Milk Paint: A Great Non-Toxic Paint

by ziggy on March 23, 2016 -- 0 comments -- Follow

Milk Paint (Non-Toxic Paint) on Drywall

Milk paint can be used on drywall, even previously painted drywall

If there’s one particularly insidious building product, it must be paint. Conventional paint has a surprisingly high level of embodied energy, and the ill health impacts of the VOCs found in conventional latex paint are well-documented. When we decided to repaint the walls of our house this winter, we knew very early on that we wanted to go the non-toxic paint route. The prospective product had to have zero VOCs, be safe to use and dispose of, and not contribute to decreased indoor air quality. Ideally, it would be from natural materials. Thankfully, we found something that fit the bill.

Milk Paint: A Great Non-Toxic Paint Choice

Having worked with milk paint before (including using it on some of our Windsor chairs), we thought we’d like to experiment with milk paint on drywall. Thankfully, the Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Co. actually makes a formula specifically for covering up existing latex paint, including really glossy stuff. We sent away for a free sample, and ultimately decided to go with their “Safepaint” milk paint thanks to ease of use, consistency of color, and our overall trust in the product and company.

Note: yes, you can make your own milk paint, and I’ve done it in the past, but for consistency’s sake and the fact that Safepaint easily goes over previously painted drywall… it was worth the expense. Actually, the cost is equivalent to buying cans of paint in the store, but what you get is a much safer, much less smelly, and (I think) much more attractive finish.

Safepaint Overview & Review

Safepaint comes in powder form in brown paper bags, and it’s very easy to mix. Basically, you slowly add enough water to the powder to get the desired thickness that you want. Using a drill with a paint mixing paddle makes mixing up big batches a breeze, and the final consistency is very similar to a latex paint product. (Sometimes, you have to add more water after the initial mix as it takes a few minutes for the paint to absorb all the liquid.) The paint can be applied with a roller or brush.

Safepaint Milk Paint Review

Safepaint milk paint can be applied with a roller, just like regular ol’ paint

The trickiest aspect to using the milk paint is the edging around ceilings, doors, and windows. We found it very difficult to blend edges with the main field, and even now it’s apparent where we edged. I’m not sure if you can chalk that up to our skill (or lack thereof) or something else… but overall that was the only real challenge in using the Safepaint. It might be that we needed to thin our paint mix more for our edging work.

Other things to note: the color palette is awesome. Milk paint is very matte, which I like, and the tones are all very earthy… and for good reason: all the colors come from natural pigments. In particular, I’m a big fan of the yellow that we chose for our bedroom. It’s bright, clean, and the effect of the sun shining on the walls is really awesome. It brightens up my day. Note: we actually cut all of our colors with white, to a tune of 1:1. The colors are very very saturated, and cutting them with white brightened them up significantly but still maintained the beautiful hues.

We found that the paint actually covers more square footage than what the company estimates, which is good… although that meant we bought too many bags. Thankfully, we were able to return a few without any troubles.

Yellow Milk Paint on Drywall Interior

Here’s Safepaint in Marigold Yellow, cut with white at 1:1

On a side note: it feels really great to be able to take a paint tray or bucket outside, clean it with the garden hose, and not worry that you’re getting nasty chemical funk all over your grass. I wouldn’t feel good doing that with any kind of conventional paint. With the Safepaint, I feel completely assured that it’s not only safe to use indoors, but very safe to dispose of as well.

If you’re looking for an alternative to latex or acrylic paints for the interior of your home, consider using milk paint. It’s may not be for everyone, but there’s every reason in the world to at least get a free sample and give it a try. It’s very sweet stuff.

P.S. Looking for more natural paint ideas? Check out my recipe and how-to guide for making your own clay paint for a totally different look and feel!

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