How to Tint Paint at Home?

how to tint paint at home

The amount of tint present in a paint determines its color.

The more colorant you add, the more likely the paint will be of the color that is desired.

Since colorants are paint pigments that are concentrated, you only need a little to create a significant difference in the color or tint of the paint.

The good news is you can now color tint your own paints at home if you want.

All you will need is to start with the existing paint and then adjust its colors by adding new paints until you get what you want.

However, keep in mind that the process will not be as quick or precise as the employee from the store where you received the paint.

How to Tint Your Paint at Home?

Mixing your own custom paint colors at home can be affordable if you know how to do it right.

Not only will it save a good amount of time but also some money while you can concentrate on completing your home painting project.

Step 1 – Collect Materials

To tint or change paint colors you will need to start with collecting the different color swatches (color wheel or a chart).

Once you have the shade chart, choose the closest shade in the form of tint tubes.

The shade you choose should match with your existing painted wall or for preparing fresh paint for new unpainted drywall.

Make sure you get a bit darker shade as it will be much easier to lighten.

Step 2 – Lighten the Color

The best way to lighten the paint is by mixing some white paint into it.

The amount of white paint you want to add will be decided on how dark your original color is.

You should start by adding a small cup of white paint and then slowly add more if required.

Stir both the paints in a container well.

Remember white is the cheapest color. So make sure you get some extra while buying as you can then mix it at later stages when required.

Most likely you will not love to run out of paint in the middle of your project.

Step 3 – Intensify the Paint Color

Many times, you will need to sharpen the paint color you have already tinted.

To make it look more vivid, you can add some base paint color to it.

For example, to make pink look more vibrant add some red. Or for making your yellow paint more impressive you can add a bit of orange.

This will brighten up the color and will make it look intense when applied to walls.

how to tint latex paint at home

Few Additional Tips When Tinting a Paint

Tinting a paint simply means that you are making a few adjustments to make the shade lighter, darker, brighter, or softer. 

However, the process can be tricky. To make it successful without creating any mess follow these tips…

1- Mix smaller amounts

When mixing custom paint colors always mix a very small amount of paint in a tray or bucket.

Check the shade you are trying to achieve.

If it’s what you desire, only then you should add the colorant to your entire paint can.

Also, remember that in most cases the final color will not match exactly with what you see in your shade card.

Based on the colorants and your experience (to tint the paint), you will be getting a shade that will be slightly light or dark.

2- Use black or gray

Just in case you need to tint the color to a darker shade, you should add a bit of black or gray colorant to the base color.

While black can be used to tint deeper colors, gray is best for tinting somewhat lighter shades.  

Keep in mind that you will need to add a very small amount of black or gray colorants compared to the amount of white you will need to add to lighten the paint colors.

3- Use base paint first

Since many paint colors don’t cover well (like if you want to add pastels over darker shades), you can simply use a base without any tint.

Applying a layer of paint base like ultra-white can help you save a lot of time and hassle especially if you are planning to put over a different color.

Can you tint paint with food coloring?
Although it seems to be convenient, if you already have a food coloring in your kitchen, adding it to the paint for tinting is not recommended.

With the natural ingredients that make the food colorants, it’s difficult to achieve the desired color. Plus, they can break down and change the color over time which can then affect the longevity and finish of your painted project.

Using food colorants instead of paint tint is also an expensive option and is therefore not a viable solution.

When Can a Paint Without the Tint Be Used?

There are times in which paint without tint can be used.

For example, if you have white paint on a wall, you can cover it with a white base or base 1 paint without tint to freshen it up.

If you are not trying to change the color, then painting without a tint may work well.

However, the lack of tint means that some of the bases will be clear while other areas will not.

The result may be a patchy appearance even if you use the same white pigment.

That’s because not all white pigment is the same, so you may get a splotchy or spotted result that looks unappealing.

If you are trying to cover the old paint, then you will need paint with tint.

Otherwise, the old paint will show through.

If you happen to use base paint without tint by accident, it’s no big deal.

That’s because you can simply let the old paint dry and paint over it with a new coat that contains tint. This will cover it up nicely.

You could try to add tint to the base paint, but the amount of colorant you need will probably not work since you used some of the paint already.

Your best bet is to buy new paint, so you get the look that you want.  

Color Tint Your Own Paints Vs. Buying from Local Paint Store?

Tinting paint primers like Kilz is a relatively simple process, it is getting the desired results that are more time-consuming.

For example, if the paint that you currently have is deep blue latex and you were wanting a lighter or sky blue, then you could add white paint to the blue which would make it lighter and brighter compared to the original.

But it is one thing to make a color lighter, it is another to match a specific color that may be difficult to achieve at home.

For example, if you have a paint that is forest green and you want to change it to a teal, then you will need to experiment first to find the right color which may take a considerable amount of time and effort.

The process of tinting paint is now easier than ever, especially if you have this service carried out at a typical paint store.

The paint is poured into a machine that adds colorants in the desired amount.

The paint tinting process at stores is so simple that all the operator must do is press the right button and the proper colorants are released into the paint to achieve the desired goal.

But keep in mind – because the process of tinting paint is automatic at the store, knowing the exact combination and amount can be difficult.

In other words, watching someone at a machine creating a specific color of paint will inform you of the colorants used, but not the amount.

Plus, you may not know enough about the original paint used to make a proper calculation.

Most people will be better off paying for the tint they want at the store.

However, if you have something specific in mind and are willing to pay for extra paint to experiment with to achieve the desired effect, then it may be worth tinting the paint yourself.

The Bottom Line

Custom paint colors are tough to create.

Especially if you want to tint complex paint colors like violet, browns, and beiges for your home painting project.

Since darker shades like these already contain a lot of hues, it’s best to tint simpler colors (like yellow, greens, light blue, etc) at home.

Modifying the color temperatures and undertones for these will be a lot easier.

With that said keep in mind that once you have tinted, it’s challenging to create a fresh batch of the same shade again, especially when you are DIY tinting the paints.

So, before you tint the paint it’s good to calculate the area and prepare a bit of extra paint.

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