Enamel paint is a hard paint with a glossy finish, but it is much softer than synthetic resins and vitreous enamel. This paint is also durable and long-lasting. Thus, it is commonly seen in bathrooms, kitchens, aircraft, and automobiles. Enamel paints also protect the surface from humidity, moisture, sunlight, and heat.
Sometimes enamel paints are mixed with reducers, which increase the volume of paint without reducing the quality or the glossy finish. Reducers are mostly used in automotive painting. Enamel for walls or trim generally does not use a reducer. Care must be taken with regard to the ratio of reducer to paint. Mixing enamel paint can be tricky, but if the proper ratio and technique are used, there is absolutely no difference in the output.
1. Acquiring Supplies
You will need a paint reducer, paint hardener, spray-paint gun, paintbrush, and funnel. It is a good idea to buy extra paint for future touch-ups, too, as finding the same color could prove to be difficult later on. Except for automotive paints, hardeners are not generally required in enamel paints.
2. Stirring the Paint
Using a stick, small rod, or long spoon to mix the paint slowly will take at least five to 10 minutes. The best way to achieve a homogeneous mixture is to pour the paint back and forth between several cans. This must be done until the right, smooth consistency is reached.
3. Adding the Reducer
The enamel paint and the reducer are generally not mixed in equal quantities. Follow what is recommended, often 1/3 reducer to 2/3 paint, and ensure the reducer and the paint are from the same manufacturer.
Begin with an empty container, and then pour half of the enamel paint in the container. Slowly add the reducer while stirring continuously. Failing to stir continuously might add lumps to the mixture. Continue stirring until you reach a smooth consistency. Do not use a funnel to transfer the liquid in the container, as the paint can be gluey to pour.
4. Adding the Hardener
Next, add the hardener to the container. Even in automotive painting, ratios will vary from paint to paint. Make sure you do not stop the stirring process because it may get lumpy if not stirred properly.
5. Applying the Paint
The paint is now properly mixed and can be used on any surface. Insert the paint in a paint gun, or use a brush or roller to paint the surface. This paint must be air-dried, and it dries quickly.
6. Storing the Paint
If you have any paint left in the container, make sure you store it. Failing to do so would allow the reducer to evaporate and leave behind a clump of useless paint. Aim to use the paint within two weeks of mixing.
Edward Kimble, a professional painter, and the author of Interior House Painting Blog contributed to this article.