|paint samples of various milk paint colors (left side is semi-opaque, right side is translucent)|
To separate the curds from the whey, you basically are souring milk. You can do this one of two ways: 1) let your milk stand in a warm place for several days, undisturbed, and with the lid slightly off OR 2) you can speed the process up by adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar or lemon juice per gallon of milk. The key is to leave the milk completely undisturbed in order for the curds to develop into large particles. If you shake or stir the milk while it is souring, the curds become small and difficult or impossible to strain out. There is a fabulous instructional video online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb2pE6Ge-0Q
I have had the best results with 1% or 2% milk, but theoretically any milk will work. Once your milk has soured and separated, you will see white chunks floating over a clear yellowish liquid. This means your milk is done! Strain the curds through a fine strainer or in cheese cloth to discard the liquidy whey. If you are painting walls, I recommend rinsing the curds in cold water a few times to remove any residual whey.
To make milk glaze...
...a translucent pigmented glaze that will cover approximately 40 SF
1 cup strained milk curds (see above)
1½ Tablespoon borax (such as 20 Mule Team, available in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets; optional but I always add it if I'm painting a wall)
¼ cup hot water
approximately 2 Tablespoons pigment (or as desired)
Dissolve the borax completely in the hot water. Then slowly whisk into the strained milk curds. Stir thoroughly until lump-free. Add pigment to the desired color. This will make a translucent glaze-type paint. If you want to make an opaque paint, you can add 1/2 cup whiting (purchased from an artist supplier and soaked in water overnight) to the recipe above. Tip for adding pigment: you can soak your pigment in water overnight and then strain it through cheesecloth if you want to be sure all of your pigment gets fully dissolved in the paint.
To make milk paint...
...an opaque pigmented paint that will cover approximately 20 SF
1 cup strained milk curds
1½ T borax
¼ cup hot water
2-3T (35g) pigment (or as desired)
½ cup (100g) whiting* (soaked in cold water for 24 hours)
Dissolve borax in hot water & allow to cool. Add borax mixture to strained milk curds & stir thoroughly. Add whiting & pigment to desired color. Can be thinned with additional water. Apply in thin coats, allowing each coat to dry between, or the paint will tend to crack or flake off.
*whiting is high grade calcium carbonate made from finely powdered chalk that can be purchased from any artist supply shop; it is what makes the milk paint opaque.
To paint with milk glaze or paint...
Use any standard application technique: brush, roller, or sponge. The translucent glaze can be layered with complimentary colors. Apply the paint in thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely (about 1 to 2 hours).
For more general information about natural paints, and links to other natural paint recipes, see our previous blog post: Paint it Green!...with natural paints
I included this book in my last post, but it really is by far my favorite book on natural paint. The format resembles a cookbook...recipes on one side and a photo of what the paint looks like on the other. This book contains tons of information and inspiration.
|click cover for more info or to purchase|