After reading that last post about the spray dial cans, it got me thinking of how we used to do it “back in the day”.

When I started writing 15 years ago, there weren’t any spray paint lines specifically created for aerosol artists like Montana, Ironlak or Molotow. We had to work mainly with whatever colors the big brands like Krylon or Rustoleum had to offer. The problem was that the colors were limited, or would sometimes be discontinued. This would generally mean long trips out to random mom & pop paint shops to get those hard-to-find colors.

My boy Klas showed me a trick though on how to mix spray paint colors that definitely helped get that perfect color a few times. I thought I’d share it here, but please be advised it could be messy or dangerous, so try this at your own risk.

STEP 1. You’ll need to know something about color theory before you start mixing paint of any kind, so start with some light education. You’ll never get the exact color you are looking for without understanding how colors mix.

STEP 2. Let’s use a light yellow-green as our desired color. You start by getting two cans that can mix to make that color, so I’d probably start with a light or bright yellow, and a fairly standard green (not too dark and not too dull). For our color, we’d want to mix a little bit of the green into the yellow can. The yellow can should be ALMOST completely full. If you have a full can, spray some out, so you have room for the green paint in there. Don’t go overboard though, because you’ll want a full can of your new color.

STEP 3. Take the green can and immerse it in hot water for about 15 minutes. This will bring the pressure inside of the can up. Please do not BOIL your can! Then take your yellow can and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will bring the pressure down.

STEP 4. While the cans are cooling/heating, you’ll need to get a few supplies. You’ll need a small plastic tube that can fit into the spray can nozzle. We used to use the plastic tube from a WD-40 can or the ink tube from a ball point pen. In either case, make sure your tube is clean and hollow.

STEP 5. This next step could get messy, so I would suggest doing it outdoors. Take your cold yellow can and sit it right side up, and stick one end of the plastic tube into the nozzle. Now get your warm can and turn it upside down and place the other end of the plastic tube in its nozzle. Now just carefully and securely press down on the warm can and the green paint should transfer down from the high pressure warm can into the low pressure cold can.

STEP 6. Mix in small portions. Put in a little paint. Shake really well for about 5 minutes, then test. If it’s not the color you are looking for, put in more paint from the warm can until you get what you want.

Ok, there it is. Not that I would ever do this today considering how many colors we got to work with. But if you are looking for that perfect color and feeling adventurous, go for it!

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