Making milk paint

Pioneer recipes for milk paint had two things in common, Milk and lime. When combined they form a  natural binding agent that is, in some ways, unmatched by today's modern coatings. Color can be added with any natural substance ( rust, berries etc.) or water soluble dye. The classic red barns are most likely the result of an abundance of milk and the availability of red pigments in the form of rust (iron oxide). Livestock blood was also added to milk to produce blood paint. Try powdered dyes found at art stores. Experiment with dye quantity to achieve the color desired, adding on drop at a tiok.

Basic Milk Paint Recipe:
For approx. 1.5 Gallons Milk Paint

  • One Gallon Skim Milk
  • Two Cups Builders Lime also called Hydrated Lime ( Do NOT use Quick Lime)
  • One Quart Linseed Oil ( the boiled type )
  • 1/2 Cup of Salt
  • Dye (Color) add in as needed

Strain with cheesecloth or fine mesh screen wire

Use within two days of mixing

Any rotten milk oder will disappear once the paint is dry.