View Full Version : Storing Mixed Colors

12-20-2001, 10:18 PM
In doing some mixing experiments I've come up with a quanity of paint that I just had to find a way to store. Thought I would pass on to those of you that are just beginning that you can buy empty oil paint tubes and store your mixes in them for future use.

These empty tubes come with tops and the bottoms are completely open. That way you can fill them with paint from the bottom. Then you close the end and roll up just as you would if you were using paint from the store. Remember to label your mix and maybe put your color recipe on it as well. The reason this works is because you are not letting air get to the paint. I also have had success putting paint in those small (very small) jars that the manufacturers of lip balm use. If you put plastic wrap over the top of this type of container it will keep the air from forming a skin.

Anyone else have tricks to keep paint?

12-21-2001, 05:32 PM
If you are mixing specific colors in quantity, then your method is a great one. However, I find that usually a small portion remains after painting. I've gotten into the habit of combining them into three containers, a warm, a cool, and a nuetral. When stirred they form warm gray, cool gray, and nuetral gray. These become great modifiers for controlling the saturation of subsequent mixtures. They're also useful for the wash in beginning stage. A good way to use the left overs. Saves some money in the long run. I've used 35mm film canisters, with the snap or twist lids. You can pour a little oil on top to keep out the air. Or for my big jars of grays, the Suran wrap trick works fine, but it needs to be pressed down on top of the paint layer. Any air left in the jar will promote drying.

12-21-2001, 05:47 PM
Phyllis, I was thinking about getting those empty aluminum paint tubes from Dick Blick. My only concern is whether or not just rolling up the end will give an air-tight seal?

12-22-2001, 05:27 AM
Yes, the tubes I am talking about are the same tubes that manufacturers use to put paint in. Don't fill your tube all the way but leave enough room to roll the bottom tightly. Take a dull dinner knife or straight edge and place it on the tube with the paint filled side to the left and your bottom open to the right of your straight edge. Then use another straight edge or a spoon to gently wrap or fold over a very small first fold of the tube. This will give you your first seal. Then you can start folding over another small portion to begin the actual bottom of your new tubbed paint. Manufactures would then crimp this edge, but it's not necessary. If you feel better about it, you could always use a hammer to get the tube metal really tight, but again I don't thinkyou will have a problem.

You also can buy what they call a paint saver that will fold up your tube ends for your. Sorta hard to describe how to use it, but when you see it, it will become crystal clear what to do. Do order them. They are great, and I like having my own paint that I can name what I want. "Blue by llis" LOL

12-26-2001, 03:11 AM
About ten years ago I used a 35mm film canister for the first time to decant a colour when the tube split. I still have that same film canister with the last dregs of my acrylic Yellow Ochre (note to self, must buy some soon) and it's still workable. Since then they have become my preferred method for storing large amounts of mixed paint plus I have four other colours whose tubes gave up the ghost stored in this way too, all of which remain quite workable years later. I think this is a fair indication of how good the seal must be on them so it should exclude enough air to work for oils too, and they're effectively free, always a good thing!


12-27-2001, 04:57 AM
Originally posted by Einion
About ten years ago I used a 35mm film canister for the first time to decant a colour when the tube split.

For acrylics I'm in 35mm canisters, too. (Never did anything with oils yet).

You have to be aware that there are different types of these canisters, some of them seal better than others (filling one with alcohol and turn it upside down can give a good indication if it seals well).



12-27-2001, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by diphascon
...filling one with alcohol and turn it upside down can give a good indication if it seals well)
Good tip, thanks.