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11 Ways to Use Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Your Home

Even if you're not familiar with milk paint, you're probably familiar with the look. Milk paint, which can be made at home or purchased from several well-known paint companies, is a water-based paint that is nontoxic and can be made from milk and lime with pigments added for color. It's often used when refinishing old furniture and gives pieces that farmhouse or vintage look. Ready to give it a try? Here are 11 ways to use old-fashioned milk paint around your home.

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whitewashed kitchen wall milk paintSvetlana Lukienko/Shutterstock

Accent Walls

Try creating a stunning accent wall. Milk paint comes in a variety of colors, so go for a light color behind the open shelves in your kitchen or use a dark gray in your home office. Since milk paint splatters more than traditional paints, be sure to use a drop cloth for easy clean up.

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white headboardKelsey Hayne/Shutterstock


Create a DIY headboard and then finish it with milk paint. Just avoid using pallets for a DIY headboard as the wood can harbor bugs, mold and harsh chemicals.

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Finish a Dining Table

Give your dining table a fresh look by refinishing the table top and painting it with milk paint. The Creativity Exchange has a lot of tips for DIYers looking to use milk paint on wood furniture. Cyndy, who runs the blog, says milk paint is easy to work with and there are plenty of tricks you can try to get different looks.

Photo: The Creativity Exchange

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bright colored Boxes and CratesScarc/Shutterstock

Boxes and Crates

Try reviving old fruit boxes or crates with milk paint. Then use the crates to help keep your mudroom organized.

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white picture framePicsfive/Shutterstock

Wood Cutouts or Frames

Milk paint works great for painting wood cutouts such as hearts or stars, or for finishing wood picture frames.

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milk paint dresserMiriam Doerr Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock

Media Consoles

Try stripping a dated-looking television console or bookshelf and giving it a new look with milk paint. You can also try turning an old dresser into a media console—there are several how-to guides available online.

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Outdoor BenchRobin Keefe/Shutterstock

Outdoor Benches

Milk paint can be used on outdoor furniture, such as benches and chairs. You can purchase an additive to help the paint stay vibrant and durable outside. Consider using milk paint to refinish a tired-looking porch swing.

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painting a birdhouseLightField Studios/Shutterstock


Here’s a fun project to do with young DIYers—paint a birdhouse with milk paint.

If want to make the birdhouse, follow these plans to build a modern-style birdhouse, perfect for painting.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.