Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint: 9 Essential Differences You Need To Know

Many of us love to paint our things and add the personal touch blended in our own creativity. Being a DIYer myself, I would love to put together few things as a guide for other enthusiastic painters and creative artists. I love the natural flow of creativity around my home and office and I am sure that there are others like me as well.

However, we often find it difficult to decide the pros and cons related to milk paint vs chalk paint as these are the most used paints in homes. So, I am here to discuss few important things about them right from my own experiences.


Milk paint and chalk paint are commonly used in homes to give different finishes to various prized items. Both types of paints share a lot of similarities and have various differences as well. The best thing about both types of paints is that these are very much eco-friendly and environmentally safe.

What Is Milk Paint?


Natural ingredients like limestone, pigment and clay and milk protein casein are used to make milk paint. Milk paint can be acquired in powder form which when mixed with water forms a thin paste.

What is Chalk Paint?

Chalk paint is made up of carbon bicarbonate, pigment, and talc which render a thicker texture to it. The paint can get a good grip on the objects on which it is applied. It has got a matte feel like acrylic paint. Chalk paint is easier to use as no mixing is required but it is more expensive than milk paint.

Similarities Between Milk Paint And Chalk Paint

A number of characteristics are similar between both types of paints. Both the paints have a chalky hint, are user-friendly as these are easy to apply and dry off fast. They can be customized by mixing colors of your choice and are non-toxic. Further, they can be applied comfortably both indoors and outdoors and are easy to clean.

Differences Between Milk Paint And Chalk Paint

Milk paint and chalk paint may appear same but there are many differences in terms of composition, quality, and ingredients.



Both milk paint and chalk paint can be applied to a variety of surfaces like concrete, wood, dry wall, glass, metal, plaster and so on. The finishes can also vary from a thin light coat to a more solid opaque look. Milk paint needs mixing which can make it behave in an unpredictable way as sometimes it may crack and flake.

Chalk paint is more reliable with regard to finish as it is consistent and can be applied to objects which are required to be renovated, revamped and restored.


Ease Of Use

Chalk paint is easier to use than milk paint. As chalk paint comes in ready-made prepared cans, it can be applied immediately without mixing anything. It is more consistent and doesn't flake or break off like milk paint. Chalk paint is used for furniture more frequently.

On the other hand, milk paint has to be mixed with water and requires stirring frequently. Further, the different parts of paint may not match color thickness as it is mixed manually.


Surface Preparation

Both the paints can be applied on any kind of surface without any preparation. If the surface is shiny, then it will have to be sanded and of course, the surfaces have to be cleaned as well. Bonding agents can be used to help the paint remain well settled on the surface.



Wax can be applied on the painted surface to make it last longer and give a polished look. Hemp or tung oil can be applied on the painted surface to make it water resistant. Acrylic varnish can create more stability for daily use furniture and objects. This doesn’t acquire a yellow effect like other varnishes.


Kinds Of Objects/Furniture

Milk paint can be applied on objects and furniture with a rugged and shabby type look as this paint will flake and get distressed. Chalk paint, on the other hand, can be applied on objects which require more uniform, chic, matte and smooth finish.



Chalk paint remains naturally adhered to the surface it is applied upon when compared to milk paint. This is the reason why the two kinds of paints are applied upon surfaces with different objectives.

Milk paint can also be made to stay on the surface by adding a bonding agent unless the paint is applied with an objective to chip off and create a worn out look.


Kinds Of Surfaces

A variety of surfaces upon which both the paints can be applied to include wood, plastic with ultra-bond additive, metal, glass with ultra-bond additive, plaster and drywall, brick and concrete. Chalk paint is applied mostly on furniture while milk paint is applied on walls, cabinetry, furniture, flooring, doors and wooden instruments and so on.



The ease of customization is another feature which makes these paints valuable. You can easily create the required look by adding different colors. Chalk paint usually gives a matte and chalky finish. However, you can create a distressed look manually.

Milk paint naturally distresses over time without any bonding agent. Antique and worn out looks can be easily created with milk paint.


Non – Toxic And Environment-Friendly

One of the best things about these paints is that they are absolutely non-toxic. Milk paint is a very traditional form of paint and uses natural ingredients. It is thus a safer option when compared to chalk paint.

Milk Paint Is Better Than Chalk Paint

Milk paint is made up of natural ingredients. It is cheaper and odor free. Further, it doesn’t create a thick film when applied. It is durable when mixed with a bonding agent.

Milk paint is best suited for antique pieces, to create rustic feel on country cottages, to accentuate grain details on a piece of furniture or wood work, to create layered, farmhouse look or smooth finish along with bonding agent.

Wrapping Up

I hope my attempt to create an exhaustive and comprehensive review of milk paint and chalk paint will be of much help to all who wish to explore their creativity.

Milk paint and chalk paint can be used effectively to create the desired effects, you wish to on objects, furniture and even bigger spaces like walls and glass windows with certain additional materials. As already discussed above, both the paints are easy to apply, non-toxic and can be customized to create various different effects and the versatility of the paints can be put to use to suit your purpose.

​Moreover, if you found this article worthy, don’t forget to share my article and make it available for other readers to make use of it as well.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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