Difference Between paints Pinterest image

I’ve been asked so often to explain the difference between Chalk Paint and Mineral Paint, or between Chalk Paint and Milk Paint. So here’s a summary I’ve put together based on my opinion, along with my description of these products. Thrown in the mix, I’ll glean from the manufacturers of these products themselves for further info.

Let me start by saying how much I love painting, and I really do love all these products, but I find that I use them for different pieces I’m working on, for different reasons, and I think that’s all just a matter of personal preference.

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint:

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

I first discovered Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint via Marian Parsons’ blog, Miss Mustard Seed, and was excited when she partnered with Homestead House Milk Paint Company in Canada to produce a range of colours for this wonderful age old primitive style paint. I had my sister-in-law send me some from her closest stockist way before it became available in Australia (she lives in the USA). I fell in love with the quality and feel, and the authentic distressed chippy finishes that I could produce, topped with the lovely waxes or hemp oil to finish.

Full disclosure: It was easy to say yes to being a retailer in Australia for MMSMP, and I’ve made several video tutorials on my experiences with this type of furniture paint on my youtube channel. You can purchase MMSMP products via the Product tab on my menu bar. Or if you’re in the USA, get 10% off using my code IRESTORESTUFF here: Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint USA.

Product form:

  • Milk Paint comes as a powder which is combined with equal parts water to form a smooth, slightly runny mixture, similar to pouring cream.
  • Comes in 230gm & sample sachet (30gm) of powder. Some retailers may stock 460gm packets for serious furniture flippers.

Milk Paint in powdered form


  • little need to prime or strip surfaces – very little prep required, unless you are wanting super good adhesion, in which case, sanding or even stripping may be required.
  • self levelling, meaning you won’t see brush marks – the paint levels as you apply it to a surface.
  • very quick drying – dries to a porous, chalky finish.
  • needs to be finished or sealed with a wax or oil for best results.
  • can be used on many surfaces, but will often result in a naturally chippy or flakey finish on more varnished types of surfaces, unless a bonding agent is added.
  • can be sanded back and distressed very easily for an authentic chippy or aged patina.
  • only have to mix as much as required for each project.
  • 24 colours to choose from.
  • contains 5 simple ingredients: milk protein (casein), limestone, clay,chalk and natural & non-toxic synthetic pigments.
  • 2-3 coats needed for good coverage.
  • a 230g packet mixes to create approx 460ml paint, which covers approx 15m² (if covering a dark surface with light colour you will need more coats)
  • wash brushes out in water. Can use Brush Soap for excellent results.

Painted Piano Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint
Click on this image to see how I painted a piano using MMS Milk Paint.

When I love to use Milk Paint:

  • on antique pieces that lend to a lovely distressed chippy finish.
  • for an authentic French Country cottage or rustic feel, especially when using the white colours.
  • as a wash or stain to bring out the grain details in a piece of timber especially on the top surfaces of dressers or table tops. (ratio for stain: 1 powder:3 water)
  • for a layered, farmhouse look using two colours.
  • for a smooth modern look when adding the bonding agent.

Find Milk Paint here: Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – use code IRESTORESTUFF for 10% off.

Mineral Paint:

Inglenook Fusion Mineral Paint

Family owned paint company, Homestead House, developed Fusion Mineral Paint. You can read more in-depth features on their website here. I love using it, and all the extra products that compliment their range, like the Metallic Paints, Glazes and more. I became a retailer for the Fusion brand when it first arrived in Australia and you can find it under the SHOP tab on this website.

In 2021, I also added Australian brand, Artisan Mineral Paint to my online shop (and in Brisbane at Camp Hill Antique Centre). With all the qualities of a great mineral paint, Artisan also has a beautiful range of colours which you can find HERE on my website.

Here are the basics on Fusion Mineral Paint:

Product Form:

  • ready made paint formula in a clear plastic jar, with a consistency similar to latex paints.
  • made using 100% acrylic resin
  • comes in 500ml jars & 37ml sample pot.
Fusion Coverage demo
A 500ml jar covers all this.


  • no need to prime or strip surfaces – very little prep required. *Note: prep is ALWAYS a good idea, no matter what paint you use, even if it’s just a quick scuff sanding. For an in depth article on prepping your piece, read HERE.
  • self levelling – very minimal brush marks – the paint levels as you apply it to a surface.
  • very quick drying – dries to a satin – matte finish
  • NO need for top coat – built in top coat means no waxing is necessary, but wax can still be applied if you prefer more of a sheen on your finished look.
  • sticks to most surfaces, as the name (Fusion) suggests.
  • paint will not separate or harden in the container for 7 years (What? yes. true.)
  • water-based, non-toxic, lead free, virtually odourless and very low volatile organic compounds (VOC), contains no ammonia or formaldehyde.
  • can be sanded and distressed, but best to do this soon after painting rather than later. When the paint has had time to cure, it becomes more difficult to distress.
  • 50+ colours to choose from.
  • 1-2 coats give good coverage.
  • 500ml jar covers approx 7m².
  • wash brushes out in water.

Fusion Mineral Paint Champness

Eucalypt Artisan Mineral Paint
Artisan Mineral Paint – Eucalypt

When I love to use Mineral Paint:

  • for a beautiful smooth finish on more modern style pieces that I don’t intend to distress.
  • on varnished or glossy surfaces where I think I’ll need a paint with a stronger grip.
  • when I just need to whip out a quick project without the need for adding wax or a top coat to finish.
  • to layer two colours on a surface (which you can really do with any paints) using a resist in between layers.
  • I also love the fact that it has a built in top coat, so no need to wax, but I can add wax if I wish to for extra sheen, antiquing wax for an aged dark finish, or white wax for a beachy look.

Chalk Paint® or Chalk type paints:

Antibes green chalk painted table

The first type of specialised furniture paint I ever used was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, not long after I started restoring furniture several years ago, and when it finally came to Australia, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. You can see my first experience with ASCP in this video (Please excuse the music in the background – it’s not possible to remove it):


Note: There are a growing number of Chalk type paints on the market both here in Australia and internationally. In this post, I am reviewing as per my experience with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. I have also enjoyed using Artisan Chalk Finish, a chalk type paint made here in Australia, and you can see my review on this paint here on this demilune table. I now stock Artisan Chalk Finish along with their newer Mineral Paint.

Product Form:

  • Ready made paint comes in a can, and has a smooth, thick consistency.
  • ASCP comes in 946ml can & 118ml sample pot.
  • Artisan Chalk Finish comes in 1L, 500ml & 200ml bottles.
chalk paint by Annie Sloan



  • little need to prime or strip surfaces – *as I stated above, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to prep, depending on the substrate (surface you’ll be painting on), so for more reading on how to prep your piece, go HERE.
  • available in many decorative and historical colours
  • sticks to just about any surface – wood, concrete, metal, matt plastic, earthenware and more, inside and outside the home.
  • dries quickly to a chalky matte finish.
  • brush strokes can create great texture, which works well with dark wax to age patina. Can also be sanded for a more smooth finish.
  • needs to be finished or sealed with a wax or oil for best results.
  • 1 litre covers approx. 13m².
  • 2 coats gives good coverage (whites generally need additional coats over dark surfaces no matter the paint type).
  • wash brushes out in water.
Chalk Paint Emperor Silk
[Source: anniesloan.com]

Chalk Paint or Finish is a good option for painting authentic, aged finishes, and can achieve some great textured results.

I hope that has helped answer some of your questions about the difference between these types of paints. This is by no means a comprehensive list of pro’s and cons, and as I said, each is a matter of personal preference as to which paint you feel most comfortable using for different pieces.

Download our quick reference guide comparison between Chalk Paint, Milk Paint & Mineral Paint BELOW.

If you’re in Australia and trying to decide which type of paint you’d like to use, why not try either MMSMPFusion, or Artisan Paint in a few sample size colours first. Order from our online SHOP.

In the USA? Use my code IRESTORESTUFF for 10% off Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint HERE. or try Fusion Milk Paint HERE.

We’d love you to share your painted projects on our Facebook Group, so come and join the tribe and feel free to ask questions or share what you’re working on: I Restore Stuff – You Can Too.