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How to Tint Paint Primer Yourself

By: Joe Truini

When painting, it’s a good idea to tint the primer the color of the finished paint to reduce the number of coats needed. While a paint store can add colorant to the primer, you can also tint the primer yourself by adding some of the colored paint to it. Make sure the primer and paint are compatible before mixing the two together.



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7 Comments on “How to Tint Paint Primer Yourself”

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  • Annie Dewart Says:
    July 20th, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Thanks Joe!! A big help!!

  • George Says:
    May 7th, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Is there any way to take a random color interior latex paint and make it white (essentially remove or re-tint it white) ? I have some extra one coat latex paint I want to use as a primer for a project.

  • Vulture Says:
    September 23rd, 2017 at 1:12 am

    ” You need a number of colors and in the large size, it adds up.If you do, you need to make sure you have enough for all the coats you need to make your substrate look good.” I mean you should make more paint than you need to cover any issues of repainting something twice. Unless you measure your colorants well, each time, you might not get to finish you are looking for. I didn’t mean you had to buy a lot of colorant.
    A rack of 12 normal size colorant is over $ 250.00

    When using tints, you CAN tint what you have already own. But you can’t take the tint out when it’s in !

    When using tints, if you feel you must go that way, you can buy BASES that will accept and carry your color. If I remember there are five bases or three. Three I think. The higher the number base the darker it will take the colorant.

  • Vulture Says:
    September 23rd, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Only primer I saw goes on pink dries white is a fire retardant primer.
    Was latex (?) from one of the drywall companies,National Gypson, Gold Bond, I think, sold in five gallon buckets. Surprised me, we used it to prime
    plywood sheets used indoors for a construction barrier.

    When using paints from more than one container, you should mix both containers into a a larger container, straining as you do it. This is called “Boxing the paint” . This applies more to finish coats, but is good to do otherwise.

    Industry standard is to tint primers (when asked to tint them) is to 1/2 value of finish coat. This is good because:
    * At 1/2 value, you can see “holidays” or missed/un-primed or areas on substrate because it is darker/lighter than what you are painting, but not as dark as your finish coat, you can see what you are doing. If you use light and look at wall on an angle as you go along/finish.
    * Now you have added a depth of color to finish as opposed to a primer that you have to cover instead of one helping you.
    * You can buy “Universal tint” to tint your own, read on it, BUT those tints
    are permanent!! They get on anything by itself, it does NOT dry. They are not cheap if you buy big bottles of it. So unless you plan to do a lot of testing and measuring for a big project, it is not worth it to custom tint your own color. You need a number of colors and in the large size, it adds up.If you do, you need to make sure you have enough for all the coats you need to make your substrate look good. Write down the formula and how you measured to colorants and don’t lose it! A flat finish could use 3 coats depending on color. And at least 3 if finish coat has a sheen/gloss to it.
    * when you use primer, you can see if they make a primer in the sheen you want, there is a small amount of colored/specialty primers out there.
    *When you use 1/2 tint primer, you can now patch any thing you see with
    Durabond/ready mix , it will dry white, you can see it to sand/prime the patch now.
    * You can use Universal tint in oil varnishes, be careful of the outcome
    of using too much colorant.
    ** I use Universal tint in Exterior Light Yellow,Exterior Medium Yellow or Raw Sienna. I use Durabond (powder you hand mix with water) or RaedyMix ( Pre mixed joint compound in 5 Gal. bucket). I put amount to work with in my “Mud Pan” mix it to consistency, add just enough colorant to be able to see my touch up patches over primer/1st/2nd coats. Best is Light Yellow whenever possible, and not to heavy on the amount, most color will cover the sanded patch.

  • Dave Galarneau Says:
    March 16th, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Looking for primer that goes on pink (or different shade) but dries white. Issue is walls with significant amount of joint compound. Thus, putting white primer on white compound sometimes leaves spots unprimed, or missed. Too late when applying topcoat to discover missed primed areas.

  • Neil Says:
    March 10th, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    I bought 2 gallons of whit primer and when they tinted it for me, it came out 1/2 the color I wanted.
    How can I tint latex white primer myself.
    Please be precise.
    GOD bless and thanks a lot.

  • Martin Gaworecki Says:
    August 5th, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Just let the store do the tinting of the primer. The miniscule amount of paint you can add to the primer will make a barely perceptible change. Normally up to 2 ounces of pigment can be added per gallon and not affect adhesion. The pigments are ultra saturated and can make significant changes to the saturation and hue to all but the most intense/saturated colors. To be more direct adding paint to the primer is a rather stupid idea and I advise against do so.

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How to Tint Paint Primer Yourself