Painting Projects,  Tips & Tricks

Tips for Mixing Your Own Paint Color

Mix Paint 1


We have so many buckets of paint just sitting in our basement waiting to be chosen for the perfect project.  Most of our home is painted  in some form of gray. Although we do have other colors, I think we have about 50 shades of gray in our basement and I am not talking about the book.  The paint I used for our {Half Bathroom Remodel}, I mixed myself. Here are a few Tips for Mixing Your Own Paint Color.

1. Be Prepared
I always lay a drop cloth or newspaper down before I start, to keep my floors paint free.

Keep these items handy:

Leftover paint- of course

Paper towels- for cleaning drips and spills.

Stir Sticks- use a larger stick if you are mixing in 5 gallon bucket

Pen and Index Card- for record keeping.

Paint Brush- to test the color on your wall or project.

Old Measuring Cup- (optional)

2. Stir, Stir, Stir
Before combining colors, thoroughly mix your leftover paints. Some of our paint we have had around for a while and it has separated. I like to get all the pigments fused back together before using.

3. Some Paint Is Unusable
Freezing through several winters can be hard on your leftover paint. After stiring, if it doesn’t seem to mix up well, do not use. If there are any funky smells upon opening your can of paint or you notice mold or mildew  do not use. If your paint was made before 1978 it may contain lead and any paint made before 1991, may contain mercury and you will want to avoid using any these for obvious reasons. Do not use.

4. Mix Same Type of Paint Together
We all know, oil and water do not mix, so don’t try to mix them. Combine only your oil based paint with oil based, and water based paints with water based. If you accidentally mix the two together, you will end up with a clumpy substance that resembles cottage cheese. Do not use.

It also works best if you do not try to associate interior with exterior paint. Do not use.

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5. Blending Different Sheens
Just remember, the more high gloss paint in your concoction the glossier your finish will be and the more flat paint you add, the less glossy it will be. If your heart is set on a certain finish, then fuse only that sheen together.

6. Mixing The Right Amount
Keep in mind the amount of paint you will need for your project. Mix your paint in an empty 5 gallon bucket, for a large room or combine your paint in an old paint can or even a paint tray for smaller projects.

8. Keep Records
Weather I am trying to duplicate the color or achieve the same sheen, I keep a record of how much paint I am adding of each color. I also love going back and seeing what went into each “homemade” color. This step is completely optional but I always find it very helpful.

Mix Paint 6

9. Elementary Art

Remember when you were in school and learned how to mix colors according to the color wheel? Now is a great time to utilize that knowledge. ie: red and blue mixed together is purple.

*Making a color darker is much easier than lighting it.

10. Storing Unused Paint

Between coats, you can cover your brush and tray with plastic wrap, and store in fridge, so it doesn’t dry out. Once you have finished painting, store any extra paint for touch ups, in an old paint can or a plastic container with an airtight lid.

11. Have Fun!

It’s not brain surgery people, you’re just mixing paint. So it’s okay to have a little fun. This is something you can’t really screw up. Or can you? I personally like to name my final color. Meridith Grey, (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?) is the name of a color I mixed and used for my kitchen cabinets.  My loving sister named the paint applied to my bathroom walls, Blayne (Blue, Gray, Green.)

When I feel like changing things up, I mix my nail polish colors together using a lot of these same tips, to create a new one.  Not all of these tips will be needed for nail polish and you will be working on a much small scale. I mix my colors together on a smaller plastic plate and rinse the nail paint brush when I am finished.

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So, just sit back, relax, and mix away.



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