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Chalk vs. Milk Paint

Kelly Jenkins

One of the most common questions we receive is "What's the difference between Chalk & Milk Paint?" An important ingredient to the success of your Furniture Painting project will be in choosing the right kind of paint for your desired results. There is an abundance of information available & it can get quite confusing to determine the “best” paint, I do not believe that there is a one size fits all answer to this question… instead I recommend doing some experimenting to determine which style or brand of paint fits YOU best! Each of us has different preferences to consider, but once you try a few different options, you’ll quickly discover which attributes you enjoy working with most. 

Watch the Chalk vs. Milk Paint video here, or read on below! 

* This post may contain affiliate links. We could make a commission at no charge to you if you purchase my recommended products. Please read our disclaimer here and our privacy policy here.

Attributes to consider:

  • Shiny or Matte?
  • Smooth vs. Textured?
  • Mix vs. Premixed?
  • Poly vs. Wax?
  • Quick Dry or Long Open Time?
  • Do you want to see brushstrokes?
  • Brush vs. spray?


Dan and I spent the first year of our furniture painting business experimenting with as many furniture paint brands as we could get our hands on… from the large, popular ones to the tiny, lesser known companies before determining which options we want to work with, I encourage you to try these (& others) and hope you have similar wonderful experiences!

Our everyday favorite- General Finishes 

We love General Finishes products and are thrilled to be a retailer offering nationwide shipping from our website at 

As General Finishes states “Milk Paint is a modern, pre-mixed acrylic version of old-world paints offering a contemporary palette of low luster, rich colors. Perfect for furniture, crafts, cabinetry, millwork and up cycling or repurposing existing finishes. Mix it, lighten it, distress it, glaze it, layer different colors or antique it. Although Milk Paint is self-sealing, a topcoat is recommended for high use areas It is fast drying, water cleanup, low odor, can be sprayed or brushed AND is interior & exterior rated. Milk Paint will adhere to a variety of surfaces including wood, fiberglass, PVC, primed steel, vinyl and most composite materials.”  

To simplify… its super easy to use & offers incredible results for both the amateur and professional furniture painter. It is self-leveling (brushstrokes smooth out as it dries) and self-sealing (medium durability on its own, apply Top Coat for enhanced durability), you can also create unique finishes by layering other General Finishes products such as Glazes, Metallic Pearl Effects or Stains for endless possibilities!


Some favorite transformations with General Finishes products:

Seagull Gray General Finishes Furniture Painting Bureau

Queenstown Grey Furniture)


For a textured finish- Maison Blanche Vintage Furniture Paint

We have enjoyed working with Maison Blanche products for a while now and are honored to be an affiliate for this growing brand! Click here to check out the options. They offer unique chalk style paints and include a number of incredible special effects finishing products AND have tons of sparkly options for extra fun!

Maison Blanche states: “Our exclusive formula has a high chalk content and will adhere to almost any surface. Our Vintage Furniture Paint does not contain chemical drying agents. This allows for a longer "open time". The paint is allowed to settle and smooth out as it dries with minimal occurrence of chalk balling and brush strokes. This creamy, luxurious furniture paint dries to our signature smooth and velvety finish.”


I find Maison Blanche products a joy to work with… the colors are gorgeous, the paint handles beautifully, dries to a soft, muted finish and the waxes are a dream, they’re a favorite to work with!


Some favorite transformations with Maison Blanche products:

Maison Blanche Debutante Bed Frame Bench Furniture Painting

Tourmaline Maison Blanche Furniture Paint

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post about Chalk vs. Milk Paint, you may enjoy these posts as well!

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