…mixing paint

If you are mixing paint for yourself then you have quite a bit of freedom. You can play with color and see what you prefer. It can be really fun and exciting. If you are mixing paint for a client then it can be, well, a bit stressful. You must get it right. I have found that many times colors and color tone can be interpreted differently. In a bright bedroom a neutral can look warm.


A darker color can look earthy.


I may love the contrast and how the light displays the color and you may hate it. It has a lot to do with taste and opinion. Mixing colors also takes quite a bit of time, effort and paint to get it right for you and/or approved by the client. I have gone back and forth about mixing colors for clients. I have said that I don’t offer the service. If I have a client that does want a custom color then I’ve had clients that will mix their own paint and bring it to me. That can work. I have recently decided that I will add it as an extra cost because it takes more time and money. I’ll let you know how this works out.

The exception to my mixing attitude is interior designers. Most designers have a clear vision and want very custom so I typically accommodate if is an on-going relationship.

A designer recently wanted me to mix a few blues to match the wallpaper to go in an older Baker cabinet as well as a dresser. Here is the dresser before.


Here are some of the samples.


I typically start with my base color (in this instance it was Duck Egg) and Old White.


I put the base color in my tupperware in a fairly large quantity. I will slowly add my Old White, about one tablespoon at a time.


Let me warn you here. You want to mix enough of your color with extra so you can cover your piece with 2 coats. If you do not mix enough of the custom color then you will have the very, very difficult job of trying to match your batch that is already on your piece. Make more than enough to avoid this because chances are you will not be able to match exactly and you will end up repainting the whole darn piece. Trust me.

I will then take a plain piece of computer paper and dip my finger in the paint, testing every time I add my Old White.


You will go through a few sheets of paper! It’s okay. Go slowly. The last thing you want to do is add too much Old White and go beyond your base.


It is helpful to have a swatch of the color you are trying to match.


I then needed approval from the client.


She chose her blues and I used some gallon zip baggies to keep everything together. Make sure you know which color you are using! Here is my first coat. It is a bit scary because on a large piece it does not look exactly like your little finger-tip sample. If you’ve done your testing, then be patient. It will.


I painted two coats and then my clear wax. It was a perfect match.








Look familiar?


I love this color so much I am now using it all over my house!


  1. Wonderful advice. I am about to branch out on my own. I appreciate all the advice I can get at this point. The tip on mixing enough paint.; so true! I did that last week. Did a practice run on a hutch of a color I mixed. Turned out beautiful but then I realized oh no I don’t have enough for a 2nd coat..it was so hard trying to mix exact ratio. Live and learn.
    Do you have any advise on pricing when you are painting a piece for a client. That stuff really has me thrown!

  2. its like you were reading my mind! I spent all day sunday trying to mix colors and was getting so frustrated that it wasn’t turning out how I had envisioned in my mind then I read your post…patience 🙂 beautiful color! love it! thank you

  3. very cool! when you create the samples on the paper, do you need to clear wax them to get a good idea of what the final color will look like on the piece?

  4. hi Christen
    I would also wax the sample spots that I show a client, because i find that the wax changes the colour yet again.
    I do love the colour you ended up going with, and the fabric is lovely.
    cheers fiona

  5. TKraft Art & Interiors says:

    STUNNING color and fabrics. I continue to slather too much paint on and each time I see one of your pieces I think I need to restrain and retrain myself – less is more, your hand is beautiful and delicate as well as your actual beautiful hand. I agree with your pumpkin, a big THUMBS UP.

  6. Donna Dell says:

    I love this color! Anything with Duck Egg used is beautiful! Love following your posts.

  7. Love love the color! When my daughter went away to college and moved into an apartment, she took some furniture from my house. I bought a dresser for myself later that is almost identical to the one you did, even down to the color! Found it at an antique store and they had just started painting it when I saw it. They also painted the hardware and it turned out beautiful! You are so talented and it is so fun to read your posts. Makes me smile. 🙂

  8. Gorgeous dresser!! Love this color so much! Thanks for posting these great painting tips. I am a newbie at chalk painting and your tips keep me on track to getting the results I want. Always love reading your posts. You are a great teacher and inspiration to me!

  9. gayle jolluck says:


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