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Milk Paint vs. Mineral Paint: So… what’s the difference?

Probably the most common question I get is “What is the difference between Mineral Paint and Milk Paint?” And, honestly, it was less frequently asked before Fusion introduced their own ‘Milk Paint by Fusion’ line. Having two types of paint under the same “brand umbrella” seemed to blur the lines a bit for those that were unaware of the differences. But fear not, I am going to walk you through the differences and explain each one individually.

The good folks at Fusion have created a handy infographic (down below) that will quickly explain the differences by one.

Formula

Mineral Paint is a ready-made paint in a jar that requires little more than a quick shake to use it. True milk paint in general (and Fusion’s is no different) is a powder that is mixed with water to create your paint. Typically the ratio is one part paint to one part water (or 1:1) and results in a paint that is the consistency of, you guessed it, milk! A little thicker than water but a little thinner than cream. This can vary with color and desired effect. Lighter colors sometimes require less water to make them thick enough to cover well. While mixing paint requires a tiny bit of time and effort, there are some distinct advantages.

  • Milk paint can be mixed thinner (up to 3:1 water:paint powder) to make the equivalent of a stain in any color your choose. This is especially helpful when a whitewash effect is wanted over raw wood.
  • Milk paint can also be mixed thicker, to the point that it creates a paste for adding texture to your project. The texture can be manipulated with tools or pushed through cheesecloth or a similar item to achieve a pattern of sorts.
  • It is VERY easy to mix colors with milk paint. You can mix it after the water has been added and stirred, but the best way is to mix the powders together so you can keep track of EXACTLY how much of each color you used so you can easily recreate your recipe. A digital kitchen scale capable of milligrams is helpful here.

I said earlier the “true” milk paint is a powder. This is because there are companies that have been marketing canned “milk paint” for many years now. It is not a “true” milk paint because milk paint does not have a long shelf life. Milk paint is made with casein (milk protein) so it tends to go bad once it is mixed. The time varies with the paint and even the color, but I have had mixed milk paint in a sealed container last over two weeks. Typically, I would say that 24-48 hours is your best bet for using it before it begins to go bad.

Prep Work

Both Milk Paint and Mineral Paint require just a bit of prep work if you want the most durable finish you can have. And when I say “prep work” I am referring to prepping the surface to be painted. No matte what paint you use, the quality of your finish is directly related to the quality of your surface. A little prep goes a long way, especially with durability.

Both milk paint and mineral paint need to bond with the surface to form a durable finish. Certain surfaces with a slick or glossy coating can be challenging to get proper adhesion because the paint simply has nothing to grab onto. Paint needs a little “tooth” to adhere properly. Mineral paint is a little better in this instance, as it will bond with more surfaces than milk paint, but slick surfaces must be prepped for the best results.

Both paints use the same product to help with adhesion, Fusion Ultra Grip, although it is used differently depending on the paint you choose.

When using mineral paint, Ultra Grip is applied to the surface BEFORE painting. A thin coat with a roller or brush is all that is necessary to help the paint to adhere to the surface. It will dry clear, so if you are planning to distress your piece you will not see it.

For milk paint, Ultra Grip (also referred to as bonding agent) is mixed WITH the paint at an equal ratio to the paint powder and water (in other words 1:1:1). This creates a paint that is more prone to adhering to difficult surfaces. Also, bonding agent should be used in all paint layers for the best results.

And regarding the above mentioned ratios, it does not matter what measuring device you use. It can be a teaspoon, a cup, or a random scoop. The point is that it is measured by volume, not weight. We are making paint, not bread.

Top Coat

According to the chart below, mineral paint does not need a top coat and milk paint does. This is true in MOST instances, but not all. When milk paint is applied to a porous surface (raw wood, terra cotta, concrete, etc.) it will generally bond to that surface well enough to render a top coat optional. Unfortunately, we don’t often paint raw wood when we are redoing furniture, so a top coat helps to protect your milk paint once it dries.

Finish

Both paints have a similar finish, but milk paint is a wee-bit chalkier. It also reveals a slight amount of color variation because of how the paint powder mixes into the water. This is my favorite part about milk paint!

Water Resistance

Water resistance is mostly referring to how water affects the paint finish itself. Mineral paint dries very hard with an acrylic “shell” that provides a certain amount of water resistance. I would NOT recommend leaving a glass of iced tea on your mineral-painted surface, but if it gets wet and wiped up in a reasonable amount of time no harm done.

Milk paint, on the other hand, is a bit on the water-soluble side in that water can interrupt its adhesion to the surface. This is why a topcoat is more or less necessary. An acrylic top coat like Fusion Tough Coat Matte or Fusion Tough Coat Gloss is best in this situation as waxes do not have permanent water resistance. Water will certainly bead up on a waxed surface, but left for any period of time it will soar through and leave a mark on your paint.

How to Store

A long shelf life is common to both paints in their original form. Mineral paint in a tightly sealed container can be stored for YEARS (7 years according to Fusion) and milk paint can be stored in its dry form indefinitely. But as I stated earlier, once milk paint is mixed with water its shelf life drops to somewhere between 24 hours and 2 weeks depending on several factors.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Both paints can definitely be used outdoors. The difference is determined by the finish used on top of the paint. Because mineral paint itself is water resistant, it can be used outdoors with minimal issue. Use of an exterior water-based topcoat will extend its life even more. Milk Paint, on the other hand, requires a topcoat to be waterproof. And the best topcoat in this situation is an oil-based topcoat. Generally, the most widely accepted oil-based topcoat is 100% tung oil. The only disadvantage to tung oil is that it is slightly amber in color, so using it over a bright white or certain other colors will produce a color slightly off from the original, usually a bit darker and a tad bit more yellow.

Dry, Recoat, and Cure Time

This one is confusing for a LOT of people. Three different terms with three different meanings. Lets go through them one by one. This is a long and important explanation, so bear with me here.

  1. Dry Time – Dry time is how long it takes paint to be dry to the touch. This is somewhat misleading because with a thicker layer of paint the surface may be dry (because it is exposed to air and paint dries top down) but it may still be wet closer to the surface. This is PRECISELY why it is not a good idea to “back-brush” or “back-roll” over an area that you painted even a couple of minutes ago. Your brush or roller can literally move the top layer of semi-dry paint around on the wet layer below. You will also increase your brush or roller strokes because once the paint starts to dry it can no longer self-level and your brush strokes will be more prominent.
  2.  
  3. Recoat Time – This is the amount of time the paint needs to be recoated. This is to prevent what I just discussed above about moving the dry layer around on the wet layer, but more importantly about not allowing moisture to become trapped under your paint. If your first coat is only partially dry, a second coat on top of it will dry faster than the first coat (because it is closer to the air above) and seal in the moisture of the first coat. This will cause your paint to not adhere properly because the trapped moisture will prevent it from sticking properly. I can also cause other horrors like bleed and other color inconsistencies. This step is important! Give your paint time to dry before recoating.
  4.  
  5. Cure Time – Paint not only dries, it cures. Curing is the amount of time it takes paint to harden to its maximum hardness. Because milk paint by itself does not contain any synthetic resins like acrylic or polyurethane (and is typically thinner than mineral paint), its dries and cures in a very short time and thus can be recoated in as little as 20-30 minutes. Mineral Paint, however, gets harder over time as the acrylic resin cures. This is why it is best to not use your piece of furniture for up to one month if it will receive a heavy amount of use or abuse, like a dining room table top or kitchen cabinets. Now, obviously, most of us cannot avoid using our cabinets for 30 days, so a bit of caution for the first month will help keep your fresh paint looking its best.

This subject gets a little sticky when using bonding agent in your milk paint. Because bonding agent is the made from the same acrylic resin that is used to make (acrylic) mineral paint, it follows the same guidelines for dry, recoat and cure times.

Brush Strokes

Brush strokes. Ugh. Nobody likes brush strokes. Problem is, no matter what paint you use, if you use a brush you will likely see brush strokes, EXCEPT milk paint! Because milk paint is typically mixed thinner than mineral paint (or latex paint, etc.) brush strokes will self level themselves better than other paints. Even rollers leave roller texture. While Fusion Mineral Paint does have an excellent way of minimizing brush and roller texture, nothing beats milk paint. Even when mixed with bonding agent!

Color Options

This one is more of a comparison between their own two paint lines. Fusion currently offers 53 colors of Mineral Paint and 25 colors of Milk Paint. Now, taking into consideration that we carry THREE brands of milk paint that are all made by the same factory (Milk Paint by Fusion, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and Homestead House Milk Paint all made at the Homestead House Paint Co. factory) and have the same mixing and use instructions, this means that we have a total of 96 colors of milk paint available. Yes, some of the colors overlap a bit. And some of the colors are the same colors as the Mineral Paint line, which gives additional options for layering multiple shades of the same color, but more on that in another post!

Look Options

Here is where milk paint really shines. Both paints can be used for clean, modern looks. Both paints can be used for a vintage, distressed look. But milk paint can give you things that mineral paint cannot, like a chippy finish or a weathered rough finish (this can be achieved with mineral paint by using Fusion’s Fresco). And with a little practice, milk paint can be blended into a cohesive yet multi colored finish that is difficult to achieve with ANY other paint.

Summary

So, the infographic below is the short version of what I have been discussing in this post. I hope that I have given you some insight as to the real differences between these two paints, and more generally milk paint vs. ready-made paints of any kind, including chalky paints and latex paints because most of the same principles apply.

I hope this post was informative and I welcome you to our new site! This is just the first of what I plan to be many informative articles about milk paint, mineral paint, chalk-based paint, and furniture paint in general. I look forward to growing our content catalog with relevant and educational posts and even possibly a video or two.

Stay safe and keep wearing your mask!
Mike @ Vintique

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Welcome to Vintique Finishes 2.0! Lets take a quick tour…

The wait is over! As I have said many times in previous posts and emails, this site has been a labor of love. I began the journey of this new web site way back in November of 2019, researching new platforms and identifying the features that I wanted the new site to have. While our last site was functional and served its purpose, it lacked several functionalities that modern web sites have to make online shopping easier. I think our new site accomplishes that goal, so lets go through a few:

Product Search

Yes, search! As simple as it may sound, it was a difficult feature to implement on our old web site. The new site has a robust search capability that assists you in the process. The search bar is in the top right corner of the site, on every page. You can type something as simple as “blue paint” and it will return every blue paint we offer. If you type “Fusion blue paint” it will return all blue paints under the Fusion brand. I put a tremendous amount of time and effort into getting this search feature (and the next feature we discuss: Filters) to work properly and return accurate results, and it was the bulk of the time spent designing the new site. I hope you find it useful!

Filters

If you are not certain what exactly you are searching for, then Filters will allow you to drill down into the product catalog to find products by attributes like color, size or paint type. They work on the “or” principle, which means you can select more than one attribute to widen your search. For example, if you are not sure if you want a blue or a green paint you can select blue, green and turquoise and see all options at the same time. You can also filter by Brand, size, sheen and paint type.

Wish List

Wish List is a new feature that allows you to keep a list of products that you’d like to order in the future, or just to remind yourself to look at them again. Your wishlist is kept in your “My Account” section and there is a link at the top of the page.

My Account and Wishlist links at the top of the page
You can add products to your Wishlist by clicking the Heart link on any product page.

Waiting List

The single MOST requested feature BY FAR is a waiting list, and I am ECSTATIC to introduce it to you today! Our waiting list will automatically notify you when an item that you would like to purchase is back in stock. You will have to verify your “subscription” by email, but it will only be used to notify you about that particular product. Once you have been notified, the item will be removed from your list so you will only be notified once. You can always add it again if it goes out of stock again.

Note: This should not be confused with the Wish List. The wish list WILL NOT notify you of anything. It is simply a list you keep for your own reference. The waiting list is a notification service, and can be accessed from any product page.

Use the purple button to join the waiting list for a product. Don’t forget to check the box and check your email.
You can view the contents of your Waiting List on your My Account page.

Product Reviews

Also on the product page you will find the Product Reviews tab. There are three tabs below each product’s image on the product page: Description, Additional Information and Reviews. I invite and encourage all customers to review any items in our catalog. I try very hard to make sure that all products on our site meet my own standards of quality as if I was one of our customers, and reviews are valuable in evaluating a product before purchasing it. It can also act to alert us to a product that may need a higher level of scrutiny in terms of quality, or how we represent it in images or text descriptions and filterable attributes.

You can title your review, choose a star rating, write a text review, and even upload images in jpg or png formats!

Shipment ETA’s

One carryover from our previous site will be a more prominent display of our expected shipment ETA’s. While I hope that these will become a thing of the past very soon, as Fusion gets completely caught up on shipping paint in adequate quantities and in a timely manner, I will keep these at the top of our page until that day comes and we no longer need them. The Waiting List feature is also designed to reduce the need for specific shipment notifications and I plan to discontinue our regular shipment email once this feature is put to good use by our customers.

Order History

Another item that turned out to be more complicated than I expected was existing customer Order History. Your order history can be found in your “My Account” page. Our previous web site platform did not have a favorable format for exporting order history data, so I enlisted the help of a company that specializes in exactly this. While the transfer did seem to do what it was supposed to do, there are. a few inconsistencies here and there. Order numbers will not be the same as the old site, and order dates may or may not match. Also, although products are displayed in your history you will not be able to use them as links to re-order them, unfortunately. This was a technical issue between he old site and the new one that I could not get fixed. All orders starting now on the new site will have reorder links in your order history.

Summary

I think that pretty much wraps it up. Again, I hope that everyone finds these improvements helpful and worthy of the wait. The transfer from one server to another was a little more complicated than I had hoped, and took longer than planned, but I am really excited about the results. Also, a big welcome to all of our customers from vintiquefinishes.co where we sold Debi’s DIY Paint exclusively! The main goal when I started this project was to combine the two sites into one. There were reasons that they had to be separated, which I will go into in another post, but I was able get it done on this new platform and still keep all shipping guidelines in tact and not breach any of our retailer agreements.

Enjoy the new site and please don’t hesitate to reach out in any available contact format. We have comments below, email, phone, contact page, reviews, Facebook and soon a couple of new options! A chat feature is something that I was unable to implement in the new site upon its launch, but I am hoping to be able to have a more-or-less instant contact capability in place in the very near future.

Thanks so much for your patronage and your patience while I worked on this mountain of web site work!

-Mike @ Vinique

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New shipping policy, effective 1/27/21

Most orders are shipped out via USPS Priority Mail within 1-2 business days. Average arrival time is 3 business days once shipped. Due to COVID and the 2020 holiday season (as well as other factors), many shipments have been experiencing delays of up to 14 days or more. Please understand that this is beyond our control and be patient. Check your tracking info and if it gets stuck somewhere, let us know and we will submit a missing package inquiry with the Post Office.

With the rising cost of shipping services, especially the USPS, it has come time to increase our minimum order amount for free shipping. Effective immediately, 1/27/21, free shipping is available on all orders $99 and up excluding all Debi’s DIY products. Our retailer agreement does not allow free shipping on the DIY Paint line, so we are not able to offer it. What does that mean, exactly? Let me clarify:

Any order containing a DIY branded product will incur a shipping charge, even if the order contains $99 of eligible products. I have created a shipping table that gives the lowest possible shipping prices that we can allow determined by weight.

But what about your Fusion order? Fusion shipping prices are the absolute lowest we can manage and still offer the level of service that we are accustomed to giving, with 1-2 day turnarounds and 2-3 day Priority Mail shipments for most orders.

Fusion (and most other products) shipping tiers:

$2.99 – Color cards and most brushes under 8oz

$3.99 – Total weight under 16oz

$4.99 – Total weight under 2.5# (one jar of Fusion paint, for example)

$6.99 – Most orders above one jar of paint but under 10#

$9.99 – Orders over 10# (you should almost reach the $99 minimum at this level)

So, if you are used to getting free shipping at the previous $49 minimum order, most orders will pay a low shipping cost of $6.99 for up to 4 jars of paint, or similarly-weighted items.

DIY Paint shipping tiers:

$4.99 – under 16oz (most 8 oz jars fit this category)

$6.99 – under 4# (one quart or two pints of DIY Paint)

$9.99 – under 8# (two quarts)

$14.99 – under 15# (four quarts)

$19.99 – under 30#

$29.99 – under 45# (about 12 quarts)

$39.99 to $59.99 – 45# and up

*Note: This is a complicated calculation, and I am working very hard to make sure that the cart calculates shipping accurately. IF fo any reason you suspect it is not, please let me know.

— Mike @ Vintique

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Debi’s DIY Paint – Color Chart – By Color

Links to paint will be added soon!

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Debi’s DIY Paint – Color Chart – Alphabetical

Links to paint will be added soon!

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Fusion Mineral Paint – Color Chart – By Color

Links to paint will be added soon!

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Fusion Mineral Paint – Color Chart – Alphabetical

Links will be added shortly! -Mike

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Storms may cause delays…

***

Update 8/26/20

Looks like we are out of harm’s way. Our post office closed on Monday so no shipments went out (even though I packed as many as I could) but everything was back on track Tuesday. I don’t foresee them closing again, but we didn’t expect it on Monday either so who knows! Average shipping lead time is still running about 2 days, occasionally three. I hope everyone in western LA and eastern TX finds their way to safety. This storm is a monster!

**

Two tropical storms (possibly hurricanes) are headed our way over the next few days. While I do not know for certain, I would guess that we may see some shipping delays as access to the shop and power outages may become a problem.

Image from weather.com

The first storm (Marco) is scheduled to land Monday morning, which may interrupt Monday’s outgoing shipments. If you have already placed an order but have not yet received a shipment notification you fall into this category.

The second storm (Laura) is larger and stronger and appears to be heading for landfall on Wednesday or so. This storm could have impacts on all orders placed from Sunday through the end of the week and beyond.

We are no strangers to storms and are preparing as best as we can. We will be riding out Marco, but if Laura comes our way we may have to evacuate. The website will remain up and accepting orders, but delays in shipping may occur.

I will keep this post updated as we move forward, as long as I have power and internet services.

Stay safe everyone,

Mike

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August 2020 inventory update

I hope everyone is safe and healthy in this, what is it, 5th? month of COVID quarantine! A lot has happened since my last update, and a lot has stayed the same. Let’s go through it real quick :

First of all, Fusion has been getting caught up on producing the more popular colors in larger numbers. Some colors are still available in limited numbers and some are shipping regularly. Some colors are out-of-stock and will continue to be out intermittently for a little while longer, but we are getting much closer to “normal”.

Second, our shipment arrived today (8/11/20) and will be available online at 6pm, or shortly after this post goes live. Raw Silk is in good numbers this time!

Third, testers will continue to be in short supply for the next few weeks. Fusion has been focusing on making the pints, so testers have taken a back seat for now.

Fourth, Stain & Finishing Oil should be back in stock towards the end of the month, as well as the Staalmeester brushes that we have been sold out of.

Fifth, Milk Paint by Fusion will be here in October! Be on the lookout for info on the site about that product launch. I absolutely love milk paint, and while it doesn’t act quite like Mineral Paint once you use it and understand how it works I think most people will love it too.

Lastly, I have some personal news. Two weeks ago I had an accident at the shop and broke my left wrist.  It required surgery, which I had last Friday, and I am now recovering in a cast and sling.  Doing this kind of work one-handed is no easy feat, but I was lucky to have my son with me to help these last two weeks.  But, unfortunately, he goes back to LSU on Friday and I will be on my own again until I can find some new help.  My original helper, Frankie, has been home with her children since the lockdown started so I’m not sure when I will get her back.  I am telling you this simply to ask for your patience in fulfilling orders.  I will be working slowly for a couple of weeks (at least) and orders tend to be heaviest when a shipment arrives, so the timing on this one is pretty bad. I will only have him for one day and, because I have a follow-up appointment tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, shipping will not begin until Thursday.

We have been asking for your patience a lot over the last few months, and this little incident makes it worse, I know, but I hope that you can understand the situation that we are in. Trust me, the last thing you want to do in a pandemic is go to the emergency room and/or have surgery, but here we are.

Thank you for your support and understanding during these trying times. We will get through it!

Mike @ Vintique

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COVID-19 & an update on sold-out paint

**Update 6/9/20** – Paint is starting to flow again, slowly. Many colors arrived and were made available today, and another shipment will be here in early July with MUCH larger numbers of the constrained colors. Some colors still remain unavailable, but we will be ordering as often as they let us and as many as they let us. Stay tuned!


The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected each and every one of us in one way or another. Fortunately, my family and I have stayed healthy I have been able to continue working and shipping daily. I isolate both at home and at the shop, and my only contact is with the Postal, UPS and FedEx drivers. And I am tired of washing my hands!

Quarantine, isolation, and social distancing has been a good reason for many people to get projects done around the house, many of which include painting furniture. We have seen a sharp increase in orders because of this trend, and it has affected our shipping times and our inventory. Our processing times have slowed from our normal 1 business day to 2 or even 3 business days in some cases. While this is the norm for many businesses it is slow for us. I do my very best to get your paint to you as quickly as possible, sometimes as soon as 2-3 days from the moment you order it. Quicker turnaround times will return, once things get somewhat back to normal.

Our inventory, on the other hand, has been hit very hard. About a month ago, Fusion stopped producing paint. They even stopped shipping for a short time, until they decided to re-open their warehouse with a skeleton crew to keep paint moving. But they are only able to ship the paint that was already produced, and once they sold out there would be no more until production started again. That is where we stand now. Many of our most popular colors are already, or will be very soon, sold out. Those same colors will be in very short supply when production starts again, as Fusion will be limiting the number of jars that each retailer can order per week until they can ramp production back up to full capacity. This is expected to last for 4-6 weeks, but we do not really know. For now, the affected colors are:

Algonquin

Ash

Casement

Coal Black

French Eggshell

Limestone

Midnight Blue

Raw Silk

Picket Fence

Pebble

Little Lamb

As of this post we still have stock in some of these colors. As they begin to sell out their quantities will be restrained by whatever number we are able to get in our future shipments. As you probably know, we do our best to estimate when a shipment will arrive and post that date near the top of our site to make it easy for customers to keep track. This is the best we can do with the resources that we currently have.

Unfortunately, our current website does not have the capability to notify users of items that are back in stock, nor can we hold or “pre-order” out-of-stock items. We have tried this in the past with mixed results, so for now it will stay that way. I am hard at work on a new, more capable and user-friendly web site that will help with some of these problems, including a favorites or wish list, stock notifications, and product reviews. I plan to launch the new site by the end of the summer.

To summarize, product will be tight for the next couple of months. Many items will show up on our site as “sold out”, even though our shipment may have come in the same day. It will be frustrating for all of us, and I appreciate your patience while we work through this pandemic aftermath.

We have a small shipment due in around the 22nd of April, but none of the above-mentioned colors will be in it. The earliest ETA I can give on any of those colors is the middle of May, and quantities will be extremely limited. We are planning to place an order once a week to get our allotment, and orders take about 3 weeks to arrive. So assuming I can order any of these colors as early as the last week of April, their ETA will be the middle of May and then again weekly after that, pending availability.

I will do my best to keep my arrival estimates accurate, and we will post a specific time when the site’s inventory will be updated to make it as fair as possible for our customers to place their orders.

I apologize for the long, wordy rant, but I had a lot of information to share, and I invite any questions via our contact form, email address, phone, or comments below.

Stay safe everyone,

Mike