Making Milk Paint from Scratch
Alright, so I need to make a confession: I have milk in my fridge, but I only buy fat free skim milk when I’m making milk paint, because it’s super gross. If you’re going to drink milk, drink the good stuff! Anyway, I start off by pouring the whole gallon of skim milk into a large pot. Make sure it’s at room temperature.
Then I add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar, and stir it up.
Then I let the mixture sit in a warm room, and I don’t touch it again for at least a few hours. Overnight is better. The vinegar will curdle the milk, just like when you’re making cheese.
You’ll know it’s ready when the milk has separated into curds and whey. The curds, or “quark”, has a lot of concentrated milk protein, which gives the paint its durability.
Then I put a pasta strainer in the sink, and I lay a couple layers of cheese cloth inside. I pour the curds and weigh into the strainer, and give it some time to drain the whey.
Next I rinse the vinegar and whey off of the quark a couple times.
I gather the quark up in the cheese cloth, and further squeeze out more of the water. But I don’t get it too dry, or I’d end up with cheese! Yes, at this point I think you can still back out and have some nice farm cheese…although it probably won’t taste great because there’s no fat in it.
This next step is where the quark becomes inedible. First I add ¾ cups of Hydrated Lime into a glass container. Make absolute sure you don’t use quick lime. I bought hydrated lime at a nearby farm supply store. $5 for a 50 pound bag, or $8 for a smaller bag. But the small bag is more than you’ll need. You can also order small bags of it online (see above in the ingredient section).
Then I add the same amount of water onto the lime, and mix them together.
Eventually the mixture will become smooth, with no clumps.
Then I dump the quark onto the lime, and do my best to scrape as much of the quark off the cheesecloth as possible. I mix this mess up for a couple minutes until it’s as smooth as possible, then I let it sit for about 15 minutes to let the lime further break it up.
Then I come back and do my best to break up remaining clumps.
I put the kitchen strainer over another clean bowl, and strain the mixture again through some clean cheese cloth.
Paint filtering funnels like this work well too, though it takes longer to filter this thicker mixture.
If you’re doing a base color and a top color like me, then you can divide the mixture up into two containers. I’m using some old disposable plastic containers.