While mixing standard liquid paint to create a new color is common enough, mixing powder paints seem like a different challenge.
This is because powder paints are in a state of fine particles until they are sprayed.
This means that unlike mixing standard liquid paints, mixing powders results in a blend of individual particles.
For example, if you mix red and yellow liquid paint, you get orange.
But if you mix red and yellow powder paint, you get a speckled finish that contains both red and yellow.
Regardless, you can mix powder paints, but understand that the results you get will be different compared to liquid paints.
What Happens When You Mix Powder Paints?
There are several things that can happen depending on what color and methods you use to mix the powder paints.
What follows is a list of finishes that can be achieved when mixing powder paints and other substances.
Hammertone: When incompatible materials are mixed, the result is what is called hammertone.
For example, a silver or bronze pigment is mixed with an incompatible powder that is a dry blend.
For the most part, such mixtures are best performed by the manufacturer of the powder, but you can experiment to get some interesting effects.
Just keep in mind that what you get may not be even close to what you want.
Holographic: One of the most interesting effects is a holographic appearance when microscopic flakes that have a prismatic quality are mixed with the powders.
When using darker colors, the effect is more pronounced. Such efforts may be expensive, but the result is a multitude of colors that change when the viewing angle is changed.
Metallic: Similar to pearlescent, this is the technique of mixing a pre-made powder coating with a pigment that is metallic in nature.
The metallic pigment can be flakes of aluminum, but they can also be stainless steel or bronze.
The concentration of metallic pigments tends to be small, under 5%. But they can give a metallic appearance to most powder coatings when mixed properly.
Pearlescent uses specialized flakes made of synthetic material that achieves a unique color shift depending on how the finished product is viewed.
In other words, when using specialized flakes, the result may be one color when viewed from one direction and another color when that view is shifted.
Speckled: One of the most common results is a speckled finish. This is understandable since you are mixing powder particles that do not blend smoothly compared to their liquid counterparts.
Instead, if you blend medium brown, dark brown, and orange powder paints together, you get a rust-like patina.
In other words, what you get is a look similar to the particles seen on asphalt shingles.
From a distance, the colors may blend, but up close, you see the individual particles clearly.
A weathered copper appearance can be achieved by mixing black with light teal, for example.
What If You Apply a Dry Powder Coat on a Dry Mixture?
If you apply one dry powder to another, the result is a gradient color effect. This is one color that is seen clearly before the other color comes into view.
The gradient effect is the switch from one color to the next. Depending on the colors used, the intersection effect can be quite pleasing to the eye.
One example is how wood grain can be simulated when you spray alternating light and dark brown powders on a surface.
Once placed, the powders are blended using a comb effect before they are heated in the oven. The result when done properly can be quite beautiful.
However, when you mix dry on dry powders, the result may be a variable finish. You may not be able to achieve the exact finish that you desire.
This is because the mixture, which consists of different sizes and colors of powders, electrostatic variations, and additives, is not always predictable.
This means that even careful mixing may produce a slight difference in the look you desire to achieve.
Plus, a reclaimed powder that has been over-sprayed will look different compared to the original blend of powders.
This is quite noticeable if you are painting an extended surface, such as large or long parts.
Combining both will normally result in a noticeable difference in shade or tone which may not be desirable.
However, you should be open to the possibilities which means being happy with the color created even if it is a little off from what you wanted.
Otherwise, you may find yourself spending a long time mixing powder paints that do not provide what you want.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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