The Pros and Cons of Milk Paint

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

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If you have ever wanted to try milk paint, but are a little concerned, let me walk you through the process.

I am by no means an expert, but I have used it enough to form some opinions of my own. It is my paint of choice for most projects.

Of course, nothing beats a can of spray paint sometimes!

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Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

But, if I am painting a piece of wood furniture, I reach for milk paint. I use the Miss Mustard Seed milk paint the most because of it’s beautiful color line.

First, lets go over the pros and cons and then I will share some of my recent projects.

The Pros

  • History- Milk paint is the oldest paint in the world. I’m talking, cave paintings and Egyptian tombs! It is a simple mixture of dried milk, pigments and lime. You can actually find recipes on Pinterest to make your own milk paint. There is just something about working with a product that is time tested and ancient that really appeals to me.
  •  All Natural- Because the paint is made with natural ingredients, it can be used on wooden toys and nursery furniture, etc. I don’t mind it getting on my skin or rinsing my brush in the kitchen sink.
  •  Water Based– If you have used milk paint before you know that it usually comes in a powder form. You have to add water and get the powder to mix in really well. It is simple to clean up and I have even gotten it out of my good jeans, that one time I was rushing and didn’t change into my painting clothes!
  • Minimal Prep- Just a light cleaning and sanding will do for most pieces.
  • Artistic Finish– This final point is the main reason I love it the most.  Usually, you will need two to three coats of milk paint.  You will sand in between coats and finish with a wax or oil. Because there are tiny pigments in the paint, when you sand little streaks of different colors show up, giving it an almost iridescent finish. It is also famous for its tendency to randomly chip and flake giving it that time worn look.

When I used two different colors (first coat-flow blue and second coat-artissimo) on this dresser and then sanded some place down more than others, the pigments really made an impact!

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

The Cons

  • Expensive- A little on the expensive side, but it does go a long way. I only needed one package of milk paint for my entire piano.
  • Needs to be Mixed – I recommend a tiny hand mixer for this. You are going for the consistency of pancake batter. And, really, its kind of hard to screw up, you can keep adding water or paint powder, as needed.
  • Needs to be Sealed-  It is an extra step, but it really brings the piece to life and makes it really durable. My favorites are the white, clear or dark  finishing waxes.
  • Doesn’t do Well on Veneer- Milk paint’s “chippy” quality goes overboard on veneer, so if that is going to bother you, I suggest trying chalk paint instead.

This beautiful ebook by Danielle Driscoll is my go-to manual now for painting furniture.

She goes in depth on furniture types, brushes, clean up, tips and tricks for the entire process!

How to Paint a Piano, Chalk paint, painted piano, home improvement project, Upcycling, milk paint, furniture makeover, reveal, before and after to Paint a Piano, Upcycling, milk paint, furniture makeover, reveal, before and after

Some of My Milk Paint Projects

My first project.

Yes, I paint out on this one stump in my front yard.

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

That nautical dresser I sold on Craigslist to a sweet little, teenager who was giving her room a makeover.

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Ikea stool in kitchen, love, love, love.

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

And my latest, my grandparents’ piano.

Painting a piano is not as hard as you might think, use this tutorial to transform any piano for a fresh, new look.

Painting a piano is not as hard as you might think, use this tutorial to transform any piano for a fresh, new look.

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  1. Dana
    February 28, 2017 / 11:19 AM

    So informative! What color and wax did you use on the dresser, Sarah?

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 1, 2017 / 7:31 AM

      Great question, I just updated the post, too.

      I used two different colors on the dresser. First coat is Flow Blue by Miss Mustard Seed and the second coat is Altissimo, finishing the entire piece with the dark antiquing wax. Hope that helps!!

  2. February 28, 2017 / 2:38 PM

    Thanks for this post! I have been wondering if I should give milk paint a try on some furniture I’ll be refinishing, and I think it might be just what I’m looking for. Out of curiosity, what camera/lens do you use for your photos? They have a beautiful quality to them I just love!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:29 AM


      I use an older Canon Rebel model that I bought off Ebay a few years ago and this lens

      The lens is really where the magic happens!

  3. Debbie Reynolds
    February 28, 2017 / 5:13 PM

    My go to paint is Miss Mustard Seed, also! I love the finish of this paint and it is so easy!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:30 AM


      You are a girl after my own heart!

  4. Tanya Hulbert
    February 28, 2017 / 9:57 PM

    You have transformed quite a few pieces now and they look amazing! I really love, love the piano especially. I may have to give this a try. I even have a small table that I could try.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:31 AM

      I know you could do it and I really think you would love using milk paint!

  5. February 28, 2017 / 10:11 PM

    Omg, again, so informative and your pieces are fabulous!!!
    I love where you paint outside!!! Girl, you are a talent to watch and I can’t wait for the next project !!??❤️?

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:32 AM

      You are the sweetest, you just made my day!

  6. March 2, 2017 / 6:34 PM

    Thank you for this! I just found your blog via Bless’er House! I just received my first Miss Mustard Seed milk paint and I am so excited to try it out!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:33 AM

      Oh yay! I’m so glad you came from Lauren’s blog, she is a dear friend. And I am so excited for you to love milk paint!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:34 AM

      You are so kind! I am not able to take on any more link parties, but I do hope it is a huge success! xoxo

  7. March 5, 2017 / 10:04 AM

    Thanks for a well timed post. I am considering milk paint for a project and it is good to learn all you can beforehand. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:34 AM

      Yay!! I’m so glad it helped!

  8. March 6, 2017 / 5:12 PM

    Loving the tips you gave. I have been buying chalk pant from the local craft store to save money. I have always wanted to try milk paint but the price always stops me.

    Oh btw…LOVE your painting stool. That made me laugh. At first I thought you did some awesome chippy outdoor table. lol

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:35 AM

      Haha, a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do!! I hope your try some milk paint, even just a sample.;)

  9. March 10, 2017 / 1:17 PM

    Oh, wow! I’m smitten with this dresser. I also love MMS Milk Paint. It’s fabulous. Thank you so much for the kind words about my eBook xx

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 11, 2017 / 12:37 AM

      Danielle, this means a lot to me! The dresser totally makes me think of you and your book is fantastic. xoxo

  10. Leslie
    March 12, 2017 / 6:41 AM

    Can you please share how you applied the seahorse to the front of the dresser? Stencil??

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      March 12, 2017 / 10:09 PM


      I used a seahorse image that I printed off of the graphics fairy website. There are directions on her site for how to blow up and image and print the size you want right on your printer. Then, I taped my four pages together and smeared chalk all over the back. After taping it in place on the dresser, I traced the seahorse outline with a pencil, which made a faint chalkline transfer onto the dresser. Finally, I just took some chalk paint and painted in the seahorse. I hope that makes sense!

  11. Brenda Tayler
    August 22, 2019 / 3:17 AM

    I just used milk paint on my cupboards and will seal it with GF sealer. I didn’t know milk paint chipped or would not it have used it. Will it chip with the sealer? Thanks

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      October 31, 2019 / 10:13 PM

      I’m sorry, how disappointing. Once you seal it, the paint will stop chipping. But, if you want to guard against all chipping, you will need to add a bonding agent into the paint to start with.

  12. Elizabeth Ann Maher
    January 11, 2022 / 8:46 AM

    How many coats of milk paint would you use to cover a dining table?

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 18, 2022 / 9:26 PM

      Hello Elizabeth! I usually do two coats of paint, sometimes three!

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