Milk paint offers new life to old furniture
Story by Grace Thornton
Marti Sather has a skill for making ugly furniture fantastic. She’s been doing it for 18 years with chalk paint.
But the newest oldest thing in vintage furniture just made her pastime even more accessible for the masses, she said.
“Milk paint is the new kid on the block, but it’s been around forever — it’s the paint people made at home before store-bought paint existed,” said Sather, who runs her business, Primrose Cottage Antiques, out of Vintage Interiors in Pelham.
Milk paint is easy, she said. It’s nontoxic. A little bit goes a long way. It gives furniture that popular stained or chipping vintage look.
“People love it once they learn to use it,” Sather said. “They say, ‘I’m scared, I don’t know what to do with it,’ but I tell them you can just do it however you like, and if you can mix paint and water, you can use milk paint.’”
Milk paint, which comes in powdered form, is mixed with water before use, and a couple of spoonfuls can cover a whole table, Sather said. The powder never goes bad unless it’s mixed up, so you can keep small packages of it stored for a long, long time.
And here’s another good thing, Sather said — it doesn’t smell at all.
“I can have five people painting in the back during one of my classes, and you don’t smell anything,” she said.
Sather holds milk painting classes twice a month or so for anyone interested in getting a feel for how the paint works.
“You can learn by doing, and since it dries in 30 minutes, you can go home with a finished piece of furniture,” she said. “We are all so busy, and something this easy is really a good thing.”
The 2.5-hour classes are kept to four people and are usually held on Saturdays. Sather plans them according to the schedule of folks who express interest on Primrose Cottage’s Facebook page.
“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to refurbish pieces that you’re just going to get rid of,” she said. “I’ve had people bring in (for the classes) something they find on the side of the road or at garage sales or thrift stores and leave with something they love. Once you see how you can transform furniture with milk paint, it’s hard to stop.”
The class, held at Vintage Interiors, costs $95 and includes all the materials needed. Sather also sells Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint at her business for those who would like to try their hand at milk painting solo.
For more information, email Sather at firstname.lastname@example.org.