Making milk paint

My girlfriend recycled an old Ikea shelving unit (I think it was a Gorm or something) into this planter. We want to grow peas and beans against this wall because it gets a lot of sun. To protect the wood and make it look a little prettier, we wanted to paint it. So we tried our hands at making milk paint.

Making milk paint - ingredients

These are the ingredients:

-The curd from 1 liter (1 quart) of milk (to make this, add 1 cup of vinegar to the milk at room temperature and let it stand overnight. Sift it through a cheesecloth and drain well)
-28 grams of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide)
-As much pigment as needed. I used something called “kalk blauw licht” from Verfmolen de Kat. It’s a Phthalocyanine based blue pigment containing chalk and bariumsulfate. I know, that sounds scary, but it’s harmless.
-Boiled linseed oil to make the paint weatherproof (optional, and you could use raw linseed oil if you’re worried about toxicity. It will just need a bit more protection while drying.)

Making milk paint

Stir the lime through the curd. This will make the curd thin.

Making milk paint

Making milk paint

Stir through pigment until it looks right.

Making milk paint

Test the paint on scraps. The first coat will be very transparant. This recipe does not make a thick paint.

Making milk paint

milk paint test

I tested several techniques on this board. The paint on the top left was a bit too much. This resulted in peeling. The top right was several thinner coats, followed by a coat of linseed oil. This is what we went for with the planter.

planter before

The planter before painting…

Making milk paint


…and after. Oh, and see those nice shavings next to the planter? Those are from the hewing bench. New blog post on that coming soon.

Update: I just took this picture below (31 May 2014). As you can see, the planter is a bit dirty but all the paint is still there.

Planter Milk Paint

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