Recipes For Milk Paint
I promised this for John over at the Devil Queen who is having an orgy with the stuff this week. If you buy this pre-mixed it is quite expensive but to make yourself would be quite cheap unless you choose to use a cobolt, chromium or cadmium based color pigment! Let me just add that the only reason I know this stuff is because we found that Household Discoveries Book from 1909. It has been most useful in helping me understand exactly what people had available to use and why. Since I was painting my basement walls with slaked lime I have come to realize that this 4000 year old technique has become obsolete in this country in the last 50 years. When I tell people that I have been whitewashing my walls they look at me with a puzzled expression or make a comment like "I didn't think people did that anymore." The truth is that they don't and that is why basements look like crap in old houses. So what does this have to do with milk paint? Here are two recipes from the 1909 book as they are written;
Lime Paint.- A mixture combining the qualities of paint with those of whitewash may be made with slaked lime as a basis by the addition of various materials, as milk, whiting, salt, alum, copperas, potash, ashes, sand and pitch. with or without a small portion of white lead and linseed oil. These mixtures are more durable than whitewash, but have less finish than white lead and oil. The cost is intermediate between the two.
To prepare a lime paint, slake lime with water and let dry to the consistency of paste. Thin with skimmed milk to the proper thickness to lay on with a brush. Add color matter as desired.
Or slake 4 ounces of lime with water to the consistency of cream and stir into it 4 quarts of skimmed milk. Sprinkle the surface through a sieve 5 pounds of whiting. Let this gradually sink, then stir and rub together thouroughly and add coloring matter as desired. The casein or curd of milk, by the action of caustic lime becomes insoluble and produces a paint of great tenacity suitable for farm buildings, cellars, walls, and all rough outdoor purposes. Apply with a paint brush. Two or three coats will be necessary. The above quantity is sufficient for 100 square yards.
There are three more recipes involving such items as white pitch, potash, copperas, ashes, white lead and linseed oil in various amounts. The book also has recipes for fireproof paint, blackboard paint, acid proof paint, barrel paint and glue paint for kitchen floors! You could always go to Home Depot of course but you won't find bags of masons lime there. You will need to find a brick supplier for that and it will cost between $5 and $7 for a 50 lb. bag
While knowing the basic ingredients is useful, this opens oneself up to other questions like "What the phuck is copperas?" So you better have a dictionary handy!