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Mixing it up with Old Fashioned Milk Paint

So if you haven’t noticed,.. I’ve been starting to get more comfy with real Milk Paint..
The rustic nature that its great for is something I have been scared of…
It works best when you can let go of a bit of control,..
Dare I?  It is on my paint bucket list…

Well something I have also wanted to get more comfortable with is custom mixing milk paint colors.  I want to create colors with a Historic Charleston Foundation such as Charleston Green which was used on shutters and doors many years ago and Haint Blue which was used on porch ceilings.  Charleston Green Paint can be found in a Sherwin Williams paint deck but not really in a milk paint recipe. It seems that wouldn’t be such a big deal but,..but what if I run out in the middle of using it?! Surely I wont be able to get the measurements exact!

Then one day it occurred to me.  Its really not that serious.

Its paint folks.  Its just paint.

So I set out to find a sweet little table.

Something with details I can play with,.. and I found this.
Gate Leg Table Before Charleston Green Paint

Aaahhh… adorable right? Now time to get to work.  I went to my cabinet and grabbed a few different packages of Old Fashioned Milk Paint.  Real milk paint comes in powder form that you add water to.  Old Fashioned Milk Paint uses hydrated lime and creates paint colors using pure earth pigments. You could even make your own at home using an old world recipe of milk (not skim milk) brought to the point of curdling milk and powdered pigments.  Milk paints that are modern paint mixes with water that is just room temperature.  As you add the equal parts water you will notice a bit of froth.  I would begin with mixing up some Tavern Green and Federal Blue,.. I had Pitch Black on standby as I had hoped to make a really deep dark teal color….

making charleston green milk paintAs I eluded to before, some time back I had looked into making colors that are relevant to the history of Charleston South Carolina area!  Colors like “Haint Blue” and maybe the color of Pluff Mudd, or Indigo,.. OR “Charleston Green”.  Now as history tells it, after the civil war, the union had sent tons of institutional black paint to Charleston to help with the rebuilding efforts.  Well,.. being as “Charleston-like” as Charleston is, the people decided they simply couldn’t incorporate such a harsh color into the southern charm they loved.  They decided to take yellow paint and added it to the black.  As a result they ended up with an almost black that had hints of green.  A green you could only see in the right light, at the right angle.  I suppose that was enough for them!  And so, as you travel through the streets of Charleston today, when you notice those “black” shutters, and doors,.. rocking chairs and fences,.. take a second look.  They may be Charleston Green.
Old Fashioned Milk Paint

So here goes. A little more black,.. and I had it! Of course Colors tend to deapen as they dry so I knew I only wanted it “So dark”.  Time to put it to use! I quickly took it over to my little table which I flipped upside down and began painting.  Something I have learned is I ALWAYS fix too much paint! …I gotta work on that… After going over everything with a nice thick coat I walked away,.. and came back to find this… The color was spot on and the chippy happiness had begun!

Old Fashioned Milk Paint
Yep. Chippy Happy Goodness! SCORE!  I flipped it over and proceeded to finish the top.  Then, once dry, I took steel wool and went over the entire piece.  This is where the thick paint helped.  I allowed “glops” and “chunks” so when I went over it with the steel wool, these pieces broke off leaving small chips and imperfections in the painted surface.
Old Fashioned Milk Paint
My final step would be tung oil.  (No, not tung oil finish) I wiped a decent coat on and wiped away the excess after about 30-40 minutes.  The next day I repeated this part of the process.
I WISH I could describe the smooth finish and just how silky it feels!! But, I suppose you will have to settle for pictures,..
Old Fashioned Milk Paint
Old Fashioned Milk PaintOld Fashioned Milk Paint
Old Fashioned Milk Paint
I may already have another piece or two I just cant wait to use this finish on!  Ill be sure to link them below once I complete them! If you would like to give TRUE Milk Paint a try, just hope over to WWW.MILKPAINT.COM
Also, we have put together a WONDERFUL group on Facebook just to assist with any Old Fashioned Milk Paint questions you may have!
The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Q&A; Group
WARNING tho.  Its quite addictive,.. once you dive into the world of Milk Paint,.. its hard to step away.  Be sure the laundry and dishes are completely caught up first,.. and you may want to have at least a week of freezer meals ready to go!  Now, I am off to go catch up,.. happy painting y’all!

I took it a step further! So I decided to come back and update you guys!
I decided to play with the details a bit a add white wax!
For some reason I love the look of the old Charleston Green shutters that have begun to oxidize..
You can check out the white wax process HERE!
and heres the before/after!

What you think?? I like both looks! But the latter was the look I had hoped to achieve!

Be sure to share with me in the comments if you try these products! I’d love to hear about it!

And you can find me partying at

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Sunday 26th of March 2017

I love it!! Thanks so much for your suggestions! I'm looking forward to tackling this project!! xx

Thea Osborne

Friday 16th of December 2016

Haha! I know! There is so much talent! Good luck!! :-)

Brenda Young

Friday 16th of December 2016

Gosh Thea what a beautiful color mix! And a great read on color history as well, I love the carved details of your little experiment piece that turned out just sublime! Thanks for sharing at Fridays Furniture Fix, you guys make choosing the feature so hard!

Clockwork Interiors

Friday 23rd of September 2016

Gorgeous table, Thea, and I really loved the back story on Charleston Green. We lived in Charlotte, NC for 7 years, and Charleston was our favorite get away. You are blessed to live in such a beautiful city, and I'm happy to know a little more about it's history. Thanks for sharing, Cynthia


Sunday 18th of September 2016

Love this in the almost-black! So much going on with the cool little table, it just doesn't need a lot of color too. Great job!

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