How to Do the Wash Technique With Milk Paint

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Applying a wash to your furniture, walls or cabinets enhances the area with a tinge of color to refresh the look around your home while still showing the natural wood, metal or glass tones or previous paint colors. When you use milk paint for your wash technique, the materials are non-toxic and straightforward to mix and apply. Once you have mixed the milk paint you can apply it in an afternoon to make the wash as transparent or opaque as you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Gallon bucket with lid
  • Milk paint powder
  • Water
  • Paint stir stick
  • Drop cloth
  • Water-based polymer emulsion, if needed
  • Paintbrush or sponge
  • Linseed oil
  • Clean cloth
  • Add to a gallon bucket one part milk paint powder and two parts clean water. Use a paint stir stick to mix the powder and water well.

  • Spread a drop cloth along the floor below the wall or cabinets where you will be painting or under pieces of furniture you want to wash.

  • Add a polymer emulsion to the milk paint mix following the directions on the package for the quantity of paint you're using only if you're painting non-porous items such as metal, glass or areas that are already painted. Skip adding the emulsion for wood and porous areas.

  • Use a paintbrush or sponge to apply the wash evenly along the surface using smooth strokes. Although brush strokes won't show, aim for even coverage across the item or wall or allow a mix of thin and thickly applied areas to appear for a mottled or varied look.

  • Put the lid on your bucket and leave the area to dry for 30 minutes. Reapply more wash following Step 4 to thicken the look of the milk paint using as many layers as desired with 30 minutes of drying time between each layer until you are satisfied with the final look.

  • Leave the area to dry thoroughly for two days. Apply a generous amount of linseed oil to a clean cloth and rub the oil over the furniture, cabinet or wall continuing until the entire area is coated to provide a sufficient seal from dirt and moisture.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a more transparent wash use three parts water in Step 1. For a more solid wash work with equal parts water and powder.
  • Wash your paintbrush or sponge with mild soap and water.

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References

  • "Paint and Color"; Jessica Elin Hirschman; 2002
  • "Modern Paint Effects"; Annie Sloan; 2000
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