What is Milk Paint and How Does it Work?

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Are you new to milk paint? Well, you've come to the right place! Today we are discussing all things Moon Dust milk paint. How to use it and some extra tips & tricks, so stick around... you don't want to miss out on this beautifully chippy transformation!
Moon Dust Milk Paint is formulated from milk protein (casein) and lime (calcium carbonate), plus pigments for color. A bonding agent like the Lilly Moon "Gravity" may also be added to enhance the adhesion. Milk paint is made of all natural ingredients, is free of any solvents and has zero toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Consider Milk Paint if you want to achieve a "chippy" distressed look. It’s no surprise that DIYer's who like a vintage feel to furniture and other items around the home love to use milk paint. Although milk paint has been around for years and although most times your finish is "chippy", the final finish you get is the finish that’s likely to remain for many years.
French Nightstands: I found this set of antique French Provincial nightstands on marketplace and although the overall appearence was good, they did have lots of cracked veneer, a few dings and some chipping of the original finish. I decided milk paint was a great option for the perfectly imperfect look I was envisioning.
Prep is Key! Before starting any project, it is important to clean your surface for the best possible results. Lilly Moon Furniture Prep Cleaner is a degreaser and cleaner all in one. It is a one-step process. Rinsing with water after is not necessary. It is a concentrated formula, so make sure to dilute with water prior to use. Here I am using a spray bottle with the already diluted formula. -We are ready to go!
Start by removing all of the hardware. Sometimes, dirt and grime like to collect behind furniture pulls and knobs. Removing them prior to cleaning will help you make sure you have cleaned every inch of the piece.
Spray the surface and clean everything with a lint-free rag. I like to use microfiber cloths. Once the surface is clean and dry, you'll be ready to paint!
What you'll need:
- Moon Dust Milk Paint
- Empty container (having a lid helps!)
- Scoop or measuring spoon
- Something to stir your paint
(whisk, marble, fork, spoon can be used)
- Warm water
Mixing: Simply mix equal parts of the powder, with equal parts of warm water. For the best results, using warm water and letting the paint mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes will help ensure all of the pigments & ingredients have completely dissolved.
Tips on mixing: The tool you use is completely up to you. I like to use a glass marble to mix my milk paint but, many like to use a small whisk
Because milk paint is made from milk protein, it can go bad. It is important to make small batches, enough for one first coat. If you have left over paint, you can save it in a closed container for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator.
When you are done mixing, you should have a milkshake-type consistency. It should look just like paint. If your mixture is too thin- add more milk paint powder. If your mixture is too thick- add more water and mix again.
Applying your paint: I did a total of 2 coats of Moon Dust milk paint on these 2 nightstands. I made sure to just apply thin coats. Moon Dust has amazing coverage with just one coat, but for the best chippy results, 2 coats is ideal.
Let's get chippy! Once you've applied your second coat of milk paint and it is completely dry, you can begin to chip off the paint flakes and distress the paint even more if you desire that look!

After my first coat, I didn't see much "chippy", but after the second coat was dry I was happy to see the paint chip in certain areas of both nightstands. One nightstand chipped more than the other, but that is completely normal.

 Milk paint can sometimes be somewhat unpredictable but, but don't let that scare you away from trying it!

Tools to Distress: For this project I used a combination of a detail brush and a Pro-Sanding Sponge. The detail brush allowed me to get underneath some of the paint chips and "flick" them off.  The Pro-Sanding Sponge helped distress the paint and make the finish buttery smooth. I used the 220 grit, but there are many more grits available.


Apply sealer if desired. While milk paint is very durable, you may want to apply a sealer. You can choose between the Lilly Moon Hemp Seed Oil, Furniture Balm and even the Stellar Shield top coat which is more of a poly sealer. Regardless of the direction you go in, a sealer will deepen the color and make the overall finish look richer. Sealing your Moon Dust milk paint will protect your paint from the damage of possible spills, scuffs, and stains. A sealer would certainly help maintain a freshly painted look! 

On this project, I chose to use the Furniture Balm in the "Lemon Squeeze" scent. I applied a thin coat on both nightstands, let it sit for a little bit, then came back with a microfiber cloth and buffed it while also wiping back the excess. Once completely absorbed and dry, you will have a beautiful velvety matte sheen.


How easy was that, right?I love the way these French Provincial nightstands turned out. So moody, so chippy, SO GOOD!


Moon Dust Milk Paint is easy and SO FUN! We have an amazing collection of colors to choose from.

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