Casein or Milk paint has been around for decades—no, centuries. It is a lime-based dry powder that when mixed with water, painted, and let to dry is an inert and sturdy wall (or furniture) treatment. A few weeks before my son, Pierce, was born my husband and I were scrambling to make a nest for the baby. Even though he would be in our room for a while, we knew that eventually we would want a safe, cozy place to put him so we could reclaim some autonomy (Did I mention that this was my first kid? Autonomy, ha!). Aaron laid down pre-finished cork and the salvaged latex house paint already had many months to off-gas.
Before paint and before baby!
We decided to “white-wash” the unfinished wood wainscoting with milk paint. I went on over to Meadowbrook Hardware (…my favorite local hardware store). Meadowbrook carries paint from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company based out of Massachusetts.
Odorless, antiquey, from New England and a bit pricey, it’s the preppiest paint on the market. The detailed instructions walk you carefully through what amounts to essentially dumping the powdered paint and some tap water into a bucket. Then, after you’ve put on your old loafers, rolled up the sleeves of that ancient Brooks Brothers button-down and tightened that Nantucket belt, you’re ready to go (kidding).
I made a somewhat thin mix and used a natural bristle brush to paint the stuff on. Any drip got wiped up with a damp cloth and within an hour the whole thing was dry and ready for a second coat.
The baby’s room ended up looking cozy thanks to the milk paint and has already withstood some “antiquing” thanks to our son.
After the milk paint.
Close-up of the knot holes and everything!
Have you used Milk paint? Success? Regrets?
Did you know that you can make your own milk paint? You can! Check out this site for a truly DIY version.