How to Mix Single-Stage Paint

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Some paint varieties are designed for multistage application. Commonly, multistage paints are used for automobiles, boats and other outdoor vehicles. The first stage of the application includes color pigment, while the final stage is a coat of clear gloss sealant. If you don't have time to paint in multiple steps, you can mix single-stage paint for easier application. If you know how to properly mix the paint, your final results will be professional-looking and durable.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid measuring cups
  • Bucket
  • Urethane paint
  • Floetrol
  • Clear coat
  • Paint stir stick

Consult your paint container's label for mixing ratios. Many brands require a paint, reducer and clear coat ratio of 4:1:1 or 3:1:1 for good single-stage coverage. A 4:1:1 ratio means you want to use four parts paint for every one part reducer and clear coat, and a 3:1:1 requires three parts paint per one part reducer and clear coat.

Measure your paint using liquid measuring cups and pour it into a bucket. When you're measuring based on your ideal mixing ratio, remember that one gallon of paint is 128 ounces.

Measure your paint thinner using liquid measuring cups. Different types of paint require different reducers. Commonly, the paint used for for a single-stage mixture is urethane. Urethane is reduced with floetrol. Pour the reducer into the bucket. Reducers help thin out the paint for easier misting with a spray gun. If you're using a full gallon of paint at a 4:1:1 ratio, then 32 ounces of reducer is equal to 1/4 of your paint quantity. For one gallon at 3:1:1, you'll need about 42.7 ounces of reducer per gallon.

Measure clear coat and pour it into the bucket. As with the paint and reducer, follow your ratio carefully, keeping in mind that a gallon of paint is 128 ounces.

Stir your mixture with a paint stir stick. Stir for at least 10 minutes to ensure even distribution of the three substances. Once you're done mixing, your paint is ready for convenient single-stage application.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the label doesn't provide a mixing ratio, call the manufacturer for details, as ratios vary from brand to brand. Follow these ratios exactly as you measure out your quantities.

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References

  • “Motorbooks Workshop: How to Paint Your Car”; Dennis W. Parks; 2003
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