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OrgPro Review - Old-Fashioned Milk Paint
by Pippi S. Howard
Organic Producer Magazine

Milk Paint puts me at ease. In the forefront of producers of chemically safe paint, the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company strives to keep up with its not-so-ecologically responsible competition. This paint is a joy to work with, a comfort to use and, most importantly, has aesthetically pleasing results.

This is not a new product. Milk-based paint dates back to Ancient Egypt, and Early American Colonists and Shakers painted with a similar formula. Up until the middle 1800s, people made their own paint. The most common recipe contained milk protein, quicklime and earth pigments. Many fine examples still exist that are hundreds of years old, with finishes just as true as the day the paint was applied because of its unique durability. Charles Thibeau recreated the old milk paint formula in 1974 and founded the Old-Fashioned Milk Paint Company, which is now run by his daughter, Anne Thibeau. The company sells the paint to professionals who are either restoring or reproducing original Colonial or Shaker furniture, as well as to homeowners, artists, architects and designers striving for an interior design look that is both authentic and beautiful.

Milk paint is now gaining popularity because it contains only ingredients that are not toxic or harmful to the environment, and has zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There is a tolerable, slight earthy, milky odor while applying the paint, but it is completely odorless when dry. The paint is safe for children's furniture and toys and for most people who are allergic to modern paints. I have even been told that it is safe to drink--although this is not recommended. This is very good news to me and outweighs the fact that milk paint is priced higher per gallon than most mainstream paint products, and may require adjuncts for some applications. The area that I painted had already been painted and I was advised to add Extra Bond to my first coat. This was to ensure the adhesion of my first coat to a nonporous surface. This is an easy process and does not require any additional time since the Extra Bond can be incorporated into the mixed paint. I chose to paint two coats to achieve a solid, consistent finish. Because of a humidity factor (I was painting a bathroom) I also needed to apply a Clear Coat to seal in my color and prevent water spotting. Some furniture and craft projects will not require a top Clear Coat seal. The Extra Bond and Clear Coat products are also non-toxic.

As in the original homemade milk paints, the formula remains consistent. Milk protein, lime, clay and earth pigments such as ochre, umber, iron oxide, lampblack, etc. are all that the paint contains. The company uses no lead, no chemical preservatives, no fungicides, no hydrocarbons or any other petroleum derivatives. This paint comes in twenty colors that can be mixed to form various other hues and tones with a soft velvety dead flat finish. Many variations in texture can be achieved. Packaging in powder form allows the painter to control the thickness of the paint with water for use as either a wash stain, full-cover coat, or even for stenciling. I found mixing the powder base to warm water to be simple and straightforward. Milk paint can be applied like most paints, by brush, roller or spray (straining is recommended for spraying application). And, like the paints used hundreds of years ago, the colors will not fade.

For more information, visit the Web site (www.milkpaint.com) which lists the distributors where Old Fashioned Milk Paint can be found locally. With the "Love it or it's Free" 100 percent money back guarantee, you can't go wrong. I hope you enjoy this product as much as I do. Now go paint something!


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