Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lumpy Acrylic Paints - No More!

After switching to acrylic craft paints many years ago from using Polly S and Poly Scale acrylics, one recurring problem is that, over time, the paint tends towards lumpiness.  Even with vigorous shaking, the craft paints I use (Delta Ceramcoat primarily) can still maintain coarse pigment grains and outright lumpiness.  Sometimes, the paint is very gooey and thick straight from the bottle.  The problem could be magnified in old bottles of paint but even a new bottle can contain lumps and grainy pigments.

On a recent browse on Amazon.com, I came across a paint mixer from Badger that looked quite interesting.  At not much more than $10, I figured, why not give it a try?

As in all Amazon.com purchases, I had the little device in my hands in no time at all.
Quick to give it a test, I grabbed a lumpy bottle of white paint and set to work.  From the photo below, I stopped the motor and pulled the rotor out of the bottle.  See all of the gunk that has accumulated on the rotor and stem?  Yuck. 
After cleaning the stem and rotor of the gunk, the mixer was placed back into the bottle for a second round of mixing.  This time, very little residue was left on the mixer and the paint in the bottle looked smooth.

A couple of cautions:  only turn the mixer on after it has been submerged into the paint and always turn it off before pulling it from the paint jar.

Before using this mixer, I thought vigorous bottle shaking was sufficient to break up the lumpy pigments and provide a smooth paint mixture.  After using the Badger mixer, that thinking was wrong.  How did I manage without this device?

30 comments:

  1. Interesting tool, Jonathan. I've tried putting beads in the container, but sometimes the actual paint is just not the right viscosity. I have some Vallejo that is very runny - even when mixed well. I've tried opening the top of the bottle and used a hair dryer to thicken the paint :)!

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    1. Using a hair dryer to thicken paint? Dean that is funny but probably worked!

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  2. Hmmmmmmm BTW way you can make the same tool using a nail and a piece of cork or piece of wood as the handle for practically free!! :-)

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    1. What do you use as the motor to spin the nail?

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I may have to give this one a try. I don't recommend the Robart paint shaker.

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    Replies
    1. If you do give it a try, share your results.

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  4. I should see if Amazon Canada carries this . . . I also use Ceramcoat and other "craft paints" and this could be quite useful.

    Thank you.


    -- Jeff

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    Replies
    1. Being a Ceramcoat user, do you wind up with thick and lumpy paint in bottles too?

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  5. Ouch! Amazon.ca sells it for $21.20 . . . so I think that I will check out a couple of retail outlets in area to see what they charge.


    -- Jeff

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    Replies
    1. Good luck with the search. I wonder is a coffee shop would have a small mixer similar to this?

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  6. Replies
    1. I think it will be! I need to put it to some rigorous workouts first.

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  7. Replies
    1. Lumps eliminated from the cheap craft paints I use. Of course, your mileage may vary.

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  8. I will definitely be purchasing one of these. Thanks for the info.

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    1. You are welcome! I hope it works for you.

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  9. Nice find, Jonathan. Will that fit in a Vallejo acrylic bottle?

    I have only a handful of Americana craft paints and the way they always solidify is one reason I don't use them more often.

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    1. Monty, I don't have any Vallejo bottles to confirm but the rotor head on the mixer is about 11mm. If the mouth of the bottle is bigger than that, the mixer should fit.

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  10. I have dozens of Delta Ceramcoat paints and only rarely is lumpiness an issue for me... I may just have a higher tolerance to it, though! :-)

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    1. Hi Peter!

      Like your experience, not all of the Ceramcoat bottles show lumpiness. When it occurs in a bottle in which I use frequently (like the white above), then the mixer is a good remedy. I could simply pitch the bottle when the pigments are too coarse but you and I know that is difficult, right?

      Sometimes, I wonder if these problems are not due to certain production lots.

      There was a time, years ago, that I picked up several bottles of paint and none of them would cover worth a darn. Same thing with lumpiness. Sometimes a new bottle exhibits this trait but most of the time not.

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  11. Very useful tool, also for larger terrain paints or varnishes - and for 10 dollars, who could say no? Did you experience any difference in the result when applying the paint? To me, it seems some paints have very poor pigment ratio, like yellow for instance. Maybe this could help even out such paints.

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    1. For $10, I could not say no!

      For the white paint that has been properly mixed, I noticed a much smoother delivery from the brush. I have yet to give either red or yellow a whirl with the device but will soon.

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    2. I can imagine - you base coat in black as well, right? I do, and the colors you mention are notoriously hard to paint over black... This might very well be me next purchase, if only I can find one suitable for the purpose.

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    3. I do undercoat in black. With the Ceramcoat craft paints I use, I find yellows cover much better than red over black. With yellow, I mostly am working on trim, piping, etc. and not an entire uniform for which red is often called into action. Perhaps, a coat in yellow would be just as difficult as red for coverage?

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  12. That looks like a very useful piece of kit to be sure.
    I used to buy Delta Ceramcoat from a chain store called Michaels - there are a few tan shades I liked for basing, but alas, Michaels dropped them in favour of the Martha Stewart line of craft acrylics, which aren't as useful, and dashed unmanly to buy as well.

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    Replies
    1. Our local craft stores seem to be phasing out Ceramcoat as well. Still pick up some colors at "Joanne's" here in the states.

      Buying craft paints is unmanly? Maybe. Sometimes I am the only male in the store when I make a resupply mission.

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