Ancient artwork found on cave walls and unearthed artifacts reveal the application of a form of Milk Paint. Milk Paint has been found on some the oldest colored surfaces ever documented. Milk Paint uses milk as its principal ingredient, acting as a binder for pigments the same way polymers do in latex paints and oils do in oil-based paints. Milk paint has been found on artifacts dating to ancient Egypt, although it’s perhaps most commonly associated with colonial-era furniture. In colonial America, the original milk paint formula was extremely prevalent, due to its practicality. Since nearly every household had livestock of some sort, milk was readily available. Lime was also typically in supply in most communities, so only the color pigments were needed. Milk Paint doesn’t give off noxious vapors (VOCs) which accounts for its use in today’s green building community. For most of history, milk paint has been used, not because it is a green paint, but because it is an effective paint, made from a simple formula.
Milk paint is a water-based paint made from milk and lime, with or without pigments added for color. Borax may be added to the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative. Milk Paint is biodegradable, non-toxic, and odor-free when dry. It is an authentic finish for use in the restoration of antiques or in the reproduction of antique furniture. It comes in rich colors that are durable and do not fade.
Chemical based paints have become more popular primarily because historically Milk Paint had a short shelf life. But new modern techniques have eliminated the shelf life problem. Most modern Milk Paint is sold as a powder. The Milk Paint powder can be stored indefinitely. When it is ready to be used all you need to do is add water. Left over Milk Paint can be stored overnight as long as it is sealed and refrigerated.
If you are looking for a paint that will have an authentic finish for use in the restoration of antiques, or of you want to give your new home a warm feeling, Milk Paint is the way to go. Beyond giving your home a warm and welcoming aesthetic look you will be doing something good for your family and the environment.