After my usual procrastination, after the box of paint had been long delivered and after I couldn’t claim the bad weather as an excuse any longer, I set down to paint. Those of you who have been reading for a while know by now that I would love to have the Martha Stewart gene but I fail miserably in the DIY department. Yet, I persist, provided the projects I embark on do not require more than a couple of hours of my time and have a level of difficulty a 8 year old could tackle.
In the ongoing and very prolonged renovation of the guest bedroom, this Monday morning I finally got the final piece, the painting of an anonymous pine dresser to match the pinks and reds I chose for the room.
A while ago I read about milk paint which appealed to me because it’s both environmentally friendly and doesn’t smell. The few times I have actually painted anything for a sustained period of time, paint fumes really got to me. And that is why I ordered some off the website of the Real Milk Paint Company, after reading at length that milk paint is so called because made with either curdled milk or cottage cheese, lime and earth pigment. The formula is extremely old and pieces of antique can still be found today with their original milk colors.
The small box came weeks ago but I didn’t read the instructions until this morning. In a bucket I mixed the dried powder with the required amount of water. The first problem was the “stir vigorously” part. The box suggested using an old blender but who the hell has an old blender lying around that can be discarded after mixing paint? So I mixed with a spoon and I quickly found out that more water was needed than suggested and that when I finally started applying the paint, little globules of unmixed powder stuck to the surface – easily enough, by pressing really hard with the brush they would vanish. But at the end of the two hours, my wrist hurt.
Once all was said and done, when my white t-shirt had splashes of red all over and after erasing the red splotches that ended on the wall, the results were better than anticipated. The colour is flat and homogeneous, giving the furniture an old, weathered look. To sum it up, milk paint seems to have more pros than cons:
- Environmentally friendly, thus avoiding a trip to the hazardous waste site
- Absolutely odor free which makes it suitable for painting indoors without keeping the windows open for hours.
- Cheap at $12 a box that makes 1 quart, enough for 72 square feet of surface
- Awesome results even for an inept painter like me
- It comes in a multitude of colours that can be mixed together for different hues
- Dries up really quickly
- Mixing it is harder than regular paint
- Cannot be used on plastic, metal or oil base finishes.