Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Miss Mustard Seed - Frequently asked questions.

What exactly is milk paint?

It is a 100% natural paint (without VOC's) used for thousands of years. There is evidence of Milk paint dated back 30.000 years in cave paintings in Australia and was found on decorations inside King Tut's tomb. In North America milk paint has been used for years on furniture, walls, barns etc. The milk is sold as a coloured powder. It is a changing paint that can be used to create several finishes ranging from an aged and chippy effect to a smooth and silky finish.

Is Milk paint safe?

YES !  Milk paint is made from 100% natural ingredients.  It is a product that contains no VOCs, it is sold in the form of coloured powder, its use goes back a long way since traces are found on art objects dating back to antiquity.  Milk paint is safe for children's furniture, painting projetcts indoors and use during pregnancy.  It is made of only 5 natural ingredients - clay, limestone, chalk, casein (milk protein) and iron oxides (pigments).

What's the difference between milk paint and chalk paint?

These are two totally different kinds of paintings. Both have advantages and disadvantages and can be used in a variety of ways.

The milk paint is sold as a coloured powder and must be mixed with water. Chalk paint is sold in liquid form in traditional quart.

▪ On raw wood the milk paint has a strong adhesion power and will never flake, remove or fade.  On already painted supports, the addition of the acrylic binder enhances the paint's adhesion ability to milk.  On the other hand, chalk paint that has a strong adhesion capacity, can be applied on most media without the addition of acrylic binder.

▪ In most cases, the grain of the wood can be seen through the milk paint especially when used as a dye.  The chalk paint is thicker and generally covers the grain of the wood.

▪ The milk paint can be worn and/or cracked, it resists certain finishes to create a real aged and chippy appearance.  Chalk paint can be worn and cracked, but it won't chip.

▪ Milk paint is 100% natural.  It is a paint that contains no VOCs, it is totally biodegradable and non-toxic.

What's the best way to mix Miss mustard seed 'milk's paint?

There are many ways to mix paint with milk, we give you tips on how to get a good blend and a good consistency of the product. However, we always recommend testing the paint on a small sample to be sure of the mixture and consistency. The milk paint, depending on the amount of water added can be used in a covering way or in the form of transparent dye.

To obtain a covering paint: Mix a portion of water for a portion of milk paint powder. First add water to the container/jar, then add the powder and stir with a manual whisk, electric whisk or mixer. For an ultra-smooth finish, use a blender, otherwise use a manual whisk or electric whisk and stir the paint for 1 to 2 minutes to obtain a well-homogeneous mixture. For the paint to be covering, the milk paint must have the consistency of a liquid cream.  Once you are satisfied with your mixture, test the paint on a small sample to check the consistency. If the brush sticks and leaves traces, the paint is too thick and water should be added.  If the paint is too liquid, if it is leaky, if it is too transparent, it is necessary to add paint powder to adjust the consistency as needed.

Note: Mixing paint with milk is like baking. The amount of water may depend on the humidity of the day and where the mixture is prepared.  The amount of water varies depending on the amount of pigment in the colour.

What is the coverage of a quarter (230 grams bag) of Miss mustard seed 'milk's paint?

It depends on the surface being painted and how much water is added when mixing. If you paint on bare and porous wood and paint on a varnished and already painted surface, which requires the addition of the acrylic binder, the amount of paint will not be the same. In general, a quarter of milk paint (230 grams) covers a large cupboard or dresser and two bedside tables.

My paint looks lumpy and uneven - is my milk paint bad?

Most of the problems with the texture or application of the paint come from the preparation and/or mixture. The key to a successful painting is a good mix. Be sure to stir your milk paint well until the paint is well dissolved. A mini manual or electric whisk or mixer are still very good tools to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Once you have mixed your paint, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the clay and lime to dissolve well.

Is milk paint good on raw wood?

Yes, it is one of the best paints for raw wood. It acts like a stain, but looks like a paint; The colour will penetrate the wood for a lasting that won't chip or flake. This makes it an ideal paint for raw wood cabinets or floors.

When should I use bonding agent?

When the surface is previously finished, painted with a non-porous paint or sealed. Milk paint will resist and chip if it cannot be absorbed, as it is on porous surfaces and raw wood. The ratios of bonding agent can be adjusted depending on the amount of seal or shine on the piece being painted. Do not use the bonding agent or use it in select areas if a "chippy look is desired. Remember that painting a pre-finished without sanding and/or using the bonding agent is unpredictable !

How do I get a "chippy effect"?

The chipped look is one of the most popular finishes for Milk paint, but it can sometimes be a bit tricky to accomplish. Here are some things to consider when trying to achieve this look:

The finish on which you are painting: it is sealed, shiny or painted ? If it is raw wood or porous, the Milk paint will be absorbed and will not chip or flake. A resist, like the Wax puck or Hemp oil needs to be used.

The milk paint will "resist" surfaces in which it can't be absorbed. This resisting will create chips and flakes. It is even possible for Milk paint to flake away from the entire piece if the surface is too slick and doesn't have any "tooth". To achieve some "grip", sand where you want adhesion or add the bonding agent on areas where more coverage is desired. It may take some trial and error, but Milk paint is the only paint that will create an authentic, chippy finish, so it's worth trying.

I wanted my piece to chip, but it didn't. How can I make it happen? 

If you want the Milk paint to resist areas, we recommend trying an advanced technique by using the Hemp oil or wax puck. Simply apply the Hemp oil in areas were chipping is desired. Apply the paint immediately over entire surface.  The paint will separate and pool some on the areas where oil was applied.  Don't over work the paint on those places.  As paint dries, it will start to peel and flake, creating an authentic, chipped finish. Wipe or lightly sand loose paint and finish with any MMS wax or Hemp oil.

To use the wax as a resist, apply one coat of milk paint and allow it to dry.  Rub the wax puck over the edges, corners, and "high points" of the piece.  On these places, the wax will create a screen where you rubbed it and will thus prevent the paint from adhering.  That's why you need to apply wax randomly to places where paint is most exposed to shock and and aging.  Apply a second coat of milk paint and allow to dry completely.  Sand the surface with a thin glass paper or damp cloth, to easily remove the paint where you applied the wax.  The first layer of paint must be revealed.  Add a finishing layer with the Clear wax , hemp oil, white wax or antique wax.

With both you can get a real aged patina.  We strongly advise you to take a workshop at a licensed retailer Miss mustard seed 'milk's paint in your area.

The furniture I painted has flaked a lot and I don't want the paint to flake anymore. How do we stop this process?

If the paint flakes a lot, add a layer of water-based varnish, the Tough Coat.  Do not use hemp oil on this kind of finish as the paint can continue to flake with the oil.

When, on the furniture painted, the paint has flaked and elsewhere the paint is stabilized and adheres properly, you can, then, lay the Clear wax , antique wax or white wax to get a superb finish. Thus, the paint is protected and the tearing process will stop, making sure, however, not to expose it to intense heat or direct sunlight.

How do I create a cracking effect?

Paint your piece and apply direct heat immediately after coating (such as hair dryer or heat gun) to areas you want to crackle. This is emphasis on where you want to see cracks appear. In this way you get a very nice cracked effect without using a medium to crack. 

Do I have to prime before using Milk paint?

No. Once you've cleaned your piece and sanded it lightly, you can just add bonding agent to each coat of paint. If you want to get a "chipped" effect, then you don't need to add the bonding agent. (Go to the tutorials page and see the video on how to get the "chipped" effect).

Can I paint an exotic wood, like teak?

Exotic woods like teak are the most difficult to paint. The natural oils in the wood will bleed through. When the wood is saturated with tannins, they migrate to the surface and are released. Sometimes these woods are treated with protective oils which has the effect of doubling their oil size ! The only way to prevent the wood from rejecting its tannin is to apply a layer of shellac. Then you can paint by adding the bonding agent to your milk paint.


What is the Clear wax ?

Clear wax is used as a protective topcoat. It's similar to other waxes available on the market, but it is creamier and very low odour.

Apply it to a piece of raw wood, stained wood or painted furniture with a soft cloth or brush.  Buff after 5 to 10 minutes. You can apply multiple layers of wax for more shine and better protection.

Is wax a durable finish?

Yes, wax is a durable finish.  If you accidentally stain or mark the support, just lightly sand the damaged area and protect it with a new layer of wax.  Note that there is no need to apply wax to the entire media, only operate on the rugged area. I applied the wax to my kitchen table and it withstood the onslaught of my two young boys!

Can I use the Clear wax , antiquing wax or white wax over other paintings? Can I use another brand of wax on Miss mustard seed Milk paint?

Yes, you can use the Clear wax , antique or white wax on other paints such as acrylic paint, chalk/clay paints, flat latex, stained wood. Yes, you can use other waxes on the milk paint.

What is the difference between Antiquing wax and Clear wax?

Antiquing wax contains dark pigment that will age and darken your paint. When the Clear wax is dry, it becomes transparent and reveals the richness of your colours.

What is hemp oil?

Hemp Oil is a product that can be an alternative to the wax. It is 100% natural, and ideal for people sensitive to chemicals.  Hemp oil is best when applied on porous surfaces (raw wood, stained wood or already painted with milk paint).  It will be absorb into the surface and creates a durable finish.  Hemp oil can also be applied over an old milk paint. Apply the oil with a clean cloth and then wipe to avoid excess.   You can apply several layers to get more shine and protection.  Hemp oil is also excellent for reviving old tired woods.

In what situation can I use hemp oil instead of wax?

As mentioned above, hemp oil is 100% natural, so it is ideal for people looking for the use of natural products such as milk paint. Hemp oil is a food safe finish, so it can be applied to cutting boards, butcher counters and kitchen tables. Hemp oil is also interesting for outdoor projects. Once dry and hard, (about 30 days), it protects the supports and naturally patinates in a very nice way. On the other hand, the wax will break and break under the action of heat. Also, we do not recommend a wax finish for parts that will be exposed to heat, sun or rain. For extra protection when used indoors, first apply a layer of hemp oil, let it dry, then apply wax.  Be careful, you can apply wax to oil, but never oil on the wax!

What is the difference between the antique wax in the range Miss mustard seed and the "dark" waxes found on the market?

The antiquing wax of our brand Miss mustard seed was specially designed to create an antique finish.  On the other hand, the dark waxes you find on the market are two-in-one products designed to dye and at the same time protect the wood.  These dark waxes are saturated with pigments.  Our antique wax has few pigments, it acts more like a glaze with nevertheless the consistency of a wax. It has a slightly pronounced smell, and can be applied with a clean brush or cloth.

Do I have to prime before using Milk paint?

No. Once you've cleaned your piece and sanded it lightly, you can just add bonding agent to each coat of paint. If you want to get a "chipped" effect, then you don't need to add the bonding agent.

When should I replace wax or hemp oil with Tough Coat?

We recommend the water-based varnish (Tough Coat) Miss mustard seed surfaces for high traffic areas.  This product is very durable and water resistant. Kitchen cabinets are a good example - they endure a lot of wear and tear, water, grease, stains. Wax and hemp oil have great protective qualities, but both will only endure a lot of water or aggressive household product for only a short amount of time. The more you clean your cabinets, the faster the wax or hemp oil will disappear, dry out and will have to be reapplied.

What is Tung Oil (China Wood Oil)?

It is a natural oil, extracted from the seed of abrasin or Tung tree native to China or South America.  This oil hardened on contact with the air.  It is an excellent oil used for finishing or maintaining wood indoors and outdoors.  Very resistant to water and scratches, Tung oil is the strongest of all natural oils.  It provides a matte finish that doesn't yellow over time. To get more shine, apply successive layers and polish.

What is the finish of Tung oil?

When tung oil dries or cured, it creates a transparent layer, it is perfect for surfaces subject to intensive use.  Water-resistant, it can withstand the wear of external elements and is particularly suitable for the protection of exterior woods and terraces. Most products sold on the market are diluted with solvents in a proportion of 40% tung oil and 60% solvent.  Our oil contains 100% Tung oil, so your protections will last longer.

Depending on the wooden support, Tung oil is absorbed and hardened differently. Soft woods such as pine will need more oil, while hardwoods, such as walnut, will be less greedy.  The consistency of the oil depends on the degree of protection, if you want to see the oil penetrate deep, you need to use it more diluted.

How to dilute Tung oil? 

We recommend mineral essence, Turpentine, odour-free solvent, or citrus-based solvent.  The manufacturer of our products, Homestead House, makes a very good solvent that is perfect for diluting Tung oil.

What is the best way to apply Tung oil?

Pure, you can apply it with a cloth or if you use it diluted, prepare your mixture in a container other than plastic, and apply the oil with a brush.  Allow the wood to soak in Tung oil for about 5 to 10 minutes.  The excess oil should be removed before drying, at the risk of your support becoming sticky. Remove excess with a polished cloth.

When should I use Tung oil and when should I use hemp oil?

If you opt for maximum protection, with a water-resistant finish, intended for the outside, that lasts over time (more than 10 years), use Tung oil.  So, renewing the protection every year doesn't bother you use hemp oil.

When should I avoid using Tung oil?

Tung oil is not the best solution for a surface where the paint is peeled or on a waterproof surface. If the medium cannot absorb the oil, the use of Tung oil is useless.  On a surface where the paint flakes or tears due to the weakness of the binder, the use of Tung oil may remove more paint.

Is Tung oil a safe product?

Yes.  When the oil has dried and hardened, all solvent "undesirable substances" or mineral essence have evaporated.  The residue can be removed with soap and water when the oil layers are completely dry.  Tung oil can be used on racks that touch food, wooden bowls, cutting boards, and other household surfaces.

What about nut allergies?

There are reports that tung oil does not cause allergic reactions due to its unrefined nature extracted from the seeds of a tree.  There are also reports of people who have had allergic reactions after working with this oil.  We ask you to be careful and use this product with caution if anyone in your circle is sensitive to peanuts and nuts.


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