How Does Paint Color Change When Dry?

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Rely on paint palettes to gauge the final color.

Many amateur painters are surprised when wet paint appears to change to a slightly different shade once it dries. Understand the reasons for this occurrence so you can better predict the final outcome.



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Although wet paint appears to change color once it dries, in actuality, it does not. Wet paint possesses a sheen that reflects light differently than dry paint. This causes the illusion of color change.

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What To Expect

Paint tends to look darker when it dries. Don't judge the color of paint by the way it looks when it is wet in the can. Rely on paint palettes to gauge the final color, or you may be disappointed with the your results.



Sometimes, paint color can appear to change when it is applied directly over light or dark surfaces. The underlying surface may make the paint look darker or lighter, depending on the level of bleed-through. Combat this occurrence by applying a base coat of primer before you paint.


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