We’ve had this…eh-em, ugly, (shhh, don’t tell my Mother-in-Law I said that), orange and brown tree painting in our garage for as long as I can remember. It was here when The Hubby bought the house from his parents and for some reason we just never got rid of it. For years I kept meaning to take it to the Goodwill, but never did. Then a few months ago I decided since it was made of really nice slat wood, I would turn it into something else.
But…what was I going to turn it into? That question was answered one night as I was flipping through a Pottery Barn catalog and I came across this page below.
“Ahhh…an American flag picture”, I triumphantly said outloud as The Hubby looked at me quizzically.
“That’s what I’m going to turn that ugly painting in the garage into”, I quickly clarified.
And he smiled in approval…
But, I didn’t want to paint it with just any kind of paint. I wanted to do it right, to make it look vintage and a bit beat up. So, I chose to paint it with Milk Paint. What’s Milk Paint? Well, Milk Paint is what they used to paint EVERYTHING way back in the day.
Image & instructions via Earth Pigments
Here’s what you’ll need to make milk paint.
Container large enough to hold over 1 gallon of liquid, with room for stirring
Wood or plastic spoons, one large and one small
½ yard cheesecloth for straining
Plastic containers such as two large margarine tubs, and a one gallon paint bucket
1 gallon skim milk (milk must be fat-free and fresh, not powdered)
2 cups white vinegar
112 grams Hydrated Lime Powder Type S* (approx ¾ cup)
200 grams pigment
Water for rinsing and slaking
Please visit Earth Pigments for more instructions & where to purchase supplies.
Assemble all your ingredients when ready to paint, as milk paint should be used when fresh for best results. Place your Ocher or pigment powder in a container and mix with an equal amount of water to soak. Work the pigment into a homogenous paste where all the particles have been wetted.
Place your lime in a plastic or glass (not metal) container large enough to hold two to three cups. Be careful not to inhale dust or allow dust to get on hands or in eyes. SLOWLY pour 1½ cups of water into the lime and stir into a creamy paste making sure all the lime has been wetted.
With all the ingredients prepared, have your paint bucket ready. Line the colander completely with cheesecloth. Place the colander in a sink and pour the curds and whey into it to drain the whey off. You now have small, easy to dissolve quark. Rinse the quark with cool water to remove any residual whey and neutralize the vinegar. Allow it to drain, but keep the curds dripping rather than becoming too dry. This moisture will aid in their dissolving with the addition of the lime paste.
Gather the corners of the cheesecloth and transfer the quark to your paint bucket. Make sure the curds are small and break down any that are larger pieces. Add the lime/water paste to the curds and stir well. You will immediately notice the curds turning from a lumpy mixture into a creamy paint. If some curds do not dissolve readily, the mixture can sit for 15 to 30 minutes to help break them down. Your milk paint is now ready for the addition of your slaked pigment. Stir this into the creamy quark and lime base. You may or may not need to add additional water. All ingredients should coalesce, and the consistency should be that of light cream. Be cautious of adding too much water. Strain your completed paint through more cheesecloth or a nylon stocking. Some undissolved quark may remain. Stir your paint thoroughly and often during application. Extra paint can be stored up to several days in the refrigerator, however it will begin to separate so try to use it fresh.
After you make your paint, to craft the American flag you’ll need to draw your stars and stripes onto your surface.
Draw with pencil so you can erase if you make any mistakes.
Once you’re finished drawing, it’s time to start painting.
When you’re all done painting and the surface is completely dry, take a sanding sponge and sand down the edges and surface of the painting to create a beat up look. And that’s it, you’re done.
I’m really happy with the way it turned out. And even though the 4th of July is not until next week, hope you all have a happy & safe one!
Thanks for stopping by!