Sunday, June 29, 2008

Understanding Monochromatic Colors

- one color, so many possibilities!

There is a fun experiment to try to get a better understanding of monochromatic colors - this will come in handy when trying a do-it-yourself project such as faux painting.
When choosing colors for a faux finish, I often like to use monochromatic colors as they give you great depth and definition.

Here is an experiment you can try:

First you need some supplies and tools;
• plastic containers ( the ones from take out Chinese work the best)- you will need two
• a few plastic spoons (one for the base color, one for white, one for black and two for mixing - so a total of four would be advised)
• acrylic paints from the craft store work best for this experiment - not the kind in the tubes, they are quite expensive - buy the kind that are used for stenciling, in the plastic containers.
• Pick one base color ( let's say blue)
• also buy a white and a black container of paint

** you can use the latex paints, like the sample colors you are thinking about for the room, if you have them picked out already - but this is just an experiment to give you some experience with tints and shades. Benjamin Moore offers some of their paint collection in sample size containers, which is very helpful when choosing colors for your room.

Now time for the fun!

• Take the two empty containers - be sure they are clean
• Put a few plastic spoonfuls of your base color into each of the two containers
• Add one spoonful white in one container to the original for the lighter version. As you add more white (by the spoonful), you will stir the paint, and see that the color gets lighter -If working with a blue base, the color will start to look like a sky blue, the more white you add.
• In the second container add black to the base color for a darker shade of this color, stir the colors so they are well mixed and you will get a darker shade of the original base - again if working with blue as the base, it will turn to more of a navy blue.
** be careful when adding black as the colors get darker much faster than they got lighter with the addition of white.

When using this experiment for a room where you already picked the color, you should keep track of the formula you have created.
For example: if 3 spoonfuls of your base and 1 spoonful of white bring you to the color you like for the monochromatic palette, then when mixing the larger quantities of paint, you can use this as your formula - 3 to 1 - apply this to quarts - one quart of white to 3 quarts of the base, or on a larger scale in gallons
- it is important to read the labels of the paint to see what kind of coverage you are expected to get, to know how much paint is needed in a room.

Now you have created your monochromatic palette for painting the room. Mixing paints like this is a great exercise in understanding how to create a palette, especially if you are planning to attempt faux painting in the future. Look for more about faux painting in future entries.

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