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Transformation Tuesday : Why I’m Cheating on Chalk Paint

By Adrienne Boswell @chiccalifornia1

Why I'm Cheating

I have a confession to make. It’s a bit scandalous really. I’ve been cheating on Chalk Paint! Yes, I found a new love and I just can’t deny it anymore. Milk Paint is her name! Sweet Pickin’s Milk Paint. It started off innocently enough. I just thought I would try something new. But it had my heart the first time I painted it on a piece of furniture and it gave me the perfect chippy finish I was after.

White Milk Paint Dresser

Sure you can make Chalk Paint look old and French. You can distress it and layer it. I can even show you how here. But to me nothing catches my eye more than a piece of painted furniture that looks authentically chippy and old. Will I still use Chalk Paint? Of course! (Ok, maybe I am a bit more of a two timer than a cheater.) I still love that old, French look. But sometimes you have to change it up a bit.

You know why Milk Paint makes things look old? I think  it knows it’s old school.  An original. Milk Paint is one of the oldest forms of paint. Before chemicals were invented if you wanted to paint something you had to mix pigments with some lime and something to make it liquidy…..milk was generally available on the farm.

So how do you get to know Milk Paint?  I would suggest you just give it a try!  Really, give it a whirl. See what you think. I bet you’ll become a cheater too!

Here is a little Milk Paint 101 to get you started.

Sweet Pickins Milk Paint

Real, true Milk Paint comes in a powder form. This package will make a pint of milk paint, which is enough for a small dresser.

Here’s the thing about Milk Paint. You gotta use it or lose it. So don’t mix up the whole bag at once. When I am painting a dresser I generally start out with about 1/4 cup of paint. (start saving old plastic containers or use a plastic cup) This is Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in Window Pane. 

Milk Paint in Window Pane

I turn on the tap water and let it get pretty warm, even hot. And I add a bit of water. Then I stir a bit. Then I add more water and stir. Make sure you scrape the bottom of your container and get any powder that is hiding in the crevices. I used to use a mini milk frother until I gummed it up with too much paint. Now I just use a plastic spoon. In the end you will have about equal parts powdered milk paint to water.

mixing milk paint

The consistency will be kind of like a melted milk shake.  At this point, I usually walk away for a few minutes. I think if you let your milk paint sit for just a few minutes your color and consistency get that much better. I think it just gives the paint time to really mix with the water and for the pigments to do their thang.


If you are using a light color over a dark previously stained or painted finish I would recommend the use of shellac to seal your piece first and prevent bleed through. Actually, I have had bleed through happen so many times now, even when I don’t think it is going to happen I do a quick spray with Shellac just to be on the safe side.

Painting with Milk Paint

Now get paintin’! The cracking begins to occur because Milk Paint drys relatively quickly. As it dries it shrinks and starts to crackle. Sometimes it crackles so much it literally falls off. Sometimes it crackles just a little.

painted milk paint

When you get down to the last of your paint that you have prepared you will probably have some little balls of milk paint that didn’t get mixed up all the way. Don’t worry about them as they will sand smooth. When I get to the end of my paint, I usually add a bit more water and mix again, scraping up any bits I may have missed. I hate to waste paint.

This was my dresser before.

1800's dresser

And this is my dresser with 3 coats of Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in Window Pane.

Milk Paint Dresser after

chippy white dresser

corner of dresser

You can see I got some areas of chipping, but not a ton. Kind of a surprise for such an old piece with years of stuff on it. So I did sand a bit around the edges just to add to the look.

polka dot drawer liner

I finished this piece with a coat of clear wax. And I lined to drawers with wrapping paper just to add something a bit more modern to this old piece.

Milk Paint Dresser

Ready to try Sweet Pickins Milk Paint? You can purchase Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in my retail boutique located in The Spotted Cow in Walnut Creek. Can’t make it to California? Sweet Pickins Milk Paint will be coming soon to my online store. Until then, please convo me at [email protected]  to order.

Milk Paint 101


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