Milk paint is thousands of years old, and it’s quite possibly the first paint humans used. It shows up in the pyramids, on cave walls and in the U.S. on painted furniture and walls from our Colonial era.
The basic formula consists of a mixture of milk, lime and earth pigments — three items that were common to any Colonial farm. History suggests itinerant painters of the time brought along their own pigments to mix with local milk and lime. Although other additives have been tried over the years, including drying oils, chalk, calcium carbonate, albumin and hide glue, the basic mixture still works just fine today.
Why should you consider using such old technology in this day and age? Milk paint has a lot going for it, especially in today’s climate of chemically aware consumers. It’s green, in that you mix it by hand, it contains no petrochemicals, it’s made of local, all natural ingredients, and it’s nontoxic, environmentally friendly, biodegradable and contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or HAPs (hazardous air pollutants).
The milk paint you can buy today looks like, and in fact is, the same thing they used back in the old days, yet it’s the ideal product for today’s trendy “shabby chic” look. Sold in powdered form, it has a very long shelf life, since you mix only what you need. It’s easy to apply, and once it goes onto your walls or furniture, it is surprisingly durable. After drying, its sheen is dead