CAUTION: Do NOT use any type of clear topcoat over white or light GF Milk Paint Colors, as it may cause yellowing when used over wood substrates. GF Milk Paint is a premium self-sealing finish and does not require a topcoat. If you want a white paint with a higher sheen, use GF White Poly (spray only) or GF Brushable White Enamel instead. Darker colors can be top-coated if a higher sheen is desired.
Watch our Milk Paint Product Overview Video Here
Watch our How To Achieve A Bright White Finish Here
General Finishes Milk Paint Application Steps
Substrate: Wood (See below for other substrates)
- Watch product overview video here. 2:18 minutes.
- Stir paint to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.
Thin as desired with distilled water; start with 5%, adding up to 10% by volume. Do not use flowing agents such as Floetrol. This paint already contains a flow agent and outside products may not be compatible.
Increase open time, if needed, with up to 10-15% General Finishes Extender if allowed by local regulations. GF Extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates. California Residents: Adding more than 2% of GF Extender will make the products non-compliant per SCAQMD Regulations. GF assumes no liability for the improper use of these products.
Apply as many coats as needed for desired coverage. 2-3 coats are standard but additional coats may be required when using colors with less "hide properties," such as bright reds, greens, yellows and whites.
- Hand application: Using a synthetic bristle brush, foam brush, pad applicator, staining pad or microfiber roller such as Whizz or AllPro brand, apply using smooth, even strokes.
- Spray application: See video tutorial on spraying Milk Paint. Before spraying, strain paint through a medium-mesh filter. Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. HVLP: 1.8mm-2.0mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. See our general guide for spray tip sizes. Keep your gun at a 90° angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass 25% to conceal lines. Wear full filter NIOSH/MSHA-approved respiratory & eye protection. Read here for more information on spraying techniques.
- Face frames on cabinets: Milk Paint can be applied successfully to cabinet face frames, edges or drawer fronts with a brush, pad or small cabinet-specific roller such as Whizz or AllPro brand.
Dry 2+ hours between coats and before gf water-based topcoat in ideal conditions: 70°F/20°C; 50-70% humidity. Be sure to allow adequate dry time. You can tell if a water-based finish is dry if it forms a powder when lightly sanded with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding pad. If in doubt, wait longer. Rushing dry time can cause clouding/blush in topcoat due to moisture trapped between coats. Increase dry time if: Finish sand between coats with a fine-grade (220-320) foam sanding sponge or 400-grit sandpaper to improve smoothness and adhesion. Do not use conventional steel wool.
- Humidity is over 80%
- 3+ coats are applied
- Thick coats are applied
- Applying over an existing sealed finish
- Applying over products from other brands
- Layering General Finishes water- and oil-based products:
- Water over oil: Let oil-based products dry 72+hrs before applying water-based products
- Oil over water: Let water-based products dry 24+hrs before applying oil-based products
- To accelerate dry time in humid conditions, add General Finishes Accelerator and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness.
- Remove dust with a vacuum, compressed air, an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.
Topcoat is not required but is recommended in certain situations. See "Step 4: Topcoat over Milk Paint" below.
Water-based finishes cure and harden for full use after 21 days in ideal conditions. Avoid placing heavy objects on surfaces that have not completely cured. Treat gently, and do not clean with commercial products during the curing period.
Notes on Color
- All white paints darken or yellow over time, but the change is more evident with bright whites, such as General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint.
- Some colors made in a clear base require additional coats for coverage due to their lower hide quality, e.g., reds, deep blues and yellows. Bright whites may require additional coats over dark existing finishes.
Warning: Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.
The above instructions are for application over wood surfaces only.
Non-wood substrates require different application techniques and dry times. See website FAQs for more information.
With the proper application technique, Milk Paint can adhere well to: