Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY


Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint

By Miss Mustard Seed on May 01, 2012
 Man, I have been swamped!!  I had no idea my big announcement would cause my inbox to be flooded!  It’s all good, though, and very exciting.  I was getting very stressed out at the scale of everything I’m doing right now (because it’s just me and sometimes Mini) and a wise reader left a very timely comment.  She said, “Run your business, don’t let it run you.”  Awesome.  Just what I needed.  Everything that’s going on can be as big or as small as I want it to be and I don’t have to let it get beyond what I’m ready for.  I lost who left that comment in the mass of e-mails, but thank you.  It was just what I needed.
I have received a bunch of questions about ASCP, mainly people wondering if I’ll still use it if I’m carrying my own line of milk paint.  The short answer is yes.  The long answer is a post I wrote a while ago and I decided to bring it out and dust it off for the occasion.

First, let’s look at examples of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint (ASCP)…

…and some examples of milk paint (MP)…

So, let’s now put them side-by-side…

What does the paint look like?

MP: Comes in a brown paper bag in a powdered form and has to be mixed with water.
ASCP: Comes in quarts, premixed.

Do you have to use primer?

MP: No, but you do have to add a bonding agent if you want the paint to grip to non-porous surfaces. I do not use the bonding agent, since I like an antique look.  The nice thing about the bonding agent is it’s not a separate primer.  It’s something you add to the paint, so it’s still one step.
ASCP: No. ASCP has great gripping power and primer isn’t necessary.

Do you have to sand before painting?

No for both paints.

Do you have to use wax or a topcoat?

MP: No, but I would suggest it. You can use either a wax or poly topcoat to protect the paint from moisture and wear.
ASCP: No, but again, I would suggest it. The only time I don’t use wax is on a piece that won’t get a lot of wear and I don’t mind if the paint gets distressed naturally.

Can the colors be mixed to make custom colors?

MP: Yes and the colors mix beautifully. The available colors are definitely more “primitive country” with mustard yellows and barn reds, but they have some beautiful blues, greens and grays and all colors can be mixed to suit your taste.
ASCP: Yes and the colors mix beautifully as well. The available colors are inspired by European cities and antique furniture, so they are right up my alley.

How can you apply the paint?

Both paints can be applied with a brush, roller or sprayer.

Do the paints distress well?

MP: Milk paint is unpredictable in how it will distress. Sometimes it grips really well and just comes off in a fine powder. Other times the paint cracks and flakes away, creating this wonderful chippy look. You just have to go with it!
ASCP: Comes off in a fine powder when sanded before waxing. It’s easy to control the amount of wear and results in a soft, distressed finish. (Annie prefers to distress after waxing, so the paint is rubbed back.)

Do I have to distress these paints?


Why should I use ASCP or MP instead of latex?

Latex has its place and won’t ever be removed from my paint shelf, but I love ASCP and MP for furniture. Both of them are fun to work with and give pieces an authentic, old feel and they distress much better than latex.

Which paint do you like better?

Both. That’s not a wishy-washy answer, it’s the truth. I really love both of these paints and decide which I use depending on the piece of furniture, the look I’m going for and my mood.  Even with my own milk paint line, I will continue to love and use ASCP.

I know this is not a comprehensive comparison, but I hope this answers some general questions.

(By the way, this post was not sponsored by a milk paint company or ASCP. It’s just my opinion.)

Visit Miss Mustard Seed »

blog comments powered by Disqus