How to Make White in Acrylic Paint

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There are many varieties of white.
There are many varieties of white. (Image: Old shrivelled paint on a wooden fence image by Supertrooper from Fotolia.com)

Acrylic paint is made by combining a pigment (finely ground powders derived from minerals), a binder (a latex-based liquid) and water. There are many varieties of white that are derived from different minerals, such as titanium, zinc and lead. It is not possible to create white using other colors of acrylic paint, but it is possible to create varying tints of white by mixing existing white paint. Experiment with different varieties to create a white paint that suits your needs.

Things You'll Need

  • White acrylic paint in a variety of tints
  • paint brushes

Paint with the most popular white by using titanium white, made from titanium dioxide. This mineral in its natural form reflects 97.2 percent of incident light, making this variety the most opaque variety of white.

Use zinc white, made from zinc oxide, for a more translucent tint. It is slightly blue in cast and is slower drying than other whites.

Be aware that lead white, also called flake white, does contain lead and is considered toxic. Some acrylic paint manufacturers have developed a substitute that has the same properties as lead white (high opacity and buttery consistency) without the health risks.

Experiment with whites by mixing two or more together until you have a paint that suits your aesthetic. Make notes about the proportions that you use so that you can replicate the results.

Tips & Warnings

  • The word "shade" is used to describe a paint color that has been darkened with black. The word "tint" refers to a paint color that has been lightened with white.

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