Paint Restoration (or rather revitalization)

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Written by danielb

No I don’t mean paint on your figures, we here at Joe customs already know how to handle that. I mean revitalizing all those dried out jars of three and a half dollar paint. How many have you tossed because they lost their flow, or became completely solid? Well thankfully with a little bit of work you can save your self some cash.


Now first and foremost you need to do some research on what type of paint you are working with. Since I only use acrylics this demo will be based on restoring them. I use three different brands predominantly. Tamiya color, Citadel, and Model Masters, but I also have some old reaper paints that this works for as well.


Now you can use water, but that’s only really effective for the citadel paints, and you loose some of the richness of your color. What I have found works best is an acrylic flow improver. The type I use is by Galeria acrylic mediums, for ten dollars you get 250 Milliliters. It can be purchased at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and on line at sites like Dick Blick. If for what ever reason you use oil based paints I highly recommend getting linsead oil. It’s much more expensive but it’s really the only way to go with oil based stuff.


The flow improver increases the flow and work ability of acrylic paints. Unlike water it does not decrease color strength. You are supposed to delude it with water, but I never do. Always wash any tools that have touched the flow improver with clean cold water.


Alright so now you know what you’ll be working with you’ll need some tools something to mix with and possibly something to break up solidified paint with. I use a pallet knife and a long screw driver.


Alright so prep work isn’t that difficult, open your bottle take a look in. What is the paints consistency? It might not be dry but is it separating? Or maybe its thick and becoming a gloppy semi hard ball of muck? Either way this is fairly easy to remedy. It only takes a couple of drops and some serious stirring. Go ahead and scrape the dry stuff off the sides. Make certain that you break up and solid chunks that might be in there, nothing worse then getting a glob or a color pebble on a nice smooth painted figure. After some vigorous stirring you should have some smooth like new paint. In many instances it has been better and smoother for me then it was when I first bought it. This treatment is very handy for naturally thick paints like Tamiya.


Now then earlier I mentioned solidified paint. This is not impassible but it is a bit more difficult. First off paint has always been the combination of a pigment and a binder. When your paint is dried up it’s just the binder your pigment is usually a solidified chunk in the bottom of your bottle. Now there are plenty of binders out there that work, but since you already went and bought flow improver, why not just roll with that? Alright first add a couple of drops of flow improver to let your chunk soften, let this sit over night. Then you can smash that chunk into dust with your screw driver, or into a mushy goop, then your ready to go just like you did with the previous semi dried bottles.


It’s not a difficult process, pretty much the same thing painters have done for years. It’s just a matter of finding a new binding material, that suits you, and your paints, and putting in some time mixing. I hope this tutorial helps. I know I’ve saved a lot of cash by freshening up my paints. Of course the more cash in your pocket the more joes on your shelf.

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