Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reading the paint cans

I had read on the internet and seen on some DIY shows that some home improvement stores would mix paint for you. Armed with this tip, I went to my local store to see if this was something they would be able to do. (As an aside, I really enjoy visiting my local home improvement store, the people are so friendly and helpful and you get to know them by name.) I figured I had nothing to lose and worst case scenario, I would buy a quart of the paint I wanted. Carting an existing can of white paint from my stash and a swatch I had picked up from their store a week earlier, I spoke with one of the associates behind the register. He said they could try, but since the can I brought in wasn’t completely full, he was unsure that the color would be identical to the swatch. He indicated that it may be much darker.

Lo and behold, both of us were surprised, when the color was much lighter than anticipated. I think he started to get worried, so he called for backup. Immediately the paint expert recognized what I and the associate both missed. And it was a lesson I learned, so I thought I’d share. When I brought the paint swatch to the home improvement store, I selected a deep navy called Arctic Night. I brought with me an ultra white base interior satin wall and trim paint. On the back of the swatch, lists the name of the paint and the base color required  to reach the paint color. I learned that I had brought in the wrong base color and no matter how many additions of coloring were added to the mix, it would not achieve the same color as the swatch. It has something to do with the pigment that is in the base color.
The color Arctic Night is the bottom swatch. 1. Is the color after the first mix which is really close to Cerulion on the swatch. 2. Is the color after some addition of blue and red. 3. Is the final color after another addition of blue.
(Note: After this lesson’s learned incident, I noticed that not all paint swatches have the base color listed on the back of the swatch. We did run into this situation again. The swatch we had did not indicate a base color so we pulled one off the shelf. When the paint pro looked up the formula in the computer, he had to go back to the shelves to retrieve a different base in order to match the color we had selected.)
If you want an exact color, it pays to read the paint swatches. Under each color is the correct type of base paint. 
The paint expert mixed and added what he could fit into the paint can, I was left with a custom color – not nearly as dark as the original swatch. The best news is that this project was free and I really like the color. *rubs hands together and commences with evil laugh* I have plans to use it on multiple projects.
So, the next time you are selecting paint, be sure to check the swatch or any available information to see if a different base is needed (assuming you are seeking an exact match). So, have you come across any happy paint accidents?

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