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Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint

Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint

One of the most popular questions that I get asked is what is the difference between Milk Paint and Chalk Paint.  We sell both of these lines of paint in our studio The Lemonade Stand, and I have been using both of them for some time now.  Both paints are unique and offer different results.  Let's start with Milk Paint.


Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (MMSMP) is the line of paint that we carry in the studio, and the paint that I have been using the longest!  I fell in love with it the minute I tried it.  It comes in a powdered form and is mixed with water before use.  Because it comes in a powdered form, it has an everlasting shelf life.  However, the minute you mix it is becomes perishable, so you only want to mix as much as you need.  If you have some left over you can cover it with Saran Wrap and put it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

MMSMP can be used as both a paint and a stain.  When mixing paint you add 1 part water to 1 part powder.  As a stain, 4 parts water to 1 part powder.  You can mix it in a plastic container, mason jar, or paper cup.  Use a spoon, stir stick or mini whisk.  Once mixed it will have a cream consistency.  

MMSMP does not have a bonding agent in it.  This means that on a pre-finished surface, the paint will likely not stick everywhere, creating an authentic chippy look.  The glossier the finish, the less likely it will stick.  You do have to be open to this process as there is no control to where the paint will stick.  If you do not want this to happen, you can apply the bonding agent to the mixed paint - 1 part mixture to 1 part bonding agent.  

MMSMP does not leave any brush strokes, and once sanded, feels like butter.  Once painted you can protect your piece with either hemp oil (my personal favourite) or furniture wax.


  • affordable
  • no prep required although I recommend giving any piece a light scuff
  • 25 gorgeous colours, many European inspired
  • creates authentic chipping - something no other paint can do
  • 5 simple ingredients which makes it environmentally friendly
  • feels satiny smooth to the touch
  • leaves no brush strokes
  • mix different powders to create a bespoke colour
  • on raw wood, soaks right in and acts like a stain
  • dries quickly


  • needs to be mixed (although this is something that I love about it)
  • needs to continue stirring paint as you are working on your piece or pigments can separate and turn streaky
  • no control if you are not using the bonding agent

MMSMP is the paint that I started with and will forever hold a special place in my heart.  It is unique, and can create looks like no other paint can.  

Here are some pieces I have completed using MMSMP.

This secretary desk is done using Kitchen Scale with hemp oil to protect it. I did not add any bonding agent and let it do its thing. 

 This washstand was completed using a few different colours.  I painted the first coat using different patches of Schloss, Flow Blue, Trophy and Boxwood.  I then used hemp oil in certain areas to create a resist between the first layer of paint and the second.  My second layer of paint was done using Farmhouse White.

I used Marzipan and antiquing wax for this piece.


The chalk paint that we sell at the studio is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ (ASCP).  The original Chalk Paint, it was invented in 1990.  It is sold in both litres and samples sizes, and comes in 45+ colours.  It is a thick paint that you can use at full strength, or you can water it down to your liking.  It will stick to just about anything, including glass and metal.  It is pretty much fool-proof.

No prep is required for ASCP, although I always recommend giving your piece a light scuff before using any kind of paint.   A litre will go a long way (approximately 140 sq. metres).  If you are using white, you will require more coats.  Most colours typically require 2 coats.  White will require 3-4 coats.

ASCP distresses easily and does require a top coat.  You can use either furniture wax or a lacquer.


  • very easy to use and great for beginners (open can and start painting)
  • great coverage
  • easy to clean and store
  • dries quickly
  • no need to prime most of the time.  Some pieces will have bleeding once you start to paint them, which means you will need a shellac-based primer
  • sticks to many surfaces
  • can be thinned and used in a sprayer
  • distresses easily
  • great for blending to create an ombre look
  • 45+ colours


  • can't create the natural chippy look that MMSMP can
  • more expensive
  • can leave some brush strokes

Here are some pieces I have completed with ASCP.

This piano was painted using Old White and natural furniture wax as a topcoat.


I completed this piece using Graphite and White Wax.


This piece was completed in Chicago Grey and natural furniture wax.

 Let's just talk about staining and bleed through for a moment.  Some stains will bleed through the paint (both MMSMP and ASCP).  Not just reddish type woods (which can cause staining quite a bit), but also just everyday stains.  These paints are more porous, so it allows things to soak through sometimes.  This is when you will need to use a shellac-based primer.  I have tried water-based, and I just don't get the same results with it.  Shellac-based is quite stinky, so if it is something you can do outside or in your garage, that is my recommendation.  

In summary, both paint lines are wonderful to use, and both have their own unique qualities.  

Happy painting everyone!




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