Jean’s milk-based paint
Coverage: I did have some difficulty finding borax, eventually tracking it down in Bunnings, but you can also find it at Bin Inn stores nationwide, and chemists sometimes have it too. Hydrated lime is available at garden centres.
1.8m² | 20ft²
How to make
1. The night before you want to make your paint, take a small container and mix the lime with enough water to cover it, then leave it overnight. It will solidify but add more water in the morning to make it a paste. 2. In a second container, crush your stick of chalk (I used one large stick of blue chalk) and add enough water to cover, then leave it overnight too. 3. In a third container, mix the milk and vinegar gently together – don’t stir for more than 30 seconds – and leave it overnight in your kitchen to curdle into curds and whey. It should turn into a large, slightly firm, bubbly-looking cake of casein swimming in a pool of whey by the morning. If it is still liquid milk by morning, put it in a warmer place (25°C+) for another 12 hours – don’t stir it – and it should curdle. 4. Drain the curd through a woven dishclothlined sieve, then place the sieve in the sink and run tap water gently through the grains of curd. If your water pressure is strong, use a jug to pour water over the curds instead. All you want to do is wash away the vinegar and leave the curds, so a gentle stream of water is better. 5. Drain the curd over a bowl – pull up the edges of the dishcloth and squeeze gently to remove any remaining whey. You will be left with about 300g of fairly dry, well-drained curd.
You should now have three different containers of ingredients ready to go. 6. Mix the borax in ¼ cup of hot water. Place the curdled, washed and drained milk curds into an electric mixer on a low setting (or you can use a hand beater), add the liquefied borax to the curd and stir for about 1 minute, until well blended. 7. Transfer the liquid curd and borax mixture into a bucket or large bowl and add the chalk pigment and lime. Mix all ingredients well. 8. Pour through a sieve into a clean container – you will catch lots of flecks of coloured pigment and grains of lime in the sieve, and you should discard them. 9. Pour your coloured liquid through a dishcloth-lined sieve again, this time into a storage container – your paint is ready.
This paint has a similar consistency to thin cream. You will need to brush on several coats to gain a good surface colour but it will be a fresh, soft, anti-bacterial, anti-mould paint.