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How do you make homemade white paint?

How do you make homemade white paint?

Making your own white paint at home can be a fun and rewarding project. With just a few simple ingredients and tools, you can create a high quality paint that rivals store-bought varieties. Homemade paint allows you to fully customize the finish, tint, and consistency of your paint to fit your unique needs. This do-it-yourself paint also tends to be lower in odor and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared to commercial options. Read on to learn the steps for how to make a simple homemade white paint.

What You’ll Need

The ingredients needed to make homemade white paint are probably already in your pantry and garage. Here is a list of the basic supplies:

Pigment (Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide) Provides whiteness and hiding power
Binder (Latex Paint or Flour Paste) Allows pigment to adhere to surfaces
Solvent (Water) Thins the paint to desired consistency
Container For mixing and storing paint
Funnel For pouring paint into container
Stir Sticks For mixing ingredients together

In addition to these supplies, you may want additives like glycerin for a smoother finish or mold inhibitor to increase shelf life. The tools and additives can be adjusted based on your specific goals for the homemade paint.

Choosing Your Pigment

The pigment is the ingredient that will give your homemade paint its white color. You can use common white pigments like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment. It offers excellent hiding power and a very bright white tone. Titanium dioxide can be purchased as a powder or liquid. The powder is often cheaper but requires more mixing to fully incorporate into the paint.

Zinc oxide is another white pigment that provides good coverage. It has a slight cream or off-white tint. Zinc oxide may be labeled as “zinc white” at arts and crafts stores. It tends to be less opaque than titanium dioxide.

For the whitest homemade paint with best hiding power, titanium dioxide is the best choice. Zinc oxide works well too, it just may require applying more coats to fully cover the surface.

Choosing Your Binder

The binder is the ingredient that holds the pigment together and allows it to stick to surfaces. For white paint, latex-based options work best. Here are two binder options:

Latex Paint: One of the easiest binders for homemade paint is leftover latex wall paint. The latex allows the pigment to go on smoothly and provides adhesion. A flat or matte finish latex paint works best as the binder. Simply add more pigment to thicken and brighten the existing light-colored latex paint.

Flour Paste: A flour paste made from mixing wheat or all-purpose flour with water can also be used as a binder. The flour particles help suspend the pigment. Flour paste binder results in a paint that goes on smoothly and is low in odor and VOCs. However, the paint may be more prone to cracking as it dries.

Latex paint is the simplest option for beginners making white paint. But flour paste creates a paint that is safer for kids and more environmentally-friendly.

Mixing the Paint

Once you have gathered the ingredients, the next step is measuring and mixing everything together:

1. If using new latex paint as your binder, first thin it to a milky consistency by stirring in water. Thinning pre-mixed paint makes it easier to incorporate the pigment powder.

2. If using flour paste, mix 1 part flour to 3 parts warm water in a pot. Continuously whisk over low heat for 5-10 minutes until thickened to a glue-like texture. Let cool before using.

3. Measure out the pigment powder, starting with 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of binder. Mix the pigment and binder together with a stir stick or drill mixer.

4. Gradually add more pigment powder or water to reach the desired consistency and opacity. For brushable paint, aim for the texture of heavy cream.

5. Funnel the finished paint into a container for storage. Mason jars or recycled containers work well.

6. Seal and label the container with the paint name and date. The homemade paint can be stored for up to 1 year.

Applying the Homemade Paint

The techniques for applying homemade white paint are similar to using store-bought varieties:

– Surfaces should be clean, dry, and free of any grease or flaking paint. Lightly sanding glossy surfaces helps the paint adhere better.

– For maximum hide, use a primer first if painting over dark colors. For light colors, priming is optional.

– Apply with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer in thin, even coats. Let each coat fully dry before adding another.

– Most surfaces require 2-3 coats for best coverage. Porous surfaces may need additional coats.

– Smooth out any drips or streaks immediately using a brush or roller.

– Let the final coat dry 24-48 hours before light use. Wait 1-2 weeks for full cure before washing or scrubbing.

The finished homemade white paint should have a nice consistency for applying smoothly. Proper priming and multiple coats will provide good hide and coverage.

Tinting the Paint Other Colors

One benefit of homemade paint is that you can easily tint it any color. Here are some options for tinting:

– Universal colorants: Add a few drops of universal liquid dye to tint the white base paint. Only a small amount is needed to achieve bold hues.

– Acrylic craft paint: Stir in a bit of acrylic hobby paint in coordinating colors to make tinted paint.

– Natural pigments: Natural sources like turmeric, berries, or clay can provide earthy tints.

– Concrete/masonry tint: These powdered concrete pigments are designed for tinting paint durable hues. Start with just 1/2 teaspoon per 1 cup paint.

– White primer/paint: Get on-trend grays by mixing white paint with a bit of black primer or paint. Start with a 1:4 black to white ratio.

Be sure to add tinting pigments slowly and test the paint on cardboard before applying it. This allows you to gradually achieve your desired soft or bold color.

Troubleshooting Homemade Paint

Part of the appeal of homemade paint is being able to adjust the formula based on your observations. Here are some ways to troubleshoot and modify the paint:

Issue Solution
Too thin/watery Mix in more pigment or flour
Too thick Stir in additional water
Poor hide Add more pigment
Doesn’t adhere Add a little glycerin or lime
Cracking/peeling Use a paint primer first
Mold growing Add a preservative

Test your adjustments in small batches before altering your whole paint mixture. With some tweaking and experimenting, you’ll achieve the perfect homemade white paint.

Storing Leftover Paint

You’ll likely have leftover paint even from small homemade paint batches. Properly stored, the paint can be saved for touch ups or future projects:

– Pour paint into an airtight container, removing as much excess air as possible. Mason jars work great for storage.

– Seal the container tightly to prevent spills and skin formation on top.

– Label the container with the type of paint and date mixed. This allows you to use oldest paint first.

– Store paint somewhere climate controlled and not prone to freezing. The shelf life is 6-12 months.

– Before reusing stored paint, remix thoroughly and add a few drops water if too thick.

With proper storage techniques, you can keep leftover homemade paint usable for paint touch-ups down the road.

Uses for Homemade White Paint

Once you learn how to whip up this simple white paint, you may be surprised by all the ways it can be used:

– Furniture painting – Give outdated wood furniture a bright, refreshed look with homemade white paint. Adheres well to wood, metal, and more.

– Kids’ crafts – The low-odor paint is safe for kid’s art projects. Easily tints to any color for painting handprints or creating masterpieces.

– Indoor wall paint – For a zero VOC, low-odor option, use homemade paint on interior walls and murals.

– Outdoor surfaces – Properly sealed, the paint holds up on outdoor furniture, fences, planters, and decorative features subject to weathering.

– Chalkboard paint – By mixing the homemade white paint with unsanded tile grout, you can make your own chalkboard paint for walls.

– Primer/sealer – The white paint provides good holdout when used as an undercoat primer on patched walls or unfinished surfaces.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your homemade paint for any project that needs a fresh coat of white paint!


As you can see, making your own white paint at home is a relatively easy and inexpensive process. With just a few basic ingredients like latex paint or flour paste, white pigment, and water, you can whip up paint with a customized finish. Adjust the formula as needed to achieve the exact consistency, tint, and opacity you desire. Be sure to store any leftovers properly so the paint remains usable for future painting projects. Once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to create any colored paint desired.