Tips for Using Milk Paint

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Tips for using milk paint.

I’ve used milk paint a handful of times (kitchen shelf, toy cabinet). And I know milk paint is supposed to be unpredictable. But if I’m going to go to all that trouble and expense to use milk paint, I want it to chip. Like really, really, really chip.

I’ve only been able to get milk paint to chip this way once before. It was a beautiful thing watching that paint just flake off.

The other times I’ve tried to help the milk paint along by sanding, scrapping, spraying with water, leaving it in the sun, and I even used a blow dryer on it once thinking the heat would help the chipping process. But none of that has worked. Until I stumbled upon this little trick today. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before.

how-to-mix-milk-paintI’ve had this cabinet sitting in my garage for exactly a year. This was the same cabinet I striped using a garbage bag, you can read all about that process here.

Anyways, have you seen the new milk paint line from Sweet Pickens yet? Well it’s awesome. And much cheaper than other brands. I paid only $14 for 6 oz (which is more than enough to paint a large dresser). I ordered some this week and thought the Sea Green would be the perfect paint for this little cabinet.


I loved working with Sweet Pickins milk paint. It mixed up so easily. With other brands it always seems too runny or too thick and I can never get it right.


It immediately began to chip. But not as much as I wanted.

frog-tape-milk-paintAnd this is when I discovered the perfect method for getting the paint to peel. I had used Frog Tape when painting the insets of the cabinets with Miss Mustard Seed Grain Sack and when I pulled the tape off it gave me the perfect aged look. Took off just the right amount of paint.

So that’s what I did, just took strips of painters tape, stuck them all over and ripped them off. Just like a band-aid.

tricks-for-getting-milk-paint-to-chipYou can also wrap some tape around your hand (I swear I have a pinky finger in this photo), sticky side out. And lightly tape it along the parts of the cabinet that you want to age.

how-to-milk-paint-to-flakeOn the parts that had already flaked I used a putty knife to easily scrape that paint off (no need to waste Frog Tape on that).

sanding-milk-paintI had to sand the really intricate parts.

milk-paint-waxAnd of course finish with some furniture wax. Sweet Pickins also sells her own versions, I just already had this in my stockpile. But once it’s gone, I’ll be buying Sweet Pickins.


And yes I’m aware this cabinet is topless. Still need to build a top for it.


sweet-pickins-milk-paint-cabinetIt may be another year or more before I figure out what to use for the top of this cabinet. But at least it’s painted.

If you love milk paint and want to see more makeovers follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter

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28 thoughts on “Tips for Using Milk Paint

  1. So glad to hear that somebody else has trouble getting milk paint to chip! Good grief – I have not been able to figure out what I am doing wrong – have thinned it, thickened it, let it sit, and on and on….. I wish it would chip on it ‘s own but happy to hear about this technique which I will try on my next piece. I have used MMSMP and cannot get it to chip barely at all so when I am done with my packages of paint, I am going to switch to Sweet Pickens! Would be wonderful to have paint that would chip easily and I’m excited to hear about the tape technique. Thanks!

  2. If you haven’t figured out what to do with the cabinet, turn it into a sink stand. I have seen them do that on Fixer Upper and love the idea!!!

  3. I love this really distressed look. I especially like the milk paint tips. I’ve only worked with latex and have really wanted to try milk paint but wasn’t sure where to start. Thanks for the tips and love the cabinet!!

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  5. Chalk paint doesnt just chip off like the photo where it’s all crackly. Did you use a crackle medium?? Im trying to get a chippy look too! I can see some chips with tape method but u have major crackles. How?? I notice painting in cold temps sometimes crackles.

  6. Love the idea for frog tape; will try it next time I paint. I’m also wondering why you like Sweet Pickens better than the other milk paint??

  7. Will the furniture wax keep the paint from chipping further? I love the chipped look, but I wouldn’t really want more paint chips all over my floor everytime my kids bump into the furniture piece.

  8. Love the project! Just a few questions: Do you put the funiture wax on light or heavy? What does it do for the milk paint? Does it prevent it from chipping anymore?

    Thank you

  9. I’d never heard of Sweet Pickins milk paint. Why will you be buying their brand instead of Miss Mustard Seeds? If you’d rather answer me in an email that’s fine. I’ve yet to order any milk paint due to lack of funds but when I do order I’d like to know why you prefer Sweet Pickins. Please reply to: Thank you. Like how you redid your cupboard. I’m not too much for the chipping and distressing as people here just don’t seem to like it at all. All I hear are derogative remarks about why would they want to spend money on something that looks beat up. I live about 18 miles west of Grand Junction, CO on western side of Rockies.
    I lived in KY before where people loved the shabby, distressed look but not here. I wonder if I’m just not doing it right but I’ve asked people at shows and they don’t like distressed. Sometimes it’s hard to know what they do like.
    Happy weekend

  10. I’ve done this before using latex paint! But didn’t think about using it for milk paint – duh! AWEsome. Your cabinet is beautiful.

  11. not sure I like how much you took off… but you like it and that’s what counts!
    as for the top you could put a piece of butcher block on it and use it as a “center island” in the kitchen or out in the garden by the bbq? Just a thought.

  12. LOVE how it turned out!! And love seeing my paint being used!! The tape idea is fun and works great – i actually did that on some tables i finished up recently :) What about a wood planked top – super rustic to match that cute dresser :)

  13. I LOVE this cabinet! What a great idea to use the painters tape. (I am going to have to try some of that Sweet Pickens, once I use up some of what I have already.)

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