Milk Painttle

General Finishes Milk Paint is a premium interior/exterior mineral based paint named for its low-luster sheen, which mimics the look of old-world furniture paint. It is not a powdered, casein-based milk paint, but a premixed modern version that is so durable it does not require a topcoat unless you want to increase the sheen.

<---Brochure Milk Paint

<---Color Chart Milk Paint

<---Tech Data Milk Paint

<---Professional Enduro Catalog

Colors-Milk Paint

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Step 1: Preparation for Paint     (All videos are attached in Video division )

Preparation for Raw Wood Projects

Before applying paint, all raw wood projects require preparation sanding, and all existing finishes require prep cleaning and sanding. If you skip this critical step, your finish may fail.

See our video: How to Prep Sand Raw Wood

  1. Sanding schedule: 120-grit sandpaper followed by 150-grit. Do not over-sand with fine-grit sandpapers; this will close and seal the wood grain, preventing ideal color absorption. Do not use steel wool with water-based finishes; the particles will get trapped in the finish and rust.

  2. Remove dust with a water-dampened rag or oil-free tack cloth. 

  3. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Preparation for Projects with an Existing Finish

For high-use areas with heavy grime build-up and oil from hands, give your project a deeper cleaning.

See our video: How to Prepare Existing Finishes

  1. Scuff clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours. Avoid cleaning with products containing phosphates (salt), which can linger in the substrate and produce a white haze. If your project requires a deeper cleaning, see Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes below.

  2. Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper.

  3. Remove dust with a non-sticky tack cloth or a water-dampened rag. 

  4. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

Power Prep Cleaning Highly Used Existing Finishes

See our video: How to Power Prep Existing High Use Finishes for Stain or Paint

  1. Scrub clean with a detergent, such as Spic and Span or Dawn, using a Scotch Brite pad.

  2. Rinse well with water.

  3. Scrub clean with a Scotch Brite pad and a 50:50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Dry 1-2 hours.

  4. Sand lightly with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper.

  5. Remove dust with a non-sticky tack cloth or a water-dampened rag. 

  6. Let dry completely before applying General Finishes product.

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A base coat of primer is not required when applying General Finishes Milk Paint. However, 2 coats of General Finishes Stain Blocker may be necessary for the following circumstances, especially when using WHITE OR LIGHT-COLORED PAINTS.

  1. Raw Wood Tannin Bleed-Through is unpredictable; yellowing can appear immediately or months later with seasonal temperature changes. Oak, pine, mahogany and douglas fir are particularly prone to bleed-through. 

  2. Knots in Wood contain rosin (sap) and are dense, making paint adhesion a challenge. Pine knots are especially difficult to cover with white or light paints. If you decide to paint over them, apply 3 coats of Stain Blocker over the areas with knots first; however, we cannot guarantee against rosin bleed-through. You are better off using a dark paint on pine.

  3. Existing Finish Bleed-Through may be caused by previous stains or aniline dyes, surface contamination, and incompatibility between brands.

  4. Non-Wood Surfaces may be able to take paint if primed first. Primer may improve adhesion overlaminate and prevent bleed-through from MDF. Metal requires a primer made specifically for metal.


NOTE: Do not tint or use Stain Blocker on projects that will be stored outdoors.


Priming Non-Wood Surfaces for Paint
Always test for adhesion on a hidden area of your project before getting started.

Metal: General Finishes Milk Paint is engineered for wood surfaces, but may adhere to metal, such as aluminum or steel, if a metal primer is applied first. 

  1. Clean surface well.

  2. Apply primer.

  3. Dry 48-72 hours before painting.


Laminate: Milk Paint MAY adhere to laminate with a bonding primer; however, we cannot guarantee it. You may increase your chances of success by abrading the surface.

  1. Prep: Deep clean, dry thoroughly, sand with 150- then 180-grit sandpaper and wipe off dust.

  2. Prime: Apply bonding primer, dry 12+ hours before painting.


MDF: Milk Paint can be applied directly to MDF, but the MDF may cast a brown color if not primed first. Two base coats of white-pigmented shellac-based stain-blocking primer, or Stain Blocker, may prevent bleed-through. Alternatively, one base coat of General Finishes Seagull Gray Milk Paint may block brown tone caused by MDF.

MDF is not as absorbent as natural wood. Let each coat of primer and paint dry at least 48 hours before recoating.

Fiberglass: Milk Paint can be applied directly over fiberglass without primer. We do not recommend applying other General Finishes products over fiberglass. Gel Stain may adhere to fiberglass, but it is not an exterior rated product. 

Step 3:   How To Apply General Finishes Milk Paint      (All videos are attached in Video division )

General Finishes Milk Paint Application Steps

  1. Stir paint to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.

  2. If desired, thin paint with 10-15% distilled water or General Finishes Extender. The extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates.

  3. Apply 2-3 coats. More coats will be required when using colors with less "hide properties," such as bright reds, greens, yellows, and whites.

    • Hand application: Apply using an acrylic bristle brush, foam brush, paint pad applicator or roller.

    • Spray application: See the video tutorial on spraying Milk Paint. Before spraying, strain paint through a medium-mesh filter. HVLP: 1.8mm-2.0mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. See our general guide for spray tip sizes. Keep your gun at a 90* angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines. Wear a full filter respirator (NIOSH/MSHA approved) and work in a ventilated space. Read here for more information on spraying techniques.

    • Face frames on cabinets: Milk Paint can be applied successfully to cabinet face frames or edges with a brush, pad or small cabinet-specific roller such as Whizz Velour brand.

  4. Dry 2+ hours between coats and before topcoat in ideal conditions: 70*F/20*C; 50-70% humidity. Be sure to allow adequate dry time. You can tell if a water-based finish is dry if it forms a powder when lightly sanded with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper. If in doubt, wait longer. Rushing dry time can cause clouding/blush in topcoat due to moisture trapped between coats. Increase dry time if: 

    • Humidity is over 80%

    • 3+ coats are applied

    • Thick coats are applied

    • Applying over a previously existing finish

    • Layering General Finishes water- and oil-based products:

      • Water over oil: Let oil-based products dry 72+hrs before applying water-based products

      • Oil over water: Let water-based products dry 24+hrs before applying oil-based products

    • To accelerate dry time in humid conditions, add General Finishes Accelerator and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness. 

  5. Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad or 400-grit sandpaper to improve smoothness and adhesion.

  6. Remove dust from finish sanding with a vacuum, oil-free tack cloth or clean, water-dampened rag before re-coating.

  7. The topcoat is not required on Milk Paint for increased durability, as it is a self-sealing, exterior-rated coating with high durability and superior water and chemical resistance. However, 2-3 coats of a topcoat provide a smoother surface that is easier to clean and boosts durability for high-use projects, such as tabletops and kitchen cabinets.

Cure Time
Water-based finishes cure and harden for full use after 21 days in ideal conditions. Avoid placing heavy objects on surfaces that have not completely cured. Treat gently, and do not clean with commercial products during the curing period.

Notes on Color

  • All white paints darken or yellow over time, but the change is more evident with bright whites, such as General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint. 

  • Some colors require additional coats for coverage due to their lower hide quality, e.g., reds, bright whites, yellows.

Step 4:   Topcoat over Milk Paint  (All videos are attached in Video division )

General Finishes Milk Paint

Does not require topcoat on low- to medium-wear surfaces. However, do seal high-use surfaces, such as kitchen cabinets or tabletops, with 3 coats of topcoat. Glossier sheens will boost durability and make the surface easier to clean.​


General Finishes High Performance Topcoat and General Finishes Enduro Clear Poly dry crystal-clear and are great for high-use surfaces. General Finishes Flat Out Flat is our flattest topcoat, only suitable for projects that do not receive major wear.

Topcoating General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint

Clear, water-based finishes can react with wood substrates and previous finishes, causing the topcoat to yellow. This is most evident when using bright white paints. To avoid potential yellowing, use 3 coats of spray-only Enduro White Poly as a standalone finish.​

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