Mixing your own paint colors

kashka_katNovember 27, 2006

Decided I want to do this bc I can't find exactly what I want. Where do you find the colors or tints? Supposedly you can get the tints for mixing but I have been unable to find ANYWHERE!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello Kashka,
I'm not sure if this answers your question correctly, but here goes...

Colorants for paint tinters (the machines) are only available to paint stores for use in computerized and manual-tinting machines. Their only use is for addition into actual paint...NOT to be used independently.
** Colorants are NOT paint.
** Colorants also have to be metered PRECISELY to re-create "color x" repetitively.
** You can blend paint colors together of course, but repeating a color is next to impossible, because your ratios will be different.
** Some colorants are kinda $pendy! I can't tell you what C2's Magenta colorant costs per quart, but it would raise your eyebrows!
Have a good one,

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 12:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't need quarts of colorants--just tubes or smaller amts., wondering if anyone out there knows of source? Have seen them in the past at the paint store but now that I want, I seem unable to locate.

Lots of books and such on decorative painting make reference to universal colorants so you'd think they'd be available SOMEWHERE.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You used to be able to buy tubes of Universal Colorants at Sherwin Williams stores. These are, obviously, not the same thing as the pigment used by the store to mix up their shades.

I have fiddled around with them and my impression is that the Universal Colorants are not very high quality pigments. You might have better luck going to a very high quality art store (not a Michael's craft store sort of place) and seeing what kind of pigments can be had there. Also if I was on a hunt for these I would do a deep net search for pigments.

What I have had better luck with in making up my own colors by using several premixed or cutom tinted colors from the paint store. I study the colorants used in them (most good paint stores will help you understand the formulas) and then using medical syringes make very precise admixtures until I zero in on the color my eye is seeking. If the color continues to please after I've painted a large enough sample, then using very my very careful measurements, I can spec a new, custom-designed color. I have done this, perhaps 6 or 7 times, and been very happy with the results but not recently.

What kind of colors are you seeking? Recently I have found that I have had great luck with the wider number of colors now available. Have you thoroughly researched the market, including ones like C2, Citron, FPE, Donald Kaufman, F&B etc.? Nowadays there seems to be so much more choice!



    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 6:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Molly, I was thinking if I ever needed to match the color I came up with, I could have them do it at the paint store by computer... or is that not very reliable?

Well I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for... some greens, oranges, red-oranges, and golds which go together well... I'll know it when I see it! I'm doing a sort of 1920s kitchen w/ white cabinets and rest of the house--bath, living room, & bedrooms should go along with that... Im thinking of colors that are more clear and bright than the usual musty Victorian shades... but not the real loud obnoxious modern colors either. Your'e right maybe I just need to find a better selection than what we have at Menards.

I have a "Butternut" color (Martha Stewart) which is kind of nice for the kitchen but Im not sure what kind of greens would work for living room/bedroom or reddish/orange for study. All the rooms kind of open to each other so the colors should work well together....

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just saw color tint tubes at my Home Depot right at their paint counter for sale.
Also, my family room is a rust/orange color and I think a dark sage would complement the look you want.

I buy Benjamin Moore paint and if you go on the BM web site, it has a personal color viewer where you can experiment with paint combos.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I get the little tubes of universal tints at Home Depot. The display is small and easy to miss so ask if you can't find it.

You do have to be really careful to mix them well. They're thicker than the paint and you have to start by mixing a very small amount of paint into the colorant, then add small amounts and stir well after each addition. Then you should also strain it before adding it to the can.

What happens is that very small blops of the tint don't mix in but get coated by the paint so you can't see them as you stir. You WILL see them as you roll the paint onto the wall, though! A tiny bit rolls out to a very noticeable splotch!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 2:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


From the descriptions of the colors you're seeking, I recommend you try to locate a nearby C2 vendor and, also perhaps send for a Citron paint set. Both of these (especially C2) have good clear colors. C2 is particularly strong on greens and Citron is good for golds and oranges. Neither of these will translate totally reliably with a computer match as they have fairly sophisticated, and complicated, color mixes. But at least once you find the right colors, you'll have a baseline to search from in other lines available to you.

Although this paint line may be too expensive (though very high quality), you might find colors you like in the Fine Paints of Europe Susan Sargeant collection. (She also has done a beautiful book, "The Gift of Color", which shows her paints in rooms.) Looking at her paint line and book may give you a direction to take.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, will check them out...

I think what I have in mind is colors like vintage Fiesta ware. Not necessarily those exact same colors but reminiscent of, or harmonious with those colors--the sunny golden yellow, the "radium red" and then theres that ubiquitious old fashioned green.

These colors do not look quite accurate on my monitor but it gives you some idea: http://www.pcis.net/geocat/colors.htm

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 1:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bringing this thread back up because I want to tweak some paint that's not quite right. I was thinking of using Golden (a high quality artist's brand) liquid acrylic to add some warmth to a beige paint. I can get it down the street and I think the liquid might be easier to mix. Am I crazy?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2007 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First of all golden is not the best brand of artist's colors. Liquitex is better if you are going that route. Golden is more for art students - more fillers in the paint - and Liquitex is for the painting you are going to keep or sell.

I have read a lot of decorative painting books too. The best ones come from the UK, IMO. They all talk about mixing your own colors and universal tints and pigments.

Universal tints are available at hardware store where I buy Benjamin Moore paints. I've tried raw umber, because it has so many uses in glazes and antiquing. I found it to be a cheap form of the color.

I found powdered pigments at a faux painting speciality store. They are the best colors. They are earth tones - greens and reds and browns. The challenge is blending them completely into the paint. Faux painting guru told me to mix them completely in denatured alcohal, then add them to paint. That does really help. You still have to keep stirring the paints as you use them to ensure good blending. It might be worth buying the paint mixer that goes on a drill.

You can get powdered pigments from any wood finishing place. They are all on-line. Also an artists' supply source like Dick Blick should have them.

I am now fully exploring almost the entire range of Ellen Kennon's colors, which are lovely. It's been a challenge, however, getting a consistently good match from my local ICI dealer. (Ellen uses ICI Dulux paint base; you order from her and pick up the paints at a local ICI store.)

So, now I am considering going back to the faux painting speciality store ... where I always spend too much money! ... to try Fine Paints of Europe.

Or, ordering Donald Kaufman samples from cox paint.

I am searching for a creme/yellow/tan that has color, but is not too gold or green or beige ... if such a color exists! For my sunny great room, hallway and entrance.

Good luck! And have fun!!!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 5:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kasha - I love mixing my own colors, and do it in an "abbreviated" way often, which I'll explain in a minute. But it true that if you want a large quantity of your own mixed color, after experimenting to find the color inputs you'll need to be brave and mix all of what you need at once because truly it is virtually impossible to match your own color exactly later on.
I learned about color theory and paint color mixing from a couple of classes that I took at UCLA extension design program, one in color theory and another in faux painting. The faux painting class was taught by an excellent professional who mixed virtually all his own color from scratch and taught us how he did it. He *weighed* the color pigments in order to match his creations later, and even this, with a special and expensive scale, was imperfect (although very good). I've never gotten the scale myself as I'm only a DYI faux painter. However I've been doing a lot of faux over the last year as we've been remodeling an adobe house in Santa Fe that has all hand troweled plaster walls inside, which we've commissioned as part of the remodel. Some are peach colored plaster (the "old" structolite) and some are off white (the "natural" structolite, that's all that is available now). The plaster walls have lots of natural varigations in color in them. But even so, the plasterers leave faults that show up as, for example, a whole "picture" in white of their trowel on a peach wall, or rust spots that seep thru the plaster from the netting underneath. And, we've had some changes made in the plaster, such as replacint a window with a french door, which leaves a line in the surrounding area. In Santa Fe, faux painters are routinely used to fix these faults in the plaster, by making them invisible via spot faux painting that imitates the varigated look of the unpainted walls. This is what I've learned to do, and thank heavens for the classes I took. We've saved lots of $$, and it's fun to boot!

Here's what I do, and you might be able to do something similar. I take a piece of the plaster I want to match to my favorite local paint store, in my case Benjamin Moore paints. They match it, and I specify the gloss level to match the clear sealer gloss I've already put on the wall. I use this paint as the base for my faux work. I am able to do this because each time I make sure that I get the formula for the paint that they create, so that I understand the color components and their relative amounts. For example, the peach paint they made for me is made with a pastel base (white, I know now from Faron), and to this is added red oxide, yellow oxide and a tiny bit of black. I put some of this paint in my pallette tray along with separate amounts of the component colorants. I then mix on the spot various "versions" of the original paint to get the varigations in color that I'm looking for on a particular spot of wall. So if you have a color that is close to what you are looking for and can find out the color components, you can experiment with adding more of any of them to see if you can get closer to what you want. It's trial and error but in my experience after a while you come to know what, say in my case, more red oxide will do to the base color, or what effect a little more black will have. If you can focus on a particular color as a base, you can really come to understand how to create variations in it.

As to obtaining the colorants themselves, I have a set of 14, 16 oz containers of universal colorant that I put together during the class several years ago. 16 oz containers are, I have come to realize, *huge* for this type of work and I will never use all of it in 5 lifetimes. The brand is Proline, and I bought it at a local paint store in L.A.. But you can probably order it or something similar online. Our instructor emphasized that it's important to have a pretty good variety of color to start, if you want to blend your own color from scratch, as what do you do when you don't have something that you need right then. (I did do some of this before I started working from a base of pre-made paint.) Anyway, here are the colors I have, that he said were the basics. The numbers are the Proline color numbers:
PL33A: LF Yellow Med.
PL-36: Permanent Violet
PL-3: Raw Umber
PL-4: Burnt Umber
PL-15: Chrome Oxide (a green)
PL-11: Thalo Blue
PL--9: Permanent Green Med.
PL-18: Raw Sienna
PL-14: Bulletin Red
PL-12: Thalo Green
PL-50: White
PL-6: Red Oxide
PL-16: Lampblack
PL-2: Yellow Oxide.

I also got a tube of oil paint in Burnt Sienna.

Good luck! Using colorants is really fun!


    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 12:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mixol. Good stuff. Small bottles. You can get singles or sets. You can also use powdered pigments from the art supply but it's more expensive.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, agree Mixols are the best. They never dry out. I order bigger bottles online, but if you have a woodcraft store nearby, they sell the small bottles.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lotsa great nfo- thnx all.

Was about to buy a Mixol set - could you tell me 1st just how concentrated is concentrated? Will I be able to mix up small batches of experimental colors 1/2 pint or less. For lighter off-whites maybe youd have to dilute first and then use few drops?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 7:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thought Ive had is to simply use these to do minor tweaks of premixed colors from paint store - ie adding teeny tiny teench of red or red-purple into a yellow to correct a slight greenish cast. .... or something into a gray to get rid of blue or purple tones. Is that a correct assumption, that to neutralize one color youd add its opposite on the color wheel?

Of course there's the risk of pushing it too far in the other direction!

My other use will be just to HAVE FUN with old furniture.

    Bookmark   last Sunday at 6:50AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What do you think of Coronado vs. Ben Moore Classic
I had discussed using Ben Moore paints with the painter...
Thought I was spending good money...NOT!
When remodeling one section of our house, I re painted...
Help me find this wall paper please
Hi all. I'm new to the forum and excited to be here....
First Time Homeowner - Interior Paint Decision ProMar/SuperPaint/Aura?
Here we go... I just purchased a 1950s midcentury modern...
Can regular paint go over Cabinet Coat?
I have an orange oak vanity cabinet I just pulled out...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™