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How to Read a Paint Mixing Cup

How to Read a Paint Mixing Cup

How to Read a Paint Mixing Cup

Often the simplest steps in a painting project are the most important. Starting out knowing what you’re doing is the best way to make sure you have a smooth and hassle-free painting experience. One of the most basic but potentially most critical parts of painting is knowing the ins and outs of using a mixing cup. In this quick guide you’ll become acquainted with what you need to know to start out on the right foot when mixing paints.

Starting Out

The first step is to take a look at the container the paint is in. On the front of the paint can, it should be clearly marked what kind of mix ratio is needed. For example, it should say mix two, three, four or more parts of paint to one part of the second ingredient needed to mix the paint into a mixture ready for application. This information will determine how you use the mixing cup.

Understanding the Numbers

Next, you’ll need to understand the numbers on the side of the mixing cup. All of these rows of numbers can be daunting at first sight, but it’s actually pretty simple. Before you do anything, you need to decide how much of the final paint mixture you need. It’s usually easiest just to eyeball how much paint you want once all the ingredients have been mixed together.

Once you’ve decided the total mixture you want, (i.e. the cup totally full, half full, a quarter full, or another amount) take a closer look at the markings on the cup. First focus on the top row of numbers. These should look like a horizontal row of numbers at the top of columns, for example, a 2, followed by several ones. The next section (or table) of numbers should have a 3 followed by 1’s, the next a 4, and so on. If the paint can shows the mixture to be a 2-to-1 ratio, for example, you should solely focus on the vertical columns underneath the section for 2-to-1 ratios.

Understanding the Columns

Next, you need to read the correct vertical column. This should be the first column that has a “1” at the top instead of a “2” (or other number). Then follow this column down. About halfway down the column, numbers should start showing up. These usually begin with an 8, then count down to 1. Now pick the number that most closely matches the amount of paint you think you’ll need, for example a quarter of the total volume of the cup. This number is all you need to get the next steps right and mix up the perfect ratio of paint.

Pour and Paint

The final step is to make sure you pour the paint into the cup according to that number. For example, if you chose “7”, pour the initial ingredient up to the line just below the number 7, on the first vertical line (underneath the 2 at the top). Then add the additional component needed in the mixture, up to the 7 on the second vertical line (underneath the first 1 at the top).

Now you’re all set to paint! Mixing cups are an easy way to get the paint mixing ratios just right, and once you know how to use them, they’re a great tool for making sure a paint job goes well.