Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint ... what's the difference?

Hi hometalkers.
Having used neither one, I'm interested in both. We have a rustic themed event coming up and my almost daughter-in-law asked me to get the scoop. So do you buy it or make it, and what are the good, bad and uglies about each? Keep in mind, we like EASY projects. I knew someone here would be able to help! Thanks in advance.
  6 answers
  • Amber Amber on Feb 26, 2014
    Milk Paint automatically chips off in a realistic way, that mimics age and wear on a piece of furniture. Chalk Paint can be used to cover laminate, glossy surffaces, old dressers, desks, tables, etc... without priming or sanding first. You have to sand, and wax to get it to look chipped and aged. Look up, she has tonnes of info on the differenrce of the 2 paints. I don't think you can make milk paint, but chalk paint is just regular latex paint, and non-sanded grout, and water. Lots of receipies on line.

  • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Feb 26, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.

  • Cori Warner Cori Warner on Feb 26, 2014
    Milk paint is bought in powder form and mixed up. Miss Mustard's is probably the most well known. It gives a VERY Chippy finish when distressed. Chalk paint can be made by adding plaster of paris to any FLAT paint, making it very affordable and easy to do. Distresses well with a sanding block. For a pretty distressed look, paint a light coat over a dark base color and distress. You can buy chalk paint already mixed, but it will cost you 4 times what you can make it for; roughly $30-$35 per quart. If you want EASY, you can get a chippy look by glopping vaseline on your piece, then spray painting over it with a Satin spray paint. When the paint dries, simply wipe it down and the paint won't stick where the vaseline was, resulting in a chippy look. So you want the vaseline mainly on edges, corners, etc. Once the piece is cleaned of vaseline, wipe it down with a dark Minwax stain and spray with an acrylic sealer. Multi-step, but goes pretty fast.

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    • Cori Warner Cori Warner on Mar 04, 2014
      @Antoinette Raggio I just did a post that has 4 chalk paint recipes, and my 0.02 on each of them at that may be helpful. In addition, I would tell you to invest in a good paint brush, or a foam roller if you want a smooth finish. I seal my chalk paint with either matte polyurethane or Johnson's furniture finishing wax. If you use the wax, a buffer that hooks to your drill is very helpful to get a hard finish.

  • Cindy Gazso Cindy Gazso on Feb 26, 2014
    Chalk Paint® is a brand of paint. It is available in quarts and sample pots and requires no sanding, stripping or priming. When thinned a bit with water my husband and I painted an entire bedroom set with one quart. It has no odor, water based and water clean up, dries in about 20 minutes and can be used inside on furniture, cabinetry, metal and plastic plus outside on concrete, terracotta, shutters and outdoor furniture. Colors can be mixed to create custom colors. We painted our brick fireplace, mantel and built-in cabinets with Chalk Paint® and our friends painted their entire kitchen cabinets using only 2 quarts. We have used it for mixed media art and even painted birdhouses with a children's program. It's a lovely paint and performs flawlessly. You will be delighted with what ever you transform with Chalk Paint®. Check for a store near you at

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    • Vicki K Vicki K on Feb 27, 2014
      Cindy Gazso Hi, did you clean your kit cabs first? Did you seal them after, or just use the wax? Wanting to do my cabs but getting much advice from contractors against chalk paint (anything but stripping & oil enamel!) or lack of prep and sealing. ??? Thanks.

  • Vicki K Vicki K on Feb 27, 2014
    I read you must clean your piece if you don't want a lot of the milk or chalk paint to chip off. Milk paint chips and you sand it after painting to distress it, then apply clear or dark wax to antique it, then wipe the wax off, that's it, it's a soft finish. Chalk paint is made with plaster of paris poured into flat latex paint and some water added, the more water the smoother and less brush strokes you get (you can make it yourself) and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is the most used but I hear it's $. Some people use TSP to scrub their kitchen cabs before using either, kitchens are so greasy. Then Miss Mustard Seed now has a Bonder she adds to her Milk paint that helps it adhere better now than it did, so quite not as chippy (flake off) a look. You wax the chalk paint too, or you can apply clear Minwax Polycrylic for a more durable finish. I'm interested in painting my BR suite is why I learned this. Hope it helps.

    • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Feb 27, 2014
      @Vicki K Thanks so much. It seems that Annie Sloan and Miss Mustard Seed are the places I need to visit next.

  • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks to EVERYONE for all of this valuable information. I will pass it on to my ADIL (almost daughter in law). She'll love it. I'll post pictures here and on the website of any of our finished products. Thanks again.