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How to Paint Over Milk Paint

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For this post I am going to show you how I painted over a very old milk painted surface with chalk paint that I made in just the color I wanted.

How to make and paint with chalk paint

Here is the AFTER of a cute little corner cabinet. Painted with Glidden Zesty Lime.


Here is the BEFORE.

It is quite a cute little piece and I am sure there are many of you who would like it just the way it is.  It is a classic, but the red is not one of my decorating colors. It also needed a little love.

When I started to sand it with my little hand sanding block, it came off like powder. It was painted in a milk or an early version of milk or casein paint – it was highly pigmented and made a mess when sanded. Red dust was everywhere.

Time to put a mask on so I would not breath in the dust.

It reminded me of powdered tempura paint that I used as a kid in school, but since it was old I figured it could contain something that I should not be breathing, so I only removed the shine a bit and left the red on.

How to Paint Over Milk Paint on Furniture


supplies needed: 

  • Paint –  Glidden Zesty Lime # A0913 in a satin finish.
  • Non-Sanded Grout
  • Water
  • Mixing bucket – I use an old coffee can with a lid.
  • Paint stirring stick
  • Paint brush
  • Valspar Antiquing Glaze -Asphaltum 98278.
  • Soft Rags
  • Clear Paste Wax


1. Before you start to paint anything – remove the hardware, hinges, and knobs. Mark on the back of each where it goes and place them in a baggie.  This is so important to ensure that you get the hinges and screws back in the same place when you are finished painting. If you don’t, you could and probably will have a problem getting doors to close right.


2.  You do not normally need to prime or sand first with chalk paint, but this piece was old and the red pigment was unlike any old paint finish I have ever seen – impossible to remove, powdery and dying my gloved fingers red.

To be on the safe side, I used primer to ensure the red would not eventually bleed through the lime green color.

Since I was going to be painting the cabinet with a vivid color, I used Glidden Grippe primer in Grey.  It brings out the color better than a white primer.


3.  I sanded with a hand-block sander to smooth out the previous painted surface.  I just wanted to sand off the shine a bit and smooth spots where there were paint drips from the previous paint job.

4. To get into the vertical joints on the bead board I used a stiff 1-inch angled brush.


5. I rolled the rest of the paint on.  I used 2 coats of primer – letting each one dry in between coats.  I did paint the inside after I finished the outside, because it looked dingy next to the new color.


6.  I rolled on 2 light coats of it – letting the first coat dry before adding the second.


7. Add a Glaze Finish  – After the second coat was dry, I wanted to age the finish a bit and used Valspar Antiquing Glaze in Asphaltum 98278.  I bought it at Lowes.

What is paint glaze? 

Glaze is nothing more than a way to add color over paint to create different effects. It comes in clear, white, or dark colors like this antiquing one. The clear versions allow you to mix any color paint or tint to it.  Glaze is very transparent so that you are still able to see the paint color underneath. It gives a paint finish depth.  The other reason it is so nice to use is that it dries slowly so you have time to work and wipe it off to create the look you want. 

I simply wiped it on in a circular motion using a soft rag and then wiped it off.  I worked on a section at a time until I had the whole piece covered.


I chose not to distress the edges with sandpaper to further age the piece as the original red paint would have shown.


9. The last step was to rub a very thin coat of clear paste wax over the entire piece with a soft cloth. I let it dry for about 30 minutes and then buffed it with another rag to bring out the shine.



10.  I painted the hinges and tops of the screws with the chalk paint.  To keep the paint light, I dabbed the paint on lightly, let it dry and then added one more coat.  I rubbed a little glaze over them as well and clear paste wax so they would blend in.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe and Tutorial

I replaced the copper cabinet door knob with a glass one.

This little corner cabinet came out better than I imagined.  My daughter is smitten with it now and is happy that she is using something that belonged to her great grandparents.

Chalk paint and glaze truly brings out the character in a piece of painted furniture.


I did a test comparing different chalk paint formulas. You can read that in my post  – Testing 1..2…3.. Versions of Chalk Paint

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  1. Love, love, love your cabinet and that glorious color. There is one thing … there are 25 days left of summer. Fall does not begin until September 21. woohoo – I hate snow. :)

  2. Beautiful!! I just love that cabinet (before and after). I posted this same recipe for Chalk Paint on my blog last year and believe it or not I still haven’t tried it yet. I have two pieces that are waiting to be painted with it but I can’t decide on a color. Your cabinet inspires me to get busy painting the pieces I have.


  3. I love that shade of green and the shape of the furniture! I use that same recipe for DIY chalk paint, but w/ flat instead of satin. I’ve never used glaze on any of my painting projects, but love the look it gave your piece. It will definitely be something I try in the future. Found your link on BNOTP. Have a great day!


  4. Hi Diane,

    Looks great! I have a question though. Is this how to make chalk paint or chalk board paint? Can you write on that with chalk? I mean before you put the wax and glaze on. I’ve seen the same recipe for both and wanted to clear it up!

    1. Hi Jessica –

      To answer your question I just tried writing on the seat bottom of the stool I painted in the Spring. I didn’t wax the underside. You can write on it :) I know Martha Stewart uses the same recipe and calls it chalkboard paint. So they may be one and the same. Some recipes use Plaster of Paris instead of grout. I don’t think it matters which you use. It does make the paint dry to a smooth flat finish. I know I am sold on the finish it produces. I may try the using Plaster of Paris just to see if there is any difference. I still haven’t used the real stuff – Annie Sloan. I have the jar of it from Haven. Have you used yours yet?

    2. I also read somewhere that you can use Calcium Carbonate that is sold in health food stores. To make the paint chalky you need a powder form of Calcium -Carbonate or gypsum – which is what Plaster of Paris is. The more powder you add to the paint the more chalky the paint becomes.