Have you tried mixing milk paint powder and it didn’t turn out quite right? Let me fill you in on a little secret. You’re not the only one who gets inconsistent results! Whether it’s improperly mixed or the chippy effect turns out too-much or too-little, even ‘experienced’ milk painters don’t get it perfect 100% of the time!
Here’s a great email/question I received from a frustrated SI Reader:
“I’ve been searching and searching for some help on the milk paint! I just started to try out ….why can I not get it mixed right??? The clumps … Then when I am using I’ll get streaks of the pigment – is this all normal? I have read all the hints on mixing .. We’ll probably not all … What am I doing wrong? I’m thinking of maybe trying a sifter as putting in water? Using a blender just sounds like too much work – clean up – and that’s not sounding fun to me – Maybe it is suppose to do this- everyone’s painted stuff looks so nice – everywhere says unpredictable — all that is fine – the outcome but somewhere somehow something someone (me) is missing something.”
Because milk paint is a different animal – very different from the other pre-mixed paints we’re all familiar with, there’s a bit of a learning curve. Or maybe I should say, it takes a few times of mixing and painting before it starts to feel somewhat comfortable.
Then, when you think you have the hang of it, it can still surprise you or be slightly unpredictable! All part of it’s charm I guess. 🙂
Here’s a great example…
I’m working on this vintage dresser. I thought it would be restyled and posted for you to see today. Nope! Instead, I was rushing and my lumpy milk paint made a mess and left ugly splotches. To fix this – I have to sand, and then I’m going to strain my milk paint and add another few coats.
I’ve painted numerous pieces of furniture with a variety of milk paint brands but I don’t claim to be an expert. As you can see from my example – I’m far from it…lol.
However, I have picked up a few tips along the way. So here’s how I get the best results when mixing milk paint powder.
How to Mix Powdered Milk Paint:
Tip #1: Shake the Bag and/or Mix the Powder
I’ve never heard of any other milk painters doing this (and maybe it’s just a superstitious thing on my part), but I always mix the milk paint powder PRIOR to adding water.
In my mind, I believe it helps break up any lumps that have formed in the package and mixes all the pigments together. A sifter as the SI Reader suggested would also work nicely.
Tip #2: Mix As Much as You Need
Only mix as much as you need. I usually use 1/2 cup powder to 1/2 cup water for small to medium dresser. Below is showing a 1/3 cup used for this coffee table.
I only mix the amount needed for my first coat because once the powder is mixed with water, it will only keep for a few days.
It’s not as smooth or nice to work with once it’s been sitting for any period of time…even after re-mixing thoroughly.
This is what milk paint can look like after sitting for 24 hours.
Tip #3: Half & Half for Nice Consistency
For a nice consistency mix 1 part water and 1 part powder. As mentioned above, I usually start by measuring 1/2 cup milk paint powder to 1/2 cup warm water.
This can be adjusted. If you like your paint slightly thicker (add a little more powder). If you like your paint slightly thinner (add a little more water).
Tip #4: Mix & Settle
I stir consistently for at least 3-5 minutes working out all the lumps with a whisk and a stir stick.
(I don’t use a blender! I find it gets way too frothy and then the paint doesn’t apply evenly because small bubbles show up!)
Once I’ve worked out all the lumps and bumps with my whisk/stir stick, I then let my milk paint sit and settle for 10-15 minutes. This allows for all the pigments to dissolve and blend together. Once dissolved, this will eliminate prominent streaky pigmentation showing up on your project.
(Note – milk paint has a natural variance in color which adds to its appeal but this should look subtle and natural – not harsh and streaky.)
Tip #5: Add Bonding Agent
Once my milk paint is raring to go, if I need Bonding Agent, this is the time I add it in. Bonding agent acts like a primer and adheres the milk paint to the furniture’s surface with little to no chippy effect.
If a 1/2 cup of water was used, you can add up to a 1/2 cup of Bonding Agent or follow the directions on the bottle.
Tip #6: If all Else Fails….Strain
I’m not sure if any other milk painters do this but if all else fails, I strain my milk paint. A paint strainer will work nicely but I use dollar store pantyhose which I keep handy in my paint room.
Once strained, every lump is removed for a smooth beautiful milk paint finish…guaranteed!
I’ll be sure to finish the vintage dresser up and share it with you on Monday.
Also, the winner of the Bluestone House $150 Giveaway has not yet claimed the prize! Penny, if you’re reading this, please contact me within 24 hours so we can send you your amazing paint package! 🙂
Did I mention YOUR favorite milk paint mixing tip? Feel free to leave a comment or question… I always love hearing from you – it makes my day! 🙂
Happy painting my friends!
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