Mixing Pigments into The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. Milk Paint Base

These instructions apply only to the product "Milk Paint Base" and “Untinted SafePaint” sold by The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company.

Milk Paint/SafePaint Color Chip Chart

Each pigment will have a particular ratio of pigment powder to Milk Paint Base or Untinted SafePaint powder; therefore the ratios we provide are suggested starting points for testing. We highly recommend measuring by weight rather than volume - this is the most accurate method. (It is difficult to get a consistent color from batch to batch if measuring by volume.) A small gram kitchen or postal scale works well for weight measurements.

It is important to try out your test ratio to be sure you have not compromised the binding power of your milk paint/safepaint due to over saturation. Too much pigment will result in over thickening of the paint or paint that "powders off" when dry. It is also important not to add an insufficient amount of pigment. The untinted base should not be used alone or with insufficeint pigment as it will produce too brittle a binder.

Please note: If you wish to make a white or black milk paint, purchase these two neutral colors directly from the manufacturer rather than trying to tint them yourself. Black and white pigment should only be used with other pigment colors to lighten or darken them in the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Base or Untinted SafePaint. Also, to make a lighter color do not use less pigment in the base. Instead mix the color with white to obtain the lighter tint desired.*

Beginning Ratio By Weight

To the weight of the dry Old Fashioned Milk Paint Base or Untinted SafePaint powder, add 10-15% for Oxides and Primaries, 15-20% for Natural Earths & Ochers and French Minerals, and 10-15% for Colonial Naturals. Water is then determined by volume: 1 part pigment+milk paint/safepaint mixture to 1 or 1+ parts water, (some pigments may absorb more water than others so some experimentation is necessary).

Beginning Ratio By Volume

1 part pigment(s) 9-10 parts paint powder 10-11 parts water

How Much Pigment to Buy

Approximate weight of pigment to add to one package of Old Fashioned Milk Paint Base or Untinted SafePaint:

Milk Paint/SafePaint Pigment
1 Pint package 37 grams Natural Earth & Ocher, French Mineral or Colonial Naturals; 25 grams Oxides or Primaires
1 Quart package 74 grams Natural Earth & Ocher, French Mineral or Colonial Naturals; 50 grams Oxides or Primaires
1 Gallon package 295 grams Natural Earth & Ocher, French Mineral or Colonial Naturals; 200 grams Oxides or Primaires

Dry Mixing

Small amounts of paint powder and pigment powder can be mixed dry. Measure out proper ratios of pigment to paint powder in a container with a tight fitting lid that is large enough to allow for "shaking room". Cover tightly with lid and shake the container vigorously for 1 or 2 minutes. This will disperse the paint particles within the powder to prevent spots of unmixed pigment in your paint.

Slaking (Wet Mixing)

For larger volumes of paint it is best to mix the pigment into the Milk Paint Base wet.* Known as "slaking", pigment is pre-wet by mixing with an equal amount of water. Stir thoroughly into a homogenous paste, making sure all lumps are gone. Helpful tools are popsicle sticks, wood paint mixers, wire whisks and palette knives.

Then, thoroughly stir this mixture into your batch of prepared milk paint/safepaint and allow it to rest and continue by mixing as instructed by the Old Fashioned Milk Paint or SafePaint Instructions. Follow the manufacturers instructions completely to ensure success.

* If you are using Titanium White to lighten your color, it is recommended that you use the slaking method to ensure complete dispersion.