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Milk Painted Metal Ammo Box

Let’s talk milk paint. Milk paint is a favorite medium of mine to use because of how easy it is to prepare, a small amount goes very far, and it is easy to create a distressed look with it. I found these unattractive ammo boxes at a war surplus store and I really had no idea what to do with them, or even how I was going to get them home. I decided I liked them too much to leave them behind, so home they came and in the garage they sat until I decided what to do with them. You can understand now why my husband often rolls his eyes when I bring things home. Good thing he is a very patient man!  Well, I am happy to say these are no longer sitting in my garage and instead I have a beautiful milk painted metal ammo box.

Milk Painted Ammo Box Before

Paint metal with milk paint

They look awesome painted and chippy.   I used Sweet Pickins Sweetie Jane Milk Paint which we sell here in numerous colors.

Milk Paint Prep

Did you know you can paint with milk paint straight onto old metal?  The only preparation I did was to make sure I got all the dirt and grease off.  To do that I just used dish soap! My awesome helper, aka the husband, used his rag and a little bit of soap on the top and scrubbed it until everything came off. He then wiped it down again with a clean wet rag and it was ready to go!

Prepping a metal ammo box for milk paintNow that my ammo box is cleaned up and ready to be painted it is time to mix up my milk paint.

Prepping metal ammo box for milk paint

DIY Milk Painted Metal Ammo Box

A true milk paint comes in a powdered form and has to be mixed up.  Why, you ask?  Since it is milk based it will spoil within a day or so.  If you need to keep it a bit longer place it in the fridge.  That being said I only mix up a little at a time.  For this project I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup milk paint.

How to mix milk paint

  • Measure out your desired powder and water. Once everything is measured out, dump the powder into your water.

How to mix milk paint

  • Begin mixing.  You will want to mix your milk paint for 2 minutes until all the clumps are gone and it will become a bit more thick.  It may be easier to use a whisk.

How to mix milk paint

  • After mixing, it is time to paint! As I mentioned earlier, there is no need to prime or sand old metal, so you can just start painting! Once everything is painted I let it dry.  As milk paint dries it will begin to flake in random spots… that’s ok so let it do its thing!  


  • After the first coat is dry, use a 220 grit to get all the flaking paint off and to sand everything smooth.  Once it is smooth I applied the last and final coat and this is what I got!

A milk painted metal ammo box with the perfect amount of chippy goodness!!

Milk Painting an Ammo Box to achieve a chippy look

This ammo box was the perfect fit to put under my entryway table that would blend in with my other decor.  Good thing I hauled these boxes home!

Milk Painted Furniture and Ammo Box



Start at Home Decor




  • Irene

    This is so inspiring! I love the post:)

  • Rochelle

    Your directions state “For this project I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup water”, I assume you mean 1/2 cup powder?

  • Kelly

    In the mixing instructions, did you mean to say 1/2 c water and 1/2 C paint powder? It says 1/2 C water and 1/2 C water. Thanks!

  • Bruce

    This is great. Thanks for giving me an idea. I will surely try this.

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