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Thread: Milk Paint

  1. #1
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    Default Milk Paint

    This is a big site, I tried searching but pretty much nothing came up. If this is the wrong place for this thread, would someone please move it to the right place? I wasn't sure...

    I was just wondering if anyone else makes and uses their own milk paint? It's extremely cheap and easy to make, but can be rather expensive if you buy it in powdered form. It last for decades, especially if you add a little boiled linseed oil or apply linseed oil after the milk paint dries. It's completely VOC-free as well as having nothing else in it besides milk, hydrated lime, and maybe pigment (it looks like snot if you don't add pigment - sorry, but it does!); in fact, leftovers get tossed in the compost pile or in the garden.

    I know that there are a lot of "recipes" for it, including using cottage cheese (a friend uses that, turns out just as good as anything else) that's gone bad. Not that you have to do it that way, but he does.

    So, just wondering -- anybody else? If so, what's your recipe?

    - Tim

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    Never heard of it
    Tell me more

    Tommyt
    Last edited by tommyt; 04-23-2011 at 07:09 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    Been around since -- well, the Egyptians used it; and it's what I remember the neighbor using on his barn when I was a little kid and that paint is still there, but of course I don't know if he's repainted over the years. It's a big barn, it was a big undertaking when he painted it and as far as I know it's the same. I know it lasts a long time on whatever I put it on. I haven't yet repainted anything, the most I've done is put another coat of linseed oil on whenever I remember to. Just google "milk paint recipes" and you'll get more than you wanted! I don't go with skim milk, as many or most call for, and I don't use vinegar to curdle it. I use the slack lime method. As far as curdling the milk, my friend that uses cottage cheese goes that route but just uses the already curdled milk (cottage cheese) instead of using vinegar and then having to wait a day or two. Pigment can be expensive, but fortunately a very little bit goes a long way. I use iron oxide - rust - for the reds. For hives, I'm thinking of adding a little beeswax to the mix, but IDK if it'll be necessary or how it'll change things. I go with the titanium oxide white instead of the chalk white pigment for hives, but am looking at different colors. That's another thing, usually applying linseed oil after the milk paint dries will change the color of the paint. Wierd, and I don't understand that process.

    The protiens in milk combine with the lime and really bond to the wood. I add a bit of borax, too, to increase the resistance to mold, mildew and bacteria but most folks tell me that it's not necessary since milk paint already does all that. I still use borax, though. And yes, it's as simple as the common 20 Mule Team Borax that you find in the store. Just don't use too much or it'll go gritty on you.

    Milk paint leaves a very flat finish, but today a lot of people are using various admixtures to give it a sheen. I never saw the need to. Start adding acrylics and everything else and -- well, now it's acrylic and whatnot, not milk paint.

    Try it, once you see how simple it is and how well it works, you'll be hooked. And it feels good to know that YOU made it.

    - Tim

    Milk paint. It does a hive body good.

  4. #4
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    Susquehanna county, PA
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    For the outside of my warre hive i used boiled linseed oil and beeswax. I put the mix in a small coffee can and then add water to make a double "boiler" with a larger coffee can and once heated it goes on with a foam or regular brush real easy. I just heat it with a small propane torch.

    BeeTulls, thanks, I also have an electric fence around my bees to help keep the 4 and 2 legged threats off them.
    Last edited by forgeblast; 04-25-2011 at 05:22 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    I do the same with other woodwork, except that I also use a bit of turpentine in the mix. I've been hesitant to use the linseed oil and beeswax on hives because I was told that it attracts bee predators; not sure how true that is but where my next hives will be the threat of raccoons, skunks and bears will be much lower. It just doesn't quite ring true given the fact that the entire contents of the hive consist of beeswax, BEES, AND HONEY; I can hardly imagine a better attractant than a hive reeking of the good stuff. IDK if the warning has merit or not, but your finish is a great one.

  6. #6
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    Thanks for sharing i would have never thought of that...where can one find the pigment?
    mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    http://www.sinopia.com/pigments.aspx

    http://www.realmilkpaint.com/powder.html

    Obviously there are others and you can purchase them locally through craft or artist supply stores. Remember that the amount being sold (per lb. or 500 gram -- a pound is 454 grams) is enough to tint many gallons of milk paint depending on your choice. Again, putting you in control.

    As the Real Milk Paint points out, make sure the pigments are lime proof if you follow the slack (hydrated) lime recipe. Not all craft stores will be knowledgeable about this, that's why I make my own or go with the online sources when there's a color I can't formulate. I have tried bentonite clay (I use it as a clarifier with my wines) but it seems to bear out the claim that it'll make the finish powdery. Jury's still out but I don't use it anymore. I just don't see that it adds anything positive to the equation.

    - Tim

    P.S. -- Be careful, once the word is out that you make milk paint and what you use for the ingredients, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of being the recipient of anonymous doorstep donations of dairy products that are past their expiration date, in some cases considerably so. About the only non-anonymous donors are the ones that want you to mix up some milk paint for them, or - worse! - they also leave the item to be painted. Yes, by YOU... I think it's time to make up a sign. ...using milk paint, of course!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    I didn't know about the milk but you guys looking for pigment
    I had used it years ago with concrete (stucco) to make Cut Brick
    so this may help y'all to find it locally
    all kinds of colors

    Tommyt

  9. #9
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    Dec 2009
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    Deposit,NY
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    I had heard of Milk Paint years ago but have never made/used it. Interesting to note that I grew up on a small dairy farm! We fed "fresh" milk to pigs if we were raising a couple. (for those who don't know, fresh milk is from a newly freshened cow and is not acceptable for market - usually fed to the calf but there is always a surplus). Not too many farms left in my area but I will be asking my neighbor.

    Thanks for the reminder.
    Cheers,
    Paul VanSlyke

  10. #10
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    Los Angeles, California, USA
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    I'm using a 5-1 cottage cheese to hydrated lime slurry, bulked up with "whitening powder" (calcium carbonate- chalk) and tinted with titanium dioxide. I could see myself using only chalk and omitting the titanium dioxide, it provides a white but not opaque look that allows a little of the wood grain to show through. It looks nice and antique, fine cracking and crystallization if you look closely. I'm using just enough chalk to get the mixture thick enough to stick to the brush and wood.

    I'm a fan so far, and at roughly $5/quart with no VOC's, I'm thinking on going with milk paint permanently.

  11. #11
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    A gallon of fine exterior latex tinted a wrong shade goes for about $8 in my neck of the woods from a local hardware store. It last forever and does not require the extra labor.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    Yeah there are other threads that extoll the virtues of "oops" paint ( http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ng-hive-bodies ). This thread is talking about a no VOC alternative to commercial paints, milk paints specifically. I personally believe in a DIY approach to beekeeping (soon I'll be making my own wooden ware) and having the ability to formulate my own paint is worth the $5(or even less) per quart. If I had hundreds of hives to paint I might think differently, but until that time comes I appreciate milk paint.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Milk Paint

    Throwing my 2 cents in here. Years and years ago, when my grandmother was alive and nearing middle age (which turned out to be about 70 for her) my uncle volunteered to repaint her barn that seemed to require a coat of paint every third or fourth year. He had just moved to Vermont and decided to scrape the old cedar siding down and paint it with old fashioned milk paint made near where he lived. We spent about a week scraping the old layers off. Latex over oil over who knows what. Then we painted. No primer. Just milk paint. My grandmother died in her mid '90's and the barn looked near as good as when my uncle finished it up. Now maybe it's because we scraped. Or maybe it was because we were darned good painters but I suspect that it had as much to do with the quality of that milk paint as anything else. Reading this thread gets me thinking that I'll try it sometime soon...maybe on my 200+ year old barn. I'm not a latex fan so I do a lot of oil base (which sadly, isn't what it used to be and that's when you can get it) but maybe it's time to go back to stuff that really worked. Again, just my 2 cents.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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