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Mixing Paints to Get the Perfect Color

Sometimes you can't find just the right color, or you only need a tiny bit for one or two figures. In this case, it makes sense to mix your own color.

Mixing Containers

You don't need a special container to mix paints. Some possibilities:

  • An artists palette.
  • The lid from a 2 liter soft-drink bottle.
  • The plastic blister from a blister pack.
  • A clear 35mm film canister.

Whatever you use, make sure it is clean. A bit of liquid dish soap and water will do the trick nicely. If you need fairly large quantities, I recommend a thorough search at your local shops for the right color. If that fails, the film canister works well, as it can be sealed.

Mixing Proportions

It always takes more paint to lighten a color than to darken it. So start with a color that's similar to what you want, but lighter, if possible.

For example, to achieve a yellow-white, use as much white as you think you will need total, or at least 5 drops. Then add and mix in yellow one drop at a time.

If you're mixing colors for airbrushing, it's best to use an eyedropper to measure out drops of the various colors (usually two colors) that go into your mixture. Mix the color first before you thin it for the airbrush (unless, of course, you are using pre-thinnned paints). Many hobby acrylics (though not those intended for miniatures modelling--go figure!) have an eyedropper built into the jar lid.

Always-always-ALWAYS! make a note of the paint ratios when you mix paints. You may not think you'll ever need to match the color, but--trust me--you will need to do some touch-up after you wash or drybrush the figure! I painted a bunch of GW orcs with a sort of washed-out moss green skin. After I drybrushed their cloaks, I had to mix up another batch of the paint to touch up their skin. Since I didn't record the proportions the first time, it took me over a half hour of trial and error to duplicate it (at least to get sufficiently close).

Stirring the Mix

I've tried swizzle sticks, hobby sticks of various sizes, and various other utensils for stirring paint. The only thing that gives me acceptable results is a brush. I think it's because the bristles break up globs and swirls of the different colors. So use an old brush to blend your paint. Don't worry about getting paint on the ferrule (the metal sleeve that holds the bristles in place). It will wash.

If you're mixing only a small amount, a #0 to #3 brush should work. For larger quantities, use a larger brush.

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Decorating Figure Bases
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