 cups of white vinegar and leave overnight or up to two days. Just remember not to stir again after you have added the vinegar.
  • Place pigment in a container and mix with an equal amount of water to soak then work the pigment into a paste.
  • Place your lime in a plastic or glass (not metal) container large enough to hold two to three cups. DON’T inhale dust or allow dust to get on hands or in eyes. SLOWLY pour 1½ cups of water into the lime and stir into a creamy paste making sure all the lime gets wet. *If using lime putty for this recipe rather than lime powder, use twice the weight of putty and adjust any added water to create the proper consistency.
  • Line a colander with cheesecloth. Place the colander in a sink and pour your curdled milk into it to drain the whey off. What you have left is called quark. Rinse the quark with cool water. Keep the curds dripping  – this moisture will aid in their dissolving when you add the lime paste.
  • Gather the corners of the cheesecloth and transfer the quark to your paint bucket. Make sure the curds are small and break down any that are larger.
  • Add the lime/water paste to the curds and stir well. If some curds do not dissolve readily, the mixture can sit for 15 to 30 minutes to help break them down.
  • Your milk paint is now ready for the addition of your pigment paste. Stir this into the creamy quark and lime base. You may or may not need to add additional water – just don’t add too much.
  • All ingredients should coalesce, and the consistency should be that of light cream. Consider straining the paint through more cheesecloth or a nylon stocking as some undissolved quark may remain.
  • Stir your paint thoroughly and often during application. Extra paint can be stored up to several days in the refrigerator, however it will begin to separate so try to use it fresh.

This is taken from Earth Pigments.

For some good reasons to give milk paint a try, see Miss Mustard Seed.

Also see, Old Fashioned Milk Paint. I think I may have stumbled onto this company before I found Miss Mustard Seed.

Chalk Paint

Interestingly, I have been unable to find out exactly what is in the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I use so often (no, the cans do not contain an ingredient list). So, I thought I would tell you about two different chalk paint recipes I was considering before I bought my first can of ASCP.

  • Grout Recipe

1 tablespoon of unsanded grout plus 1/2 cup of acrylic paint. Measure out your ingredients, mix together in bowl until no lumps remain and then paint. Paint will begin to harden once it is mixed, so only mix what you need as it does not store well.


This recipe is from A Beautiful Mess

  • Calcium Carbonate Recipe

1/3 ratio of calcium carbonate, whiting powder or plaster of paris to 2/3 ratio of latex paint (your color choice). Mix and paint. You may need to add a few drops of water occasionally if it gets too thick. You can use it over and over again – just add water.

To find calcium carbonate, try you local health food. Otherwise, look on-line for it and whiting powder. Michaels or Home Depot carries plaster of paris.


This recipe came from No Minimalist Here.

* The thing to remember with these recipes is that you are using paints that likely have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in them. This may or may not weigh on your conscious. What is for certain though is that you are going to get that “paint smell”  from those paints even though you turn it into “chalk paint.” You don’t get that odor with ASCP.


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