How to Apply Milk Paint - Brush Application

You can achieve any type of finish with General Finishes Milk Paint... modern, aged or distressed.

We named this product Milk Paint years ago because it mimics the low-luster sheen of old-world paints, falling somewhere between a flat and satin finish. It is not a true "milk paint" but a modern, premixed version with a strong mineral base that can be used straight from the can. It is durable for both indoor and outdoor projects, and can be applied over a variety of existing finishes as long as they are completely dry.



Have the following ready: 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water, Scotch Brite pad, 120 and 150 Grit sandpaper, sandable putty, either 400 grit sandpaper or our preferred 220 sanding pad, non sticky tack cloth for water base products, foam brush, chip brush, bristle brush, and pad applicator.


If applying over existing finishes: Use 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water to clean. Wet scotch brite pad with mix and scrub the wood surface. This process will remove any dirt and grime.

We do not recommend applying a light color over red stains because the red stains tend to bleed through. If you insist on painting over red stain, use a shellac-based stain-blocking primer such as Zinsser 123 primer or similar.

We do not recommend using Snow White over dark colors; use Antique White or Linen instead.

If you are working on an unfinished surface, fill in any nail holes with a water based wood putty.


Sand new wood starting with 120-grit, and then for at 150-grit. Remove dust with an air compressor or non-sticky tack cloth made for water-based products.

Stir the paint thoroughly. If the paint is thicker than what you would like to work with, thin it with a small amount of water and stir well. Test the color on the underside of project to ensure it is what you want.

To apply by hand, use a bristle brush to get the product on and then smooth and feather it out with a foam brush or pad applicator for larger areas. A chip brush can be used to get the paint out of corners and crevices.

General Finishes Milk Paint also sprays beautifully. See our spraying video here.


Regardless of the application method, we recommend 2 to 3 coats. Let dry 2-4 hours between coats. Buff each coat with our preferred 220-grit sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper - be sure to remove the dust. Sanding is not needed for adhesion, only for smoothness.

Milk Paint dries to a low-luster sheen and is durable enough to stand up to medium wear. However, if more protection is required, apply 1 or 2 coats of General Finishes High Performance Topcoat for interior use or General Finishes Exterior 450 Topcoat for use in outside applications.

Cure time is dependent upon temperature and humidity. At 70°F - 70% humidity, three coats of paint will cure in 14-21 days.

*Note: General Finishes Milk Paint Corinth Blue has been DISCONTINUED. Recreate this color with 2:3 mix of General Finishes Klein Blue and Halycon Blue Milk Paint.