How to Flatten High Gloss Enamel


If you like the color of the paint you've chosen for a decorating project, but discover it's too glossy when it dries, don't despair. As long as the paint you just bought isn't a custom color and you used only a tiny bit, most paint and home stores will be glad to swap it for another level of sheen. Custom colors and paint you've used or had awhile will have to be altered. You can change the sheen of high gloss enamel yourself the way the paint manufacturer recommends, with a flattening agent.

Things You'll Need

  • Flattening agent
  • Measuring cup
  • Clean, resealable paint container
  • Paint stirrer
  • Paint brush
  • Scrap wood
  • Hair dryer (optional)
  • Purchase the type of flattening agent recommended by the paint manufacturer. Find this information on the paint label or by calling the company's customer service representative.

  • Consult the manufacturer's instructions to determine how much agent is needed for the desired reduction in sheen. Start at the lowest end of the recommendations. For instance, if three parts of the agent will produce a flat sheen when mixed with one part paint, start with three parts paint to one part flattening agent.

  • Measure the paint into a clean, resealable container. Measure the flattening agent and stir it into the paint. Use a lifting motion as you stir, since flattening agents tend to sink quickly to the bottom. Mix the paint thoroughly to ensure a proper test result.

  • Apply the paint to a piece of scrap wood. Allow the sample to dry. Speed the drying process with a hair dryer if desired.

  • Examine the sheen of the paint sample. Be sure to look at the sample under the lighting conditions that exist where you intend to use the paint. Add more flattening agent if necessary and test again, until you achieve the desired sheen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stir the paint frequently as you use it to ensure the flattening agent remains in suspension.
  • It's best to go slow with paint additives. You can always add more, but if you go too far, you'll be buying more paint. Paint with too much flattening agent can be less durable and prone to marking.
  • Paint sheen can also be reduced by adding the same type paint of a lower sheen, but this method will alter the color.
  • Be wary of universal flattening agents. Read the label to make sure the product is compatible with your paint.

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  • Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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