General Finishes Milk Paint on Metal

I was recently sent some samples of General Finishes Milk Paint and I decided to try it out on a metal trash can that I have in my office.  The trash can has been getting quite rusty for some time because it sits by a sink and gets water dripped on it every day.  It was in desperate need of a makeover and the Coastal Blue colour of paint that I received was perfect for this project. General-finishes-milk-paintI didn’t do very much prep to the metal can to get it ready except wipe it down with a damp cloth and let it completely dry.  metal-trash-can-refinished-general-finishes-paintNot only was the can getting rusty but had a ton of scuff marks that I was hoping to cover up. scuffed-metal-trash-can-before-paintAs this was my first time using General Finishes Milk Paint I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I have worked with true milk paint many times before so wasn’t sure if it would adhere in the same way or if it would act differently.rusty-trash-can-lid-before-general-finishes-paintI have to admit that I was quite surprised once I began to brush it on.  It didn’t act like a milk paint at all but rather a latex.  It was a fairly thick paint, not at all thin like most milk paints, and had a beautiful matt look to it.  general-finishes-coastal-blue-top-coatWhile I was waiting for the first coat to dry (I applied two coats in total), I headed over to the General Finishes website b to see if I could find more information on the paint.  As it turns out, the General Finishes line of milk paint is more of a water-based latex paint with the colours of old world milk paint.  It is not a true, pre-mixed milk paint.  (you can read more from them here)general-finishes-milk-paint-coastal-blueDespite my surprise with the product, I loved it!  The paint on metal adhered beautifully (and has still not chipped or peeled in any way) and the colour was opaque and rich.   metal-trash-can-painted-general-finishes-milk-paint I finished of the can by giving all of the newly painted surfaces one coat of the High Performance Top Coat to seal it.  The top coat didn’t change the look of the paint at all because it was flat and I liked that it added a little bit of extra protection without changing the colour.  trash-can-recreated-general-finishes-milk-paint-coastal-blueThis trash can has a lot of use left in it and I am so happy that the General Finishes paint gave it the pick-me-up it needed.  This paint gets a huge thumbs-up from me and I will definitely be using it again!

The paint used for this project was graciously provided by General Finishes but the opinions are completely my own.


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  1. I recently used General Finishes Milk Paint on 2 wooden bedside tables, and wondered if it could be used on the metal hardware as well. Based on your project, I’ll give this a try. Thank-you!

    1. The paint has held up incredibly well on this trash can and it gets used all of the time! I would definitely use it on the hardware based on my experience 😉 Have fun!

      1. The hardware turned out great with 2 coats of paint and protective finish. Very pleased with these General Finishes products.

  2. Thank you so much for your take on General Finishes paint! I have not tried it yet and I do not know a whole lot about it so I appreciate you sharing your experience with it! Thank you for sharing it a Making Broken Beautiful, it looks so nice now. Definitely something that will add to the decor of your kitchen! Smiles!

    1. Thanks Terry! General Finishes is pretty hard to find in Canada; at least in Ontario. It is only available at Lee Valley Tools but I have definitely grown to love it! This trash can has held up really well (and gets a lot of use!) and I am loving the colour 🙂 It is definitely a paint I will use again. Have a happy day! Lisa

  3. Wowza!!! That looks like a brand new trash can!!! Love the color!! You did a great job on this project!!!

    1. Thanks so much! I love when you can save something that is still useful and make it look better at the same time 🙂 I really liked how well this paint worked on the metal!

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