Milk paint has been used for thousands of years, since the ancient Egyptians. It is literally a mixture of milk and lime, with or without added pigments for color. Casein, a group of phosphoproteins found in milk, is an agent that makes milk paint fast drying and water soluble. And it is precisely that quality that gives tempera and frescoes their old-world texture. Milk paint has a suede-like appearance and a nice depth of color.
There are currently many companies that make milk paint but many on the market can be toxic--and caustic which can require one to wear gloves when painting! But now Harley Farms, a working goat farm and dairy here in Northern California, has formulated their own milk paint which they call FarmPaint. It is completely non-toxic, non-caustic, contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds: information here)... and they say you can lick the drips off your hands!
Harley Farms FarmPaint is available in nine colors, and can be used on any paintable surface, inside or outside. Visit their website to learn more about FarmPaint. And visit their on-line store to purchase tester pots or quarts of FarmPaint! They ship to anywhere in the United States.
Take a look at the applications below. Milk paint is great for any time you wish to create an old-world or rustic farm feeling. A wash of turquoise on plaster brings to mind the blue and white of houses on Greek islands. And red makes me think of barns in the picturesque rural areas of New England.
Harley Farms, a restored 1910 dairy farm with 200 alpine goats on nine acres of pasture, is located in the beautiful seaside village of Pescadero, on Highway 1, about 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay here in Northern California. If any of my readers are local, consider visiting for a tour of the farm (including a fascinating peek into the milking barn, and a visit to the cheese making room), a chance to pet the baby goats in spring, or just to drop by the cheese shop and pick up some of their award-winning cheeses (Harley Farms are consistent winners at the American Cheese Society awards, and they hold two international World Cheese Show medals!). I've been many times, including in the spring when the babies are still soft!