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Turning paint into a wash

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Hey all!  I was working on my RSN stuff tonight and I tried turning one of my paints into a wash.  I added a lot of water, and then a drop of soap.  I heard the soap is useful in that it breaks the water tension in the paint?  But as I was applying it, it got super bubbly because of the soap.  It worked okay, but I'm sure there's a better way to do this.  Has anyone ever done this before?

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I'd just thin it with water lots. 

 

Wearing a scientist hat, I can't think why you'd want to reduce surface tension in the paint anyway, ( as far as I can see)  it is the same intermolecular forces that create the effect known as surface tension that produces the capillary action that draws paint into cracks, as you want for a wash.

 

James

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While you can thin paint to make a poor-man's wash, it won't behave like a wash. A true wash uses a different media than paint, and the pigment tends to sink within this media, which also tends to sink into cracks. Adding a bit of soap might do something similar.

Generally, everyone should get a brown and dark blue wash, for washing warm and cool colors.

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Try using a roughly 10:1 mix of Pledge Floor Care - Multi Surface Finish and your favorite acrylic paint. Perhaps even 20:1. Mix thoroughly and continue to mix every time you dip your brush. Results are much better than simple watered-down paint. FWIW, this concoction has earned the moniker "magic wash" within the hobby.

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Another way is to visit a art store and look for "Flow Medium" or "Clear Paint Medium"

 

I just make my own washes from scratch these days following this recipe

 

This is a good website to visit

http://awesomepaintjob.com/index.cfm/resources.recipes

 

at the moment I have 6 different washes that I have mixed myself and I keep a recipe book of my mixes. 1 was a failed wash a different project but it turns out it is a good snow wash for the bases of units in my Dystopian Wars vehicles

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You can use some paints to make well-behaved washes, but a good wash depends on 2 things:

 

1. Pigment ground

2. Viscosity 

 

High quality paints will have a finer pigment ground, which is what you want. Cheap paints tend to have coarser pigments, so don't make washes very well. Generally, most hobby paints made for miniature painting (GW, Vallejo, P3, Reaper) do pretty well for thinning to a wash because they either have very fine pigments or even use liquid pigments (P3 and RMS).

 

The viscosity of the binder liquid is what helps washes "do their thing." Too thick, and you essentially have paint; too thin and you have a mess. ;) Most acrylic paints have water and some acrylic binder, and they're usually thinnable with just plain water. Unless you have particularly hard water (lots of mineral content), this typically works ok to make a wash. If you have hard water, though, you'll not get good results. The easiest solution there is to use distilled water. Another common solution is to use an additive that will reduce the surface tension of the water by altering its viscocity--people often suggest soap, Windex, or other various flow improvers, but my experience shows the best results when using an actual acrylic flow release, not soap or other things that aren't designed for this use. Getting the right mix depends a bit on what you're using, but if you put too much (especially soap) then you break the viscosity too much and will wind up trapping air and creating bubbles, which will leave nasty "tide marks" and other things on your model.

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Golden makes a fabulous satin glazing liquid.  I love mixing this with my acrylics as it gives it more of the properties of a watercolor or a wash.  You can generally find it at a hobby store that carries golden or like myself order it from Amazon.

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