Not my cup o’ tea I guess
By: Chris E. (Jun, 2021)
For some background, I hate painting, so let’s just say this review is going to be biased. I heavily subscribe to the “the first step in finishing is wood selection” mantra, and really never considered painting furniture for any reason. But after spending 2 months making a base for a live edge cherry sitting bench, I encountered the worst blotching imaginable and had to abandon the original plan, which was to ebonize it jet black with dye.
I thought this would be a cool alternative, partially based on some photos I’d seen and also because Chris Schwarz’ The Anarchist’s Design Book had a few pages on it in the back. I liked the idea of a mix it yourself, non-toxic approach, and saw a photo on the real milk paint site of the Arabian Night paint just jet black , very flat and looked almost sprayed on like hot rod primer.
So now the problems I had.....first was the foaming. Just horrible, uncontrollable foaming. I tried shaking it in the jar, swirling it around, stirring it with a stick. Nothing helped. I really feel that the manufacturer should just sell this product with the anti foaming solution as part of it. On my test pieces, I couldn’t get an even color because of the foam.
Then I remember in the book(Anarchist Design) that he says step 1. Throw away the instructions. 2. Mix 2:1 water to powder. 3. Strain the paint through a cheese cloth, which was the savior in getting the foam out. The problem I then had was that the 2:1 mix was not even in color. It was drying with very large streaks of grey. The paint needs to be stirred every time you dip the brush into it, it settles that fast. When it came time to paint the piece, I mixed slightly less than 2:1, but then encountered the cheese cloth not letting the liquid through. So I added more water in again.
So, already long story short-ish. I have 4 coats on and it looks really nice. But I can’t really handle it, as the paint comes off incredibly easy. 1 swipe of 320 grit and nope....no way that’ll work. Moved up to 600.....nope, still taking way too much off. Tried Mr. Schwarz’s recommendation of a paper lunch bag....STILL taking it down to bare wood too easily. So I settled on 2000 grit. Man, this stuff is finicky. It does look amazing though.
So now, with the paint done, I have to seal it somehow. I planned on using Tried and True original, since they recommend using linseed or Tung Oil. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I swiped the bottom of the piece with some on a t-shirt and the paint is sticking to the rag. At this point I’m too nervous about wiping more paint off, so I resort to spray shellac. It’s a lot more glossy than I want, but I can actually touch the surface now without looking like a coal miner.
So there you have it. I still hate painting, and now have another lesson on why you should take grain selection seriously. Hah. I really don’t think the product is at fault completely. My technique probably sucks, but my artist wife did agree that this paint is very inconsistent, so just be aware of that. It’s got tons of good feedback, but it seems to be more of the restoration and distressed looking type of furniture, which apparently I’m not into.
I own this product.