What's the Formula for Milk Paint?
Q: My grandfather, a carpenter in rural Pennsylvania, made his own milk paint using common household items. Now that I'm into this bit I would like to make some milk paint. Do you have a formula for this?
Michael Dresdner: In the days before home stores, paint was often made at home. Milk paint was made from old curdled milk or cottage cheese, lime and earth pigment for color. Here's one 19th century formula courtesy of Dwayne Siever, but to be honest, there's a much easier way. You can buy it ready-to-mix at http://www.realmilkpaint.com or pre-mixed at Rockler.
1 quart skim milk (room temperature)
1 ounce of hydrated lime (not quick lime) by weight
1 to 2 1/2 pounds of chalk may also be added as a filler.
Stir enough skim milk into hydrated lime to make a cream. Add balance of skim milk. Now add sufficient amount of limeproof powder pigment to create the desired color and consistency. Stir well for a few minutes before using and during use. Extra paint may be kept for several days in the refrigerator, until the milk sours.
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