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Milk Paint vs. Chalk Paint (again)

 Man, I have been swamped!!  I had no idea my big announcement would cause my inbox to be flooded!  It’s all good, though, and very exciting.  I was getting very stressed out at the scale of everything I’m doing right now (because it’s just me and sometimes Mini) and a wise reader left a very timely comment.  She said, “Run your business, don’t let it run you.”  Awesome.  Just what I needed.  Everything that’s going on can be as big or as small as I want it to be and I don’t have to let it get beyond what I’m ready for.  I lost who left that comment in the mass of e-mails, but thank you.  It was just what I needed.
I have received a bunch of questions about ASCP, mainly people wondering if I’ll still use it if I’m carrying my own line of milk paint.  The short answer is yes.  The long answer is that I have a very large paint shelf and I don’t think one paint does everything, so I’m always going to have a wide variety of paints to work with.
Here’s a look at some examples of each paint as well as the similarities and differences…
First, let’s take a look at examples of milk paint (MP)…
MMS Milk Paint Boxwood dresser before and after -
Miss Mustard Seed-7257

Now, let’s look at examples of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint (ASCP)

So, let’s now put them side-by-side…

What is Milk Paint and Chalk Paint?  

Miss Mustard Seed’s MP: Is a 100% natural paint that’s been around for hundreds of years.  It’s called milk paint, because one of the ingredients is casein, which is milk protein.
ASCP: Was developed by Annie Sloan and is named Chalk Paint for its “chalky appearance” when dried.


What does the paint look like?

Miss Mustard Seed’s MP: Comes in a white, zip-top bag in a powdered form and has to be mixed with water.
ASCP: Comes in quarts, premixed.

milk paint vs chalk paint 1

Do you have to use primer?

MMSMP: No, but you do have to add a bonding agent if you want the paint to grip to non-porous surfaces. I usually don’t use the bonding agent, since I like an antique look.  The nice thing about the bonding agent is it’s not a separate primer.  It’s something you add to the paint, so it’s still one step.
ASCP: No. ASCP is really grippy and primer isn’t necessary.

Do you have to sand before painting?

No for both paints, but it’s a good idea to do for both paints if the surface is really glossy.



Do you have to use wax or a topcoat?

MMSMP: No, but I would suggest it. You can use either a wax or poly topcoat to protect the paint from moisture and wear.
ASCP: No, but again, I would suggest it. The only time I don’t use wax is on a piece that won’t get a lot of wear and I don’t mind if the paint gets distressed naturally.

missmustardseed-48 (534x800)

Can the colors be mixed to make custom colors?

Yes, the colors from both paint lines mix beautifully.

missmustardseed-35 (534x800)

How can you apply the paint?

Both paints can be applied with a brush, roller or sprayer.  If spraying, ASCP needs to be thinned and MMSMP needs to be well mixed and strained.

Do the paints distress well?

MMSMP: Milk paint is unpredictable in how it will distress. Sometimes it grips really well and just comes off in a fine powder. Other times the paint cracks and flakes away, creating this wonderful chippy look. You just have to go with it!
ASCP: Comes off in a fine powder when sanded before waxing. It’s easy to control the amount of wear and results in a soft, distressed finish.

Do I have to distress these paints?


Why should I use ASCP or MMSMP instead of latex?

Latex has its place and won’t ever be removed from my paint shelf, but I love MMSMP and ASCP for furniture. Both of them are fun to work with and give pieces an authentic, old feel and they distress much better than latex.

Which paint do you like better?

Both. That’s not a wishy-washy answer, it’s the truth. I do use milk paint more than any other paint these days, but I continue to love and use other types and brands of paint.  Everyone has their preferences, so use what you love!  (By the way, these paint lines work pretty well together, too!)

I know this is not a comprehensive comparison, but I hope this answers some general questions.

For more information about using MMSMP, check out our website HERE and for more information about ASCP, visit HERE.

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  1. I want your paint in my store! Please find my email, I want to be on your team…


  2. Christal Robinson says:

    I just finished an antique bed in the old white chalk paint. I am debating on top coating it because of the huge, curvy grooves on the bed posts. Im wondering if I can just poly it with water base poly. I have sanded and distressed the bed so it does have a smooth finish.

  3. Mary Dolan says:

    Can you give me advice?? I love both ASCP and MMMP…..I need to paint a knotty pine armoire which has dark knots. Which paint will best cover the knots? Thanks much!

  4. Brenda says:

    When painting a dresser, table or chairs do you paint the underside that is not seen, or leave it original? I have been painting the bottoms, but thought maybe this is a step everyone skips. I’m new to painting and distressing furniture, but I really love the look. Any words of advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Pearl says:

      I am in the resale business of painted furniture, and I always paint the bottoms, backs and inside the drawers if they are not in super clean condition…Women look inside everything and men look at the backs and bottoms.

  5. I had never heard of milk paint. I can’t wait to try it out! Thank you for sharing, you have an amazing home and talent!

  6. Thanks so much for the post…. I have never worked with either paint but want to try both very soon, as I have several pieces waiting to be redone.

    So here is my Q: I want to paint a 1980 stock oak vanity that is in a half-bath. It has a medium brown stain (neither super dark or light). Would love to see it painted black or as dark as possible. Would you recommend ASCP or MP?

    Thanks, Mary

  7. I haven’t tried either of these products but I think I may need to try them. Is it ok to use poly over these paints? I prefer poly over wax. at least on tops of pieces that will be used more often. Thanks! from:

  8. I just finished remodeling my ENTIRE kitchen using chalk paint! We updated the cabinets from old, dingy oak to a gorgeous antique white! Here are some pictures and plenty of tips we learned along the way:


  9. Thank you for this comparison. I would love to try both!

  10. kristina moreland says:

    i’m new to the whole non-latex paint thing, and i just want to thank you for this post. it could have gone in many directions, and when i googled and saw that the link was from your website, i almost didn’t read it because i thought, “well that will be biased.” shame on me! thank you so much for your informative, objective, and super helpful info!

  11. Thank you for your honest answers.

  12. Jmerch says:

    Such a good comparison, I learned a lot! Question, in the 11th picture down, the white and light teal buffet. Do you remember what color stain you used on top? As well as what colors the paint was? Thanks for you help! I love it!

  13. Wow, we’ve never heard of Milk Paint before, it sounds amazing. We’re stockist of ASCP in the UK and as far as I’m aware we don’t have Milk Paint here….yet! Your site/blog is lovely by the way.

  14. Sonya says:

    I’m thinking about painting a crib & can’t decide between milk paint or chalk paint. Would you recommend one for this project over the other?

  15. I’m going to try some milk paint because the colors and texture are so wonderful! Hi Miriam I found your blog while I was trying to find the difference between chalk and milk paint. I may have to try the wreath on the chalkboard, that is just so pretty! I’m glad you take a lot of pictures :)

  16. Sheryl Busenitz says:

    I just painted a piece of furniture w/ diy chalk paint. I mixed flat latex, water and plaster of paris. The first coat is very grainy and rough. Is that normal? It will take a lot of sanding. Not too thrilled about it at this point. Love your posts! Thanks for your help!

  17. Thanks for the clarification of the two products. I just painted a pine corner hutch with MMS Typewriter milk paint. It was so thin to start and I ended up using the whole bag (it thickens naturally – I wouldn’t have needed the whole bag)! I think its looking great, but I won’t be able to use the rest of the paint right away…how long will it keep? Can I freeze it?

  18. Alicea says:

    We want to do a chipped look on an olde Amish hutch that was my grandmothers….
    We want to paint it red and them do black milk paint over it so it can chip and you see the red where it chips. I haven’t seen you use the milk paint this way does that work or do you have to do it on the wood surface? Thanks for the help!

  19. Byron says:

    would you tell me what colors were used on the 4 drawer chest in milk paint that looked like a barn red? i have a project that that color would be perfect.


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