08 March 2011

PIY Pointers: How to mix your own custom paint colours

I've been wanting to mix paint colours forever...but I've been a little intimidated. Now that I've tried it, I feel a little like an idiot because it's soooo simple. Isn't it always like that when you finally do something you were unsure about? It's such an amazing way to get miles and miles of different paint colours out of only a few cans. Brilliant! 

Remember the Faded Chevron Blue Chair I recently completed? I mixed the lighter colour out of the base colour to get a tone-on-tone effect. Here's how I did it:

You'll need:
-1 coloured paint
-1 white paint (white is a basic way to start but if you know colour, you can apply this principle with lots of other colours)
-paint tray
-stir stick

Here's a few basics to keep in mind to help you get the best results:

1. Only mix the same base of paint. Because I use latex or water-based paint, latex + latex = OK. Never mix oil-based paint with water-based paint.

2.  Stick to the same finish. So mix matte with matte, satin with satin, semi-gloss with semi-gloss.

3. Make sure you mix enough in your batch to complete your piece. If you run out and try to remix it - you may not get the shade exactly the same. If you have to leave it overnight for coats, simply wrap your tray in a plastic bag and continue on the next day!

Start by pouring a generous amount of your coloured paint into a paint tray. Then slowly add your white paint.

Using a stir stick, gently blend the two paint colours together until it's smooth and even. At this point, if you want to test your colour you can by painting a small swatch then waiting for it to dry. If you're happy with your colour - go forth and paint!

Do you mix colours? Any fun combos you've discovered?

Have a great night friends and have fun playing with paint colours!


  1. I love to mix colors! Maybe it brings me back to my elementary days...
    I use it a lot for my etsy store because I don't like buying new paint for every new little project. I find my favorite colors to mix are the grays, blues, and whites!

  2. I recently did that and got the most beautiful soft turquoise! It's a great way to stretch your paint too!

  3. man I could learn a lot from you- too bad I'm such a lazy shmuck- I will save you from the pain of me telling you how I mix my paints. Oy Vey.


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore