Milk Paint Trial


This afternoon I have been trialling Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint supplied to me by Juniper and Roses, following a conversation with Graham Haydon of G S Haydon & Son – a very fine joiner based in Devon, he was asking about historical paints to use on a project that he has underway. This triggered a spark in the depths of my memory;

“Made of milk powder, limestone, clay, and natural pigments,  it’s all natural (organic, biodegradable and Zero VOC!) and behaves very differently from its more modern counterparts like latex and acrylics. The paint comes in a powder form which is simply mixed with warm water prior to use.  It provides a beautiful matte finish that shows amazing variances in the colours, giving a variety of modern, authentic, antique and textured looks”.

I promptly ordered a sample or two and here we are – now that you are up to speed lets talk about the project;


In one of my many spare bedrooms in the East Wing (next to the library and indoor clay pigeon range), I stumbled upon this piece of furniture that I had bought many years ago and I have to say is pretty unremarkable (other than being Edwardian and Oak).

Following the instructions to the letter, the preparation than I undertook was extensive… well,… no actually… erm,… with Milk Paint, there is no preparation (as long as you have a Polyurethane Varnish on the substrate, you are good to go!).

Next the paint; pouring the sachet of powder into a jug and added warm water. I mixed it with a spoon until the “paint” was smooth and that was that; paint ready.


OK, so I had to adhere to some of my painterly traits; lining paper on floor, 3M 2090 tape to marble top etc. Then off I went with the first coat; I had been warned that it was “unlike any other paint that you may have used”… it was,… I do have technical words to describe what I initially thought, but this is a family show! It was quite literally like painting milk, it resisted in places, soaked into others and generally flowed exactly where I didn’t want it to.

However, I persisted, and coated the whole washstand – hung my head and sobbed in a corner for an hour.


After about an hour (had to reapply my mascara, these things take time), I went back to the piece to see what the damage was – I was pleasantly surprised – it looked better than I had expected. I applied a second coat, this seemed to apply easier and looked pretty good. When I had completed this coat I had a slight jolly skip in my step, I sat and had a rather fine cup of coffee.


Another hour and it was time for the bit that I was looking forward to; simple take a scrapper and run it all over the surface of the painted furniture – similar to a distemper, in some places it adheres, in others it doesn’t… During my working life I am generally concerned with the exact and perfect, it was really quite refreshing to ‘let my hair down’ and let the paint do its own thing. Miss Mustard Seed calls this the “Chippy” look… I think I’ll say distressed.

IMG_1862All that was left to do was a quick wipe over with Hemp Oil to finish and Bob’s your Aunties Ferret; one distressed Edwardian Oak washstand!

For a Sunday, I have experienced lows followed by highs with this project… if you are expecting a paint product that flows like a modern paint, that is easy to control and gives a reliable exact finish, then this product is definitely not for you. However, if you are interested in growing your repertoire and are willing to hand over the finish to the wind (somewhat), this Milk Paint is a real winner.

I shall be recommending its use. Such Fun! (Miranda’s Mom style voice).



2 thoughts on “Milk Paint Trial

  1. G S H

    Brilliant Martin. That’s a really interesting article and food for thought on my project. Do you think by starting with bare new timber I could avoid the distressed look?


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