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Paint mixing

6 posts in this topic

This is about mixing paint in spray cans. No, not spraying into a cup

and mixing, but getting the contents of one can into the other.

I really found this interesting.

Below are some techniques on mixing your own spray paint colors. Follow the steps to experiment with recipes to making your own dope shades.

Technique number 1:

Obtain an ordinary Bic ball point pen, preferably empty. Tear it open, take out the inkwell (again, it needs emptying). Cut a 1 and 1/2 inch to 2 inch length of dry inkwell. This is your mixing tube.

Cut 2 notches in each end with an exacto knife or razor blade. The notches should closely resemble those found on the bottom of the stem of any fat cap. Next, with the razor, lightly whittle the ends down until they fit the valve of the cans you want to mix.

Now pick a spot to mix: one where a long-range paint splash will not be a serious problem. This is very rare but can happen, especially with very old cans bought from discount stores. Get 2 buckets, one for icewater and the other for hot/boiling water, and fill em. (Don't fill the hot one until you're ready to mix.)

Cans: the can you want to RECEIVE paint goes in the freezer. Metal and paint solvents conduct heat very well, which means you only need 20 or 30 minutes chilling time for a can. Once that can is cold, fill your hot water bucket. Gently connect the receiving can to the donor can with the mixing tube, with the cold can upside down and on top, then lower the pair so the donor can goes in the hot water bucket. Now push the cans together, which opens both valves. Paint will flush from the hot (donor) can to the cold (receiver) can. If you made your mixing tube too long it will likely fold or pop out when you push the cans together.

When the hissing stops, pull the cans apart. You're all mixed up.

A few odd pointers:

You can combine dreg cans into one full can with this technique. However, after each dreg is added, immerse the receiver can in the icewater to cool the hot paint just added, then heat the next can.

The hot water doesn't need to be boiling, go easy on that or you might get more pressure up than you want (bursting). During a long mixing session I'll freshen it up with more boiling water when it gets too lukewarm to work right.

If cross-mixing brands or metallics (metallics don't mix well), first test compatibility by spraying a little of each inside a can cover or something, if they separate there then they won't mix in the can either.

Technique number 2:

Empty out a can of paint with the biggest cap you can find. I'm talking empty. No aerosol in it at all. (The best kind of cap to use is called a marking tip. They come on some auto sprays. It's a cap with no insert, just an large hole.) After that can is completely empty and ready to break open, punch a hole in it with some sharp object. Make sure there isn't any propellant left in the can. You should be able to crush the can in with your hands. Basically, what we're trying to do is get that straw from inside the can. Pull that thing out, and save the marble, because it's a cool little souvenir.

Get two stocks with the thick stems, so when you mix rusto, it doesn't shoot out the sides. Pop the inserts out with a knife. Remember, kiddies, always cut away from the body.

This is the tricky part. Now you have to drill out the holes in the caps so it can accommodate that big ass straw. If you're lucky, you'll have a vice or something to hold the cap while you drill. Make sure you use a bit that's the same size or just a tiny bit bigger, because too small won't do you any good.

After the holes are drilled, put the straw in the cap. Make sure it fits! If it's a little too big, you can nip that in the bud with some glue. Try to use a glue that bonds by melting the plastic, like super glue. That way, it won't come apart on you while mixing. Don't be stingy, but try not to glue yourself to the mix tube.

Now that you have the tubing assembled, widen the notch in the stem of the caps with an exacto knife, so the paint flows faster though the tube. I like to make one of the notches wider than the other so there's more pressure differential.

Remember, cold can is the receiver. Push both valves and get to mixing.

A few pointers:

If your pressure is too low after mixing paint, find a can that's nearly empty and cool down the receiver. Keep the donor can upside down, so you don't get any extra color into your mix (also assures that you're getting just propellant). Dump propellant into the mix until no more will go in. Empties of flat finish Krylon work best, because they tend to have the highest pressure.

Another tip is that the seals tend to get worked with all the pressing down and removing the caps. Once you get the mix ready to go, just stick a cap on and keep it on. The seals won't blow out on you.


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Pretty neat trick Coley. Thanks for sharing it. I wonder if u ever had one heated can going KABOOOM on ya while heating :D

Seriously, one question, How do u get repeatable results from this mixing?

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