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25 Feb 2015

General Finishes Paint Review

So, I finally got my hands on a sample of General Finishes Milk Paint. It's not the typical Milk paint that you may be familiar with if you are familiar to Milk paint in that this comes premixed and not in a powder form. It 's acrylic based and created with the same idea in mind as other Chalking Shabby Paints...no priming needed. Let me tell you...I was more than excited when I discovered one of my paint samples was a Lamp Black. I had been itching to get my hands on some black paint for a while and although not my first choice in color really wanted to give it a try. I always start with baby steps so I started out with our wood tv stand and then onto our antique child desk shown below.

Photo: Busy night finishing up a school typography desk. Used my sample General Finishes paint and my silhouette cameo to cut out a stencil for the top. Now to decide to distress this or leave it alone.

Let me start off by saying as much as I dislike their labeling...I LOVE this paint. It is so silky smooth and glides on with such ease. The most amazing find about this paint is that it dries smooth where you don't see a single brush stroke. NOT ONE! So if you are a person where brush strokes drive you batty and you want that clean professional spray look...this is the one for you! I can't say if it's this way with all the colors but it definitely goes with the black. It's almost astonishing how beautifully it goes on. I did notice it does take longer to dry than most other paints that I use which I have a feeling helps with the brush strokes no showing...longer time for them to settle out just like with oil paints is my guess. I want to say that it is also a much smoother consistency and reminds me a lot of working with a stain gel. As for the consistency was the coverage was excellent which surprised me. I'm sure some of it has to do with it being black (darker paints have better coverage) but it only took 2 coats to have complete coverage...unlike my runs with the famous ASCP that took me 3 layers and a touch up. I am curious to see if I get the same results using their white.

This is not mine but here is a person that used the lamp black on a dresser make over and turned out beautifully!
Storywood Designs 3 Drawer Painted Dresser www.storywooddesigns.com

Like with most other chalky paints it does require a top coat which I have yet to do on my sample pieces but from what I've discovered their water based top coat gets all great reviews. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

They sent me a flat top coat which is what I would have chosen over their other options. If you know me I'm all about the matte and flat look. The one thing I will say is that if you're looking for the chalky look...this isn't the paint for you. It's a good flat/egg shell finish but you definitely do not get that clay chalky feel of other shabby paints. That isn't to say you aren't able to distress afterwards to still give any pieces a shabby appeal with the use of this paint. It is a milk paint so it is designed to work with Shabby Chic lovers it just doesn't have that thick clay textured appeal that some people strive for on certain pieces is all.

I do HIGHLY recommend this paint for that black pottery barn finish. It all around a wonderful paint and I feel so strongly that I will be carrying this brand for sure for my customers as a must have product paint for furniture refinishing. I see it being a wonderful option to repaint cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms. It will easily give you a professional look without the hassle of having to learn technique and sanding between layers which saves a ton of time.

One thing that has to be brought up is the color selection isn't ideal. My secondary color sample they gave me was Royal Purple...and wow is it purple. I have no idea what on earth I would have to paint this with!?! Unlike some other brands where I feel I would literally use ever single color at some point...I would have to say I'd be pretty selective as to what I'd choose with their choices...and even feel I'd need to do some of my own mixing of colors to tone down some of the boldness.

General Finishes milk Paint color options

Another thing I do have to bring up and I did take pictures of this, there was a lot of premixing involved. Even though it comes premixed I still had to spend a good amount of time mixing what was a large settlement of pigment and minerals that had clumped together and formed at the bottom of the can of paint. It did take some time and effort to make sure all of the bottom settlement was broken up and mixed in well to the rest. I'm not sure if this is the norm or if I just had that one can that had been sitting around for a good amount of time possibly years. It's something I'll be asking them when placing my first large order so I can relay it on to my customers.

Other than that it's TERRIFIC and very much recommended to use!

Here's a summary....


  • It's American Made - There's a great story on how they started out here in the states in 1928 on the about us page of their website.
  • Low Oder
  • No Priming Needed
  • Ease of use - Amazingly Smooth to use
  • Incredible smooth finish with no brush strokes
  • Great Matte/Egg shell finish
  • Wonderful Line of colors and wide range of other specialty products and top coats
  • Very reasonably priced


  • Extra time and effort needed to mix in settlement on bottom of can (not really a complaint but something to be noted)
  • Selection of colors isn't as ideal as some other brands where I feel I could use all their colors here I'd have to be more selective.
  • Does not give the true Chalky Clay like look of other shabby paints (which can be a positive depending on preference)
  • Not the nicest labeling (sorry it's my graphic design background...it had to be said but has nothing to do with quality of the paint which is fantastic)
  • Does require that top coat of wax or poly
  • Tends to take a bit longer to dry but still much faster than any oil based paint (which isn't really a factor unless you're impatient like me. :P)

I am curious to test it out on glass and ceramic and look forward to giving my results with those as I have some time to do so in the near future.

Here are some other helpful links in regards to General Finishes Milk Paint and products.

generalfinishes.com/waterbase-finishes-manufacturer-wisconsin - About us page great story on how they all started.

www.storywooddesigns.com  - This blogger post her fave top products and GF are of the top 5 and is listed twice. She also give some great information about the product.

perfectlyimperfectblog.com - Here's a wonderful Shabby Chic Armoire done over with the while GF Milk Paint...it has wonderful details of it's transformation.
See a milk painted armoire at perfectly imperfect.

www.curbly.com - Here's another claim of it being the best furniture paint you've not using...I have to agree!

www.euphemeraldesigns.com - Here is a review you may feel less bias...they like the paint but don't seem as enthusiastic about it as others I've come across but keep in mind they are huge ASCP fans so again it's about preference...these two are in my book completely different styles of paints and should be used for completely specific looks.

www.merrypad.com Here is a review on GF gel stain and to be honest the finish results is much like my results with the black paint very smooth!
Close up on the general finishes gel stain.

Thank you for taking the time to read up on review and please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! I appreciate any and all feedback and inquires.

Read 43069 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 20:39
Lil Miss

Hi my name is Katie and I have been an artist ever since I was able to pick up a crayon or marker to draw something. I've taken on many roles as an artist and have enjoyed every medium I've touched from hands on painting, to the digital world of graphic design and web development and even had a successful hand-made jewelry business. My most recent venture is restoring old furniture pieces to look new again. To me painting is equivalent of having a day at the spa. I enjoy it that much! I hope you find what we do here inspiring and you come across something  you love!

Website: www.moorerefine.com
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