Clay paints are as old as human civilization, as they can be made with clay that is naturally occurring in most regions. Variation in the type, size, and quantity of clay and aggregate can result in finishes ranging from grainy, heavily textured surfaces to polished, glass-like surfaces; the finer the aggregate, the smoother the texture.
Once applied, the mixture dries and hardens. There is no chemical change in clay paint, so exposure to water can soften or erode the paint. In areas where high wear or water exposure is expected, an oil or wax finish can be applied over the clay paint to add a further degree of protection.
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Milk or casein Suitable for interior or well-protected exterior surfaces, including wood, plaster, and drywall.
The effectiveness of milk paint is based on the properties of casein molecules, which contain a glue-like substance that is freed in the presence of base materials like lime or borax. Powdered fillers like clay and/or calcium carbonate give the paint body, and pigments add coloration. Microfibers (such as cellulose) can add further body, and a number of admixtures may be included to give particular properties to the paint.
Once mixed with water, the paint requires 20-60 minutes to allow the reaction between the casein and lime to transpire.
In areas where high wear or water exposure is expected, an oil or wax finish can be applied over the milk paint to add a further degree of protection.