general finishes milk paint.

There are several furniture refurbishers out there whose work I really admire and they extol the virtues of General Finishes Milk Paint.  So when I ended up in a shop that sold this product while out shopping with some friends recently I decided to pick some up and give it a try.

The first thing you need to know about General Finishes Milk Paint is that it isn’t really milk paint.  I know, confusing right?

Here is what they say about the paint on their website:  GF’s Milk Paint is not a true Milk Paint – it is premixed and does not contain any casein based ingredients. We named our product Milk Paint with the intention of putting a clear, bright, contemporary spin on an old fashioned furniture paint tradition. It is designed to mimic the low luster finish of old world paints.

So if you are buying this paint and expecting to find a powder you’ll mix with water inside the can, guess again.  And if you are used to using this ‘milk paint’ and then you buy some Miss Mustard Seed or other true milk paint, don’t be surprised to find that it’s totally different.  Also, just know that you won’t get the chippy look that milk paint is known for with this paint.

The fine print on the can says that this is an acrylic paint, and for that reason it didn’t surprise me to find that it is very similar to Fusion paint.  Much like Fusion, it does not require a top coat (whereas chalk paint and milk paint require a top coat to be water resistant).  It also has the same self-leveling properties as Fusion.  It also distresses in a similar fashion, and by that I mean that neither of these paints distresses as easily as a chalk or milk paint.  These paints are meant to be very durable, so the longer you wait between painting and distressing, the harder it will be to sand off the edges for a distressed look.  Just be sure to distress promptly, if you plan to distress at all.  For those who prefer a non-distressed finish, both of these paints are perfect for that.

OK, so now that we have all of that info out of the way, let’s see how it looks.

I started with this petite desk that a friend gave me a while back.

I have to admit, I thought this desk was kind of hideous but it was either me or the Goodwill so I took it.  If nothing else, it provided a great canvas for testing out a different brand of paint.

You got a little sneak peek at this one in my post about my painting chair

Yep, this is where I paint in the winter.  Smack in the middle of my house.  And that chair was the perfect height for painting all of those spindly legs.

And now that it has a couple of coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in Queenstown Gray, well …

it’s kinda cute now, don’t you think?

As you can see, I did distress this piece and I did it about a week after I painted it.  So it can definitely still be done, it just takes a little more effort.

I lined the drawer with some pretty map paper.

Although I’ve called this piece a ‘petite desk’, it’s definitely too small for me to use as a desk.  It would be perfect for a youngster’s desk, but I think it would also work really well as a console table in a foyer or behind a sofa.  It also is the perfect height to be used as a nightstand.

Back in the day, it would have made a great telephone table, but nobody needs those anymore, right?

In the end I think this paint is very comparable to Fusion paint.  It’s just a bit more expensive (at least at the shops where I buy my paint), but not a lot.  If you love working with the General Finishes Milk Paint, you will also love Fusion paint and vice versa.  But obviously, if you’re looking for a true milk paint you aren’t going to find it here.

If you noticed in my first photo, I also bought a can of General Finishes Flat Out Flat topcoat.  I did not use that on this desk.  I have heard really good things about it as well, and I hope to test it out on something soon so stay tuned.

In the meantime, this little desk/nightstand/telephone table is for sale.  Be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

26 thoughts on “general finishes milk paint.

  1. Maybe the “phone table” needs to be re-purpimagined as a pre-trash mail table, usually found in the wntryway (typo I decided to leave, as it perfectly describes a Minnesota entry area for 6 months of the year).


    1. Hmm. The weather must have eased up in Minnesota. When I lived there we referred to it as 9 months of winter and 3 months of “pre winter”. I used GF once. Liked it but a good hike to get and location and price is out of my triangle.


      1. You know, it has kind of eased up a little. Or at least lately we’ve had some mild winters with not nearly as much snow. I believe we set a record this year for how early the ice was out of the lakes 😉


  2. Great information. I also recently tried Paint Couture and Colors of Sweden (same company, different color lines) and loved them. They are similar to Fusion or General Finishes and they have some fun glazes.


  3. Well I just love it! At first glance in the wood tone it’s really sad looking. I think the paint turned it into a charming piece.
    Love that color as well. How does GF Queenstow Gray compare to Annie Sloan’s Graphite? Mr. Q is a pretty witty guy.


    1. I’ll be sure to pass on your compliment to Mr. Q 😉 As for the comparison, I’ve never actually used AS Graphite. I have seen it on pieces by others though and I think it is a tad darker and has less blue. The Queenstown Gray is a gray with definite steely blue undertones.


  4. Well, that is confusing when they name a paint milk paint, but no milk paint qualities. But, I do love the little table (embarrassed to say I thought it was adorable in the before, but much better in the after) and think the paint looks terrific.


  5. Thanks for this excellent information. I was wondering about the similarities of the two paints. General Finishes paint retailer is just a few miles away while the retailer for Fusion paint is over 25. Guess where I’ll be shopping.


    1. I hear that Pat. I prefer to buy products as close to my house as possible, and in person. That is just my personal preference, I am not a fan of buying paint online. Unless of course I have already tried it and seen the color in person and know exactly what I want. But I find that colors can look totally different on the computer than they do in my house.


  6. Great information again! Thank you. I have recently tried Wise Owl chalk paint and I love it. They also have a Lemon Verbena furniture salve that is fabulous for all types of furniture finishes. Added plus is the owner is a delight to order from throwing in discounts and a freebie sample of another color. I have seen many pieces using GF and Fusion with nice results. I love how your desk turned out! Thanks again for the information about the products and about your future vacation. Im envious!


  7. Thank you Linda for your love of painted furniture, we are the new owners of the”Mail Desk, and are very happy.
    March 17th, 2017


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