Tips&tricks: Mixing paints

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The problem

One of the most irritating and ever-lasting problem of any painter in the world are the paints that are getting thick. That`s a natural process as all kind of jars for paints aren`t hermetical and acrylic paint that isn`t constantly mixed is slowly getting bind up when it once “takes air”.

Different kinds of paint jars that I use


You probably aren`t an owner of laboratory equipment for mechanical mixing liquids in probes, but don`t worry. There are a few popular ways to mix easily paints during painting.

Ex. #1 – Mixing with a toothstick (wire, rod or similar long item)
Mixing paint with a toothpick

Mixing paint with a toothpick

Effective, but time consuming, you have to clean the rod each time and you lose a bit of paint each time. For hard users only.

Ex. #2 – Mixing by adding some metal tags (left from miniatures)
Adding metal tags to the pots

Quite smart solution at first glance. The problem goes with amount of tags – how much do you have paints and how much you will have tags with enough weight? Unless you melt a mini or two and cast some bits on your own;)

Ex. #3 – Mixing paints with balls!

The shape of the ball is ideal for this task. Then we have to choose what kind of ball it will be. It apperas that beads used for jewellery are either too light or too expensive. Then are metal balls used in bearings, but they usually are made from corosive metal – after a week they turn into the rusty color and that changes your white paint into the bone color (trust me, I have one!). You wil find balls from ceramic and they will be fine also if the prize won`t discourage you. For my needs – and I had more than 100 paints to equip – I found the cheapest and effective type of balls: glass balls for shooting with slings!

Glass balls for shooting with sling

Glass balls for shooting with sling

Thats how it works:

We put a ball into a jar with thick paint

We put a ball into a jar with thick paint

We add a few drops of water with syringe if necessary and shake it well for a minute or two. After this the results will be like this:

Liquid paint with a non-toxic ball

Liquid paint with a non-toxic ball

The glass ball will not interfere with the paint at any conditions so it`s 100% non-toxic. Glass is quite cheap material either, so the box of about 100 balls cost me approx. 10 PLN ($3-3,5). The only problem is the size of the ball, as I found only sizes from 11-16mm of diameter, which are too big to put them into Vallejo/Reaper pots. Fortunetely Reaper as the only manufacture which put tiny skulls inside it`s pots, so the problem is with Vallejo paints only, unless I will find smaller balls or use one othe method described earlier.


Never ever use the fishermans lead weights! Remember that lead is a highly toxic metal and it will contaminate your paints. And as you probably a highly addicted brush licker it will soon get into your organism easily.

Never use fisherman lead weights!

Never use fisherman lead weights!

I hope some of you find it useful. Have fun with your mini-painting!

Date: November 18th, 2011
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