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Milk Paint Wood Bowl

Milk Paint Wood Bowl is a painting technique that goes back hundreds of years. The interior of the bowl is first painted orange and then blue on top. Then I sand the blue paint to reveal the orange layer. The exterior is orange and reveals the natural wood.

Maker’s use this technique to restore or duplicate vintage American furniture. Where the paint wears away the lower colors begin to appear. This becomes obvious on high spots where there is wear from rubbing. Milk paint is an organic product from natural materials and is non toxic. I will use this process when the wood on a finished bowl lacks character.

This large wood bowl features milk paint on both the interior and exterior. The high spots exhibit various layers of paint exposure. This enhances the wood grain patterns. There are members of the wood turning community who are against painting wood. They are known as “Wood Purists” and believe that wood bowls should not be painted. This makes no sense to me as wood is another form of a canvas. After all, wood has been painted for centuries. Ever see a plain Totem Pole?

Decoration Methods

Other decoration technique that I employ is painting with copper and then oxidizing the surface. The result is that the piece appears to be from another time period. The viewer is uncertain if the bowl is wood or metal. When this happens, I consider it a successful piece.

I design all these items in my Montvale, New Jersey, USA studio. My main tool is the wood American Beauty lathe. Many of the forms that I produce start on the lathe. Then the piece goes to the studio bench for additional decorative techniques. This may include carving, piercing, staining, airbrushing and other methods. Finally I apply a protective finish.


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