Paint & Products

What’s the Difference? Chalk Paint and GF Milk Paint

I’ve used them all: DIY chalk paint, brand name chalk paint, latex paint, powdered milk paint and General Finishes Milk Paint! Here’s what I see as the differences in them on furniture.

First, What about Latex?

Let’s start in order of my furniture painting career, before chalk paint was on the market – latex paint. Funny thing is it worked beautifully on those pieces. No dry or wet distressing in those days (2005ish), just faux finish glaze. I can’t remember if I top coated or not, and bleed through wasn’t an issue. I must have lucked out back then.

Today I rarely use latex straight up out of the can and especially now that I’ve used the other types of paint. Adhesion isn’t as good and it chips easy. Distressing is out of the question because it peels instead of sanding. No doubt it’s cheap and tempting when on a tight budget. When I do use it, I struggle through the top coating. The top coat goes on really weird.

For the Love Of Chalk Paint

Many years later, when chalk paint made its debut, I took a demonstration class and sampled Dixie Belle. Wow! Nice stuff! It goes on real nice and adhesion is solid. A little goes a long long way.

I turned to DIY chalk paint using a plaster of paris recipe to save money. I’ve got the mix just the way I like it. It is so cheap and one is free to pick and match from any color pallet.

I would still use DIY if it weren’t for the GRIT and unpredictability. All chalk paint has grit but DIY is pretty bad. Holy cow, some batches are horrible, my paintbrush cakes up with little dried specks that get into my project, and brush marks are sometimes bothersome. Another downer using DIY is the mix uses latex paint, which I’ve since learned, has no bleed-through protection properties like brand name chalk paint made from acrylic. I finally got fed up with DIY and became ready to spend the money on a brand name product.

Image result for dixie belle chalk paint

If there is any brand name chalk paint to buy it’s Dixie Belle. They’ve worked on perfecting their paint and colors, have developed some outstanding embellishment products and managed to get the best how-to videos on YouTube. Their product is also easily found in most areas of the world now.

Now There’s GF Milk Paint – It’s Been Here The Whole Time!

The HP Flat Top Coat was my first General Finishes product before trying Lamp Black Milk Paint. There is No Grit! It glides on so silky smooth, like latex but has adhesion and durability properties of chalk paint. Why? Because it’s not latex.

It’s acrylic mineral based like most brand name chalk paint. This stuff is tough plus it has the ability to perform dry distressing nicely. Not so good wet distressing though. It won’t come off after it’s dried, which is kind of the point.

It has no milk in it though. So, why do they call it milk paint? IDK, guess we’ll have to ask the folks who started making it in 1929. From what I can gather, the goal was to create a formula that is as tough as real milk paint but without the milk that goes sour. If you’ve used powdered milk paint before, you might have already experienced it going bad.

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