the how-to ... dying fabric with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

July 13, 2017

Well, who knew?  Yes, not only can you PAINT with milk paint, you can use it to dye fabric as well!


Now this isn't something new. In fact, we've painted furniture for years and having used lots of different chalk style paints and milk paints, of course, I had seen it done as I perused Pinterest and read blogs.  But being a new Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint retailer, I had to explore all of the fun ways to use this paint.



Lets start with the basics. And start with a disclaimer...being a textile person and seamstress and all around make-it-myself gal for many, many years, I've got a little experience working with different mediums. But I'm not perfect, and I'm not an expert. I just love to experiment. And then I embrace the result. I either love it or I learn from it. (by the way, two of these pillows sold the first day in the someone else loved the result, too!)


I've only used RIT dye in the past. But it's pretty much the same concept. Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint has such a lovely color palette derived from those beautiful natural pigments that I wanted to see what would happen when I used it on white linen.'s what I did. Please note...your results may vary based on fabric, ratio of MMS milk paint/water and time.


Gather your supplies:

  • Fabric of choice ( I used white linen pre-made pillow covers)

  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

  • Salt

  • White VInegar

  • Water

  • a deep basin

I chose four colors...MMS Kitchen Scale, French Enamel, Trophy and Bergere.


And some white linen pillow covers.


Dilute about 1/4 cup of milk paint powder in about 6 quarts of warm water. Make sure all the minerals and lumps are dissolved completely. But even if they aren't, that's gives your fabric a more interesting appearance! Note: This was enough for me to soak one pillow cover at a time. Obviously, if you are doing a large piece, you need to adjust your amounts accordingly, so you have enough of the dye to cover your fabric. This is a good starting point. For deeper pigment, concentration, add more paint powder.




Stir in a good 1/8th cup of salt into the milk paint solution and dissolve. This is your dye.




Wet your fabric piece with warm water and then submerge it in the dye. I stir it. And let it soak. And stir it some more. And let it soak longer.  And keep stirring from time to time. I let my pillow cover soak for about 20-30  minutes. 





When you have soaked it to your liking,  remove the fabric and rinse it under warm water until  the water runs clear. For the final rinse, I submerged the fabric in a pot of cool water mixed with about a cup of white vinegar to help set the dye.  I wanted a very pale, subtle color for my pillows. If you want a deeper pigment, use a higher concentration of milk paint and/or soak it for longer.


Squeeze out excess water, then pop your project into a dryer on normal heat cycle until it's dry. 




And don't throw away your dye! Go ahead and put some other stuff in there! Cloth napkins, a linen tea towel, a cotton apron, vintage doilies, ribbon, muslin strips for bunting. Whatever natural fiber stuff you want to color!


I love the results. Mostly because I'm not too much of a perfectionist, and because I did it myself, and the finished effect is SO pretty, soft and natural. 


  • The dye, once dried, does not wear off on other fabrics. 

  • I washed the pillow covers after they had gone through the whole process and sat for a few days. I washed with a mild detergent and in cool water on a gentle cycle. And I hand washed in cool water. Guess what? The pigment looks just as good!

  • I would caution using them in direct sunlight, because as with any fabric or dye, they could potentially fade. 


So, go ahead! Get your hands wet and dye something with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint! 


By the way...check back at our Facebook page or website in the days ahead, because I will be offering a Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint 101 Workshop so you can learn all about how to use it to get some really authentic vintage and timeworn effects!






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