Color matching is both an art and a science.  Although experience is the best teacher, we can provide you a few tips that will help you along your learning curve to be an expert color matcher.

  1. Use percentages to make adjustments. Determine the amount of colorant you will add in the adjustment hit as a percentage of what you already added. A very slight color adjustment would be a 10% hit. A more visible adjustment would be a 20% hit. To move a color 1/2 to 1 full shade would take about a 50% hit.
  2. Be conservative. Make small colorant hits. It is easier to make adjustments from the light side than after you have over added colorant and are to dark.
  3. When possible, try to make any adjustments using the colorants already in the formula. Using too many different colorants to make a correction often complicates the situation.
  4. Total Wall Finish Base 3 is 1/2 the strength of Finish Base 1.  If you are in a pinch, you can make a Base 1 color using Base 3 by adding 1/2 the colorant called for in the formula.  Conversely, you can make a Base 3 color using Base 1 by adding twice the colorant called for in the formula.  The color produced by switching bases will be very close.  Remember, if you need to tint more Finish for the same job in the future, you must use the same Base that you used the first time if you want an exact match.  Keep enough inventories so that you won't need to play the Base switching game too often. These conversions work for Total Wall Finish but not Total Lastic.
  5. Some colorants are very strong and will make large jumps in color by adding a small amount. The strongest colorant is F, Red Oxide. Other strong colorants are B and I. The mildest colorant is L, Raw Umber.
  6. If you have the right color but need to "muddy it up" or "dirty it up", add some colorant L, Raw Umber.
  7. If you have the right color shade but you are too light, add a percentage of all of the colorants, for example, you can add 20% more of each colorant in the formula. This will make a darker shade color.
  8. If you are too red or pink, a small amount of E, Blue, will kill the red. Adding Yellow, C, will change a pink or red toward a beige or brown tone.
  9. Adding Black will darken the tone and add a gray cast, killing the red and yellow tones at the same time.
  10. Texture affects the "apparent color" because it controls light reflectance and shadowing. Be sure that you control the texture when making your samples. Very often, reported color problems are due to texture variations.
  11. Remember, adding red to a white Base doesn't make a light red, it makes pink.
  12. Adding brown to a white base also makes pink. To get brown you must also add yellow and maybe a little black.
  13. Adding Blue to Yellow makes green.
  14. Adding Umber to white makes a gray with a slight yellow cast.
  15. Adding yellow also lightens and brightens the color.
  16. If you are too dark, you can add white, Kx, to lighten the color. However, be prepared to add a lot of Kx. As a rule, expect to add 5Y to lighten the color 1/2 shade (about 50%). (per five gallon pail)
  17. Keep good records. You must record your color formulas and your adjustments for future reference. Record all pertinent information about the customer and job as well. We recommend that you keep a small dry color swab of each pail produced after mixing to accompany the written formulas.
  18. If you are having difficulties, just give us a call. We can often help you right over the phone.
  19. Mix the Finish thoroughly after adding the colorant. If you are using a shaker, we recommend that you shake the pail a few seconds BEFORE adding the colorant. This coats the pail lid and seam with Finish so that the colorant will not collect in these areas when shaking after the colorant is added. If you are using a drill mixer, do not shake or invert the pails before opening and adding colorant.
  20. If you have a request for a competitive color, such as Sherwin Williams, we have a data base of numerous competitive colors. Give us a call and we may be able to help.

Color matching is a challenging and rewarding task. We know you are up to the challenge and we will support you every step of the way.