Chocolate Milk Paint




About: I'll try to fix or build anything.

WTF right? Chocolate milk paint? It sounds so strange that it just might be crazy enough to work. I saw a recipe for milk paint a long time ago and the thought of it always intrigued me. So here's my attempt at homemade paint that requires only four ingredients . . . and if you left one of them out you could probably eat it.

This is a shorter method for making milk paint that I found in a book that shows alternate uses for many common household products. I can't testify to the durability of this paint, this is more of a trial run and I'll add updates after a month or two of letting whatever I paint sit outside.

Other methods of making milk paint call for curdling milk, either naturally or by adding an acid. They also have a few more steps and additives like hydrated lime.

Keeping these things in mind, let's go.

Step 1: The Must Haves

Here are the things I needed.

* 1.5 cups Dry milk powder

* 1 tablespoon Borax (20 Mule Team of course . . . I'm sure they make other brands, but I've never seen them)

* Cocoa powder (for tinting, the amount varies based on your desired end color)

* 1/2 cup Water

* A food processor or blender

* A fine mesh strainer

* Something to paint

* And something to paint with, i.e., a paint brush

Step 2: The How

* Add the 1.5 cups milk powder to the food processor or blender.

* Add the tablespoon of borax . . . (why borax? you ask. Borax has antimicrobial properties as well as antipest properties (pests being mice and bugs and who knows what else).

Give these things a spin in the processor. It'll distribute the borax as well as break down the larger dried milk particles.

* Add the 1/2 cup water.

Let the processor run for several minutes. I did about five. This will assure a good mix.

The thickness needs to be similar to what you would expect from a latex paint you would buy at a store. If your mix to too thin, add more milk powder. Too thick, more water.

I actually had to add about another 1/2 cup of milk powder to get it to the thickness I wanted. If I make anymore of this I will make sure to weigh out the milk powder instead of measuring it and post it here.

Step 3: Tinting

At this point you could pretty much be done if you wanted white paint. But hells no! This is chocolate milk paint here.

* Add the cocoa powder and take the processor for a spin.

How much? I can't tell ya that. It'll all depend on how tinted you want the paint. I think I ended up using around a 1/4 cup.

Step 4: Adjustments and Straining

If you're not happy with the thickness either add more milk powder if it's too thin or more water if it's too thick.

Though it's not necessary to strain the mix I did it anyway. I did catch a few bits of milk powder, but not enough to really worry about.

Step 5: Do It to It

Here's my chosen workpiece in the first picture.

I have to say that I was really surprised how well this coated and how fast it dried. This second picture is of the first coat going on. A number of websites I visited mentioned letting the first coat dry for 24 hours, but after about 45 minutes this thing was dry as a bone and tough as nails. Tougher actually, as I used my thumbnail to scrape against it and it didn't come off. That probably has to do with it being terra cotta, so you might want to use your best judgment on how long to let it dry. Today was sunny and about 70 degrees with a very faint breeze blowing.

Step 6: That's It, That's All

It's that easy. I put three coats on in about 3 hours . . . and turned a terra cotta pot into something thats color isn't really that much different. I'll let it sit overnight in my garage before subjecting it to any rain storms.

I like the texture it gave the flower pot. With the addition of some chemicals--perhaps Floetrol--this paint might form a smoother surface. Kind of defeats the purpose of making a completely compostable and nontoxic paint though.

I'll be sure to add an update in a month or two to let you know how this thing has held up.

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    10 Discussions


    4 months ago

    How did the chocolate milk paint hold up over time?? Was your experiment successful?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 months ago

    Fine as long as you kept it some place dry. And didn't drop it and destroy it.


    1 year ago

    Thanks for such practical recipe. I would like to paint a hollow door to use it as a desk, do you have any suggestions on the finish I could use with this paint? Thanks!


    7 years ago on Step 2

    This is cool, but how much milk/water do you add?
    (At least please tell us what consistency it should have.)

    I'm guessing it's more powder than the recipe calls for, but how much?

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Good catch. I neglected to put in amounts! My name is Imma Moron.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Having known Mr. Dlewisa for many many moons (in fact you can see his garage in both my Cat Tree for Free and my Rain Barrel Instructables) I can say that this stuff will probably last for centuries and will mystify future archeologists as to how on earth we made this amazing paint from such primitive substances. The guy just doesn't fail when he makes stuff. This is why I'm friends with him (so he'll fix stuff for me), it's also why I hate him (he makes me feel inferior).

    Congrats on FINALLY publishing something!


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    Tempera paint. Food coloring. Powdered minerals. I imagine you could crush charcoal into a powder and use that for black. Annatto would give a deep red color. I wonder if you could dry dandelion flowers and get a yellow color. Or perhaps that would just be a horrid mess.