In the past I know that I have been able to continue painting in my unheated carriage house workshop well into October.  Usually October is one of my favorite months weather-wise; cooler, but not too cold.  Perfect for painting outside.

But for the last two weekends in a row we haven’t made it out of the low 50’s.

Despite the temps, I had some pieces out in my workshop that I really needed to get painted.  Since I planned to use Dixie Belle paint on them I reached out to my contact there to find out if it was OK to use their paint in the cold.  The official answer is yes, you can apply the paint outside if the temps are in the 50’s.  However, it will take longer to dry.

And of course, I’d have to pile on the fleece to be comfortable myself too.  Plus keep in mind that Dixie Belle paint should not be allowed to freeze.  Freezing and thawing again may affect the integrity of the paint.

So in the long run, even though I could have painted in my workshop, I opted to move my painting operations back indoors.  Luckily Dixie Belle paint is non-toxic and has zero VOC’s, so I’m perfectly comfortable with using it indoors with the windows closed to keep out the cold.

Since low temps below freezing are predicted for this coming weekend, I realized it was time to move all of my painting supplies back inside the house too.  This seems like a good opportunity to remind everyone of some cold weather painting tips for the three types of paint that I use most.

Milk paint is probably the most cold weather hearty paint that I use.  I’m referring to authentic milk paint that comes as a powder that you then mix with water when you’re ready to use it (Miss Mustard Seed, Homestead House, The Real Milk Paint Co and Sweet Pickins are all true milk paints).  General Finishes Milk Paint is not a true milk paint, but an acrylic paint, FYI.

Although I can’t find any definitive information about it online, I’m sure I could get away with leaving the milk paint powder packets out in the workshop in temps below freezing as long as I warmed it back up a bit before mixing it with water.  I wouldn’t choose to store it out there all winter of course, but if I forgot it out there for a few freezing nights I’m betting it would be fine.

Once mixed milk paint only has a shelf life of a few days.  Plus it is recommended that you store it in the fridge overnight if you aren’t going to use it right away.  So leaving mixed milk paint in a chilly workshop would be OK, but don’t allow it to freeze at that point.

Also, it’s OK to paint with mixed milk paint outside all the way down to freezing.  Just keep in mind that it will take longer to dry and you’ll freeze your butt off while doing it.

Fusion Mineral Paint is freeze/thaw stable.  It has been formulated to withstand freezing and then thawing up to three times without affecting the integrity of the paint.  So if you forget to bring your paint inside when the weather turns, you have three chances to get it inside before it starts to feel the effect.

Well, that makes sense eh?  Fusion is a Canadian company and they know cold.

Also, much like the Dixie Belle and milk paint, you can apply the paint in temps down into the 50’s but it will take longer to dry.

As for safety, all three of these paints are perfectly safe to use indoors with the windows closed.  Each one has zero VOC’s, and all three have very little odor.  Since I typically spend nearly six months out of 12 painting inside (more like seven this year apparently) this is an important quality to me.

This is a good time to remind you guys that not all waxes are created equal when it comes to safety.  If you didn’t see my previous post about that, you can find it {here}.  Please stay safe, especially when working indoors with little ventilation!

And if you’re wondering what I did get done last weekend, I finished up five pieces all painted with Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  I’ll be sharing them with you next week, so be sure to stay tuned!


19 thoughts on “brrrrrr.

  1. Thank you for this timely information. I live in Indiana and Monday and Tuesday this week we had temps in the high 80’s and humid! Yesterday and today we had low 50’s!!
    I wanted to paint my parents house since I took two weeks of vacation starting yesterday, but with the temperature, that goal may not be met!!! Crazy year for weather!


    1. It has been a crazy year for weather, especially for those dealing with massive storm damage. I’m glad we haven’t had any destructive weather here, but it sure does mess with plans for doing some outside painting!


  2. Greetings from a fellow Minnesota! I love your blog and have learned so much from it.

    What is your honest opinion on Fusion Mineral Paint versus Dixie Bell paint. You can respond via email or text and not blog comments. I’ve only used fusion but I see more people are now using Dixie bell

    Marsha j

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Hello fellow Minnesotan! I’m happy to respond here so everyone can see it. First, full disclosure, both Fusion and Dixie Belle provide me with free product to use. But I try to always provide my honest opinions about all of the products I use. And my honest opinion is that I love both of these brands equally but for different reasons. Neither is perfect, they each have pros and cons. I love that Fusion is extremely durable and washable once cured, and that it doesn’t require a topcoat (thus saving time and money). I don’t love that it tends to show more brush strokes, especially in the dark colors. It’s my go-to paint for mid-century pieces that I am not going to distress. Fusion can be distressed, but because it’s so durable it can take a little more effort and I don’t think it looks as naturally distressed as chalk paint or milk paint do. It’s also my first choice for the insides of hutches or cabinets, again because it’s more durable and doesn’t require a top coat. If I’m painting a really large piece I tend to use Fusion because I’m lazy and since it doesn’t require a topcoat it’s one less step I have to do. If I were painting kitchen cabinets or a bathroom vanity I would choose Fusion hands down because of its durability. I love Dixie Belle because I can water it down slightly and then it goes on very smoothly and brush strokes are not a problem. That’s probably why I tend to go for their Caviar (black) more often than Fusion’s Coal Black. Dixie Belle paint is easier to distress (either by wet distressing or sanding) and looks more organically distressed than Fusion. In my opinion you have a little more artistic license with a chalk paint when it comes to the finish too. If you like a really flat, flat finish, you can opt to not use a top coat over Dixie Belle. However, it will not be water resistant and could spot from contact with water. If you want a little protection but still a relatively flat look you can add wax or a flat sealer. If you want a little more sheen you can add a satin sealer. Also, I’ve had trouble using the Fusion paint over vinyl, while I’ve found that Dixie Belle adheres well to vinyl (that’s kinda random, but I do occasionally paint vinyl stools or suitcases). I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but I hope this info is helpful. If you have any specific questions about either brand feel free to ask!


      1. Thank you for this side by side comparison. I think you hit it spot on. I have a little trouble with the dark colors of FMP showing brush strokes, too. There was a bit of a learning curve when painting with it the first time after almost exclusively using chalk paint before. I’m happy to know it wasn’t just me getting the few brush strokes in my paint!


  3. Hey Miss Quandie…….this is all good info and you are very knowledgeable 😀 Aaaaand…….I always have a little feeling of letdown when a post has no reveal of something that has been “Quandiefied”!


    1. LOL, I know, right? I’m always a little let down myself. And the irony at the moment is that I finished 4 pieces last weekend and then it was gloomy and rainy here for a solid four days. We are only just starting to see a couple of peeks of sunshine today. Since all four pieces are black, it just wasn’t going to work to try and get decent photos of them in the gloom. Hopefully I’ll make up for it next week with lots of fab reveals 🙂


  4. You know, I wonder if it’s a necessity to be born a certain place in order to fully embrace it and “get it”? Say like Australians who all seem to love Vegemite? In Minnesota you have to live indoors for half the year! I wonder how many projects you’d crank out in a warmer climate! LOL…..Then again, in Minnesota you have all the fall leaves and the coziness and the Christmas-y feeling at Christmas and all the normal nice people who aren’t ALWAYS jonesing about social justice! A little more quietude for inspiration………just a little stream of consciousness here :-d


    1. Well, FYI, I wasn’t born here, although both of my parents were. We lived here for a short time while I was in grade school, but then my family moved to South Florida. I moved back to Minnesota when I was 23. I’d say it took about 15 years before I became acclimated to this climate (seriously, that is no joke). But here’s my secret, I kinda love winter now. It can be such a relief to be done with gardening and to be limited to painting only one or two things at a time. It’s a sort of forced down time that allows me to feel rejuvenated come spring. All of that being said, it’s not supposed to start quite this early!!


  5. Thank you for the informative post. Luckily, and strangely from what I read, my “art room” is in my house. I do all my prep work, sanding, etc in there. Since it’s in the back of the house it can get a bit lonely back there so my dear husband tolerates me doing a lot of the painting process in a corner of the living room. It feels as if I use my “art room” (named by my husband) to do all my painting, I’m missing out on a lot of my family life. Do you ever feel that way when you use your lovely cottage? I am envious of it,though. It’s a beautiful space full of inspiration.


    1. Well, it’s just me and Mr. Q and we spend plenty of time together aside from my painting time. So, no, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. But I’ve always been a bit of an introvert who is perfectly happy in my own little painting world most of the time 😉


  6. Hahahahaha, I’m wondering if it was deliberate using “eh” right before mentioning that Fusion paint is from Canada? I guess we are kind of known for that!


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