What’s The Difference in Furniture Paints?

What's the difference in milk paint, acrylic paint and FAT Paint chalk style paint...let me explain

This post has been a long time coming. I am asked every-single-day “What’s the difference between paints?” and to explain the difference between the three paint lines I carry – Fusion Mineral Paint (an acrylic), Miss Mustard Seed’s (a Milk Paint) and FAT Paint (a chalk paint). So here we go!

What's the difference in milk paint, acrylic paint and FAT Paint chalk style paint...let me explain

What's the difference in paints? Front Porch Mercantile explains

Three paints. “Why do you carry 3 paints?” this comes up every day. :)

Here’s why. Because guess what? No matter what anyone, any company or any pinterest board tells you, or claims, or says, or swears by…no matter what they/I say – NO ONE PAINT PAINT DOES IT ALL! It’s crazy to think that one paint could. I carry three of my favourite lines/types of paints because I use all three, and guess what? I use others too. Gasp. Spray paint? Yup. Still use it for some applications. Crazy to think that one paint does it all. I promise if you come to me for advice, I will guide you to the correct paint, not just what I sell.  Now that we have that out of the way, grab a coffee and a comfy chair, this is going to be a long post. But you have been asking so I will give it my best “kick at the paint can” to explain why I use, love and carry three paints.

My 3 paint lines are Fusion Mineral Paint, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and The FAT Paint Company’s Chalk Style Paint. You can visit all their websites and see what they have to say too. :)

all our paints are MADE in CANADA

Ok, first…I need to say, ALL of my paint lines are Made in Canada. MADE in CANADA! Thats super duper important to me and I worked really hard to find the best quality paint I could, and I’m very proud to carry only Canadian Made paints. Ask your local retailer if they are carrying Canadian Made (or North American made) paint. It’s important to support local. These lines are all sold in the US too (and for my European readers, currently all but FAT Paint is sold internationally)

All three require very little prep (although you should check with your retailer about your specific project), usually no sanding, no stripping and no primer required. For all. For real. Honestly. You can read more about prep here. 

MMSMP colours

ALL three of my paint lines are run by family owned and operated business with big hearts and big ethical values. They care about their products, their retailers, their customers and will do whatever it takes to make it right. I could pick up the phone and call the President of every single one of these large companies on a Saturday night at 10pm and chat if I have an issue (I wouldn’t, but I totally could) you may not see how that may affect you and your paint choices, but I will tell you what that means, it is that I have answers and support and hands on daily knowledge of these paints, they care and I care too. Corny, but, honestly this is not just “selling widgets” to these companies, and it’s not for me as well. Quality products. Quality information. Quality matters.

I have hosted the President of Homestead House at my house for a few days, I have hosted the President of The FAT Paint Company at my cottage in Nova Scotia for week and Miss Mustard Seed and I are good friends and she’s also been invited too! I love these paints and their people. :)

Milk Paint Colours are so beautiful

Another big check mark – and this is a big one – is that they are all SAFE to use. No chemicals and no or low VOC’s (thats the yucky chemicals we don’t want in paint), there is virtually no smell, all of my lines can be used indoors with the window closed and/or with kids and dogs running around. Safe. We paint every day in our shop and you’ve never smelled a thing when you walked in. See. Truth.

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

Before I had my shop, my workshop was in my bedroom (truth). I would paint and jump in bed – no smells, no safety issues. It’s a good thing!

I use all of my paint lines almost daily and truly love these paints. I would not carry them otherwise.

Ok, so you know WHY I carry these paint lines and what is similar about them – Made in Canada, family owned and hands on run businesses and safe and easy to use.


Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint - whats the difference? Front Porch Mercantile

I adore Milk Paint, and I adore the President of the company Marian Parsons. Marian and I met a few years ago before I even thought of owning a retail shop. I was blogging and painting from home. I was immediately taken with Marian’s kindness and genuine love for her product. I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time with Marian and apprciate her hard work and love for her product. She is exactly what she portrays online (you can read her blog here). Marian was one of the people who inspired me to open a retail shop and bring milk paint to Atlantic Canada.  I now work for her as one of 5 North American retail trainers, I train the trainers if you will. They come to my little shop from all over North America to learn about milk paint.  MMSMilk Paint is manufactured by Homestead House (who also make our Fusion Mineral Paint) in Toronto. To say I love it is an understatement. It’s my first love.  You have to be a little patient with milk paint, it’s particular, takes a little more time, and needs you to be ok with perfectly imperfect, you can create amazing pieces with milk paint. You can read more about it here.

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint blog via Front Porch Mercantile


  • 100% All Natural. Not just eco friendly but ALL NATURAL, zero VOC paint that is completely biodegradable and non toxic
  • Comes in a powder form and mixes easily with water – normally a one to one ratio, mix as much or as little as you need. Made with only 5 All Natural ingredients
  • Porous paint which requires a top coat to properly seal
  • Very quick drying, can repaint as soon as your first coat dries
  • Requires 2-3 coats for best coverage
  • Very little prep required – light scuff sand, good cleaning and you can start painting
  • Sands smoothly, little to no brush marks visual
  • Can achieve various looks using milk paint, including chippy, layered, old world or solid
  • Distresses beautifully and easily if desired
  • Milk Paint will resist some surfaces creating a beautiful chippy look (if this look is not desired adding bonding agent will stop the chipping)
  • Comes in 24 beautiful colours
  • Can be used on interior and exterior pieces
  • Colours can be mixed to achieve an endless number of colours
  • Super easy clean up with water
  • The other products in the line are all top quality and so well thought out and amazing, waxes, hemp oil, mixers, etc.
  • Can be used as a wash, a stain (by adding a little more water) or in multiple layers for aged look

hemp oil from Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint line

Step by step Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

You can check out some of my Milk Paint projects here 

The FAT Paint Company – Chalk Style Paint

Love the Amanda Forrest Collection from FAT Paint chalk style paint

Oh  how I love FAT Paint. Truly. LOVE. Grab a jar and paint. Paint all the things. I love the colours in this line. I started panting furniture using chalk style paints (there are several brands on the market, I honestly tried  dozens of them before I found FAT Paint and was sold on it). The wax top coats in this line are superior to any other I have tried as they are beeswax based and a dream to use. I (and my customers) LOVE FAT Paint.

Amazing AmandaForrest Fat Paint collection


  • Comes premixed in a can with a smooth consistency
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Dries super quick to a matt chalky finish
  •  FAT Paint can be distressed and crackled, but will not chip
  • Very little prep required, light scuff sand and cleaning for most projects
  • Paint on almost any surface without priming, glass, metal, leather, concrete, plastic, wood
  • 1-2 coats for good coverage
  • You can get a smooth finish with little brush marks, or if desired make brush marks for texture which looks amazing with our dark Patina Wax.
  • Wonderful waxes and complimentary products in the line
  • Porous paint makes sanding and distressing a dream
  • Makes painting kitchen cabinets a dream
  • Paint up your project quickly and easily
  • Fantastic for layered looks, aged looks, washes and specialty finishes
  • Requires a top coat, can use wax, hemp oil, clear coat or any water based top coat
  • Easy clean up with water

FAT Paint chalk style paint available at Front Porch Mercantile

paint Front Porch Mercantile

You can see some of my FAT Paint projects here

Fusion Mineral Paint – Acrylic PaintFusion Mineral Paint, whats the difference?

Fusion Mineral Paint is made by Homestead House in Toronto (who also manufactures Miss Mustard Seed’s Paint). Again, the president of this company Jennylyn Pringle has become a wonderful friend and an amazing mentor for me. I am a former retailer trainer for Fusion Mineral Paint, and love it for it’s ease of use. You can read more about Fusion here. Fusion gives a smoother look, I don’t use Fusion when I want a distressed or aged look (you can distress it, but I prefer our porous paints for this). Fusion is amazing on front doors and works well outside.

Fusion Mineral Paint what's the difference


  • Zero VOC’s and chemicals – safe to use
  • Self levelling, if applies properly you will not see brush marks – easy to apply
  • No top coat always necessary – although you can add a protective coat if required or for a soft sheen and finish (I prefer to have a top coat on table tops when I use Fusion)
  • Ready mixed paint with a consistency similar to latex paint
  • Can be sanded and distressed (although should be done asap after painting)
  • Will adhere to most surfaces with minimal prep required, light sanding, good cleaning and occasionally the use of Ultra Grip is required
  • Comes in beautiful colour collections
  • Lots of complimentary products in the Fusion line, including transfer gels, crackle, glazes and more
  • Can easily be mixed together to create new colours
  • Recently announced Tones for Tots collection is a beautiful collection of colours for children’s rooms
  • Lots of beautiful Fusion Mineral Paint coloursFusion Mineral Paint at Front Porch Mercantile


You can see a few of my Fusion projects here. 

So there you have it!

My three paints and the benefits of them all. It still amazes me the power of paint. You can paint your furniture, easily and safely with just a little paint and an afternoon. Do you have a piece in your life that just does not give you joy the way it is now? PAINT it! You CAN do it!

We may not be selling paint anymore but we still use and love all these paints. Find a retailer near you to assist you in your choice of product or find all of them here online.

Looking for a little more information and comparisons? These two posts are very well done.

Miss Mustard Seed has a post comparing a chalk style paint vs milk paint. You can read about that HERE

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint vs Chalk Paint - what's the difference?

My friend Sharon from I Restore Stuff has also done a comparison, that post can be found HERE



What's the difference? Milk Paint? Acrylic Paint? Chalk Style Paint? What IS the difference?

Thanks for reading through, I love to talk paint, so I know it’s long (I think I could have written about this for 20 more pages ha ha).

Have a lovely creative day friend!







Wendy, John + Front Porch Lifestyle

Wendy, John + Front Porch Lifestyle



  1. Marian@CMShaw Studios

    Loved the post. Now I am all itching to try Fusion paint. I bet it works super well with mid century mod stuff. Nice clean finish. Bright colors. Sigh. I do so love me some paint. Thanks for the primer.
    The Other Marian
    PS. So cool they are all made in Canada. :)

  2. Mary Watson

    Thank you for the wonderful information! I am a novice and just love painted furniture. Although I’ve never painted any myself this gives me the guidelines that make me more confident in choosing the correct paint when that special piece comes along that i want to transform with paint.

  3. Paula

    Thanks for this informative blog.
    Paula (from Wolfville, NS)

    • The Front Porch Mercantile

      Thanks Paula, I hope you were able to get to Lunenburg for some paint :)

  4. Teresa

    Feeling a little overwhelmed and excited at the same time! I haven’t used any of the three paints you speak of so would love your feedback on which you would recommend? I’m working on a “Beach Theme” in my daughters room and my first project is a wood plank headboard for her bed. I was thinking to use grey and white and distress it (almost like a weathered boardwalk?) What are your thoughts?

  5. Caren

    What is the color of that beautiful sideboard!

    • The Front Porch Mercantile

      It’s pretty isn’t it? It’s Homestead House blue.