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What is the ratio of Mr. COLOR to thinner?

Painting can be a fun and rewarding hobby. However, achieving the perfect finish requires mixing the paint properly by adding the right ratios of thinner. Thinners are liquids added to oil-based paints to adjust their viscosity and make them easier to apply. Understanding mixing ratios is essential to get the paint consistency and finish you want.

In this article, we’ll examine mixing ratios specifically for Mr. COLOR paints and thinners. Mr. COLOR is a premium line of paints from GSI Creos, known for their exceptional performance. By learning the proper Mr. COLOR to thinner ratios, you’ll be able to mix paint that sprays, brushes, or rolls on smoothly.

What is Mr. COLOR Paint?

Mr. COLOR is a line of top-quality paints designed for demanding applications like automotive, motorcycle, and model painting. Key features include:

  • High pigment loads provide excellent hiding power and color depth.
  • Carefully engineered resins allow the paint to adhere well and provide a durable, glossy finish.
  • Special additives improve flow and leveling for a smooth, professional look.

Mr. COLOR comes in a wide array of solid, metallic, and pearl colors suitable for any project. It’s formulated to deliver professional-grade results with standard spray guns, brushes, or rollers.

Thinners Used with Mr. COLOR

To thin Mr. COLOR paints correctly, you need to use the proprietary thinners designed for the line:

  • Mr. Color Leveling Thinner – The standard thinner, used for general thinning and viscosity reduction.
  • Mr. Color Retarder Thinner – A slower-evaporating thinner to extend the paint’s drying time.
  • Mr. Color Rapid Thinner – Speeds up drying compared to standard thinner.

Using these thinners ensures the paint retains its engineered properties. Other generic thinners may react adversely with Mr. COLOR’s resins and chemistry.

Recommended Mixing Ratios

The recommended Mr. COLOR paint to thinner ratios depend on your specific application method:

Application Method Mixing Ratio (Paint : Thinner)
Airbrushing 1 : 1 to 3 : 1
Detail Brushing 2 : 1 to 4 : 1
General Brushing 4 : 1 to 6 : 1
Roller 10 : 2 to 10 : 4
Conventional Spray Gun 1 : 1 to 2 : 1
HVLP Spray Gun 3 : 1 to 5 : 1

As you can see, airbrushing requires the most thinning for optimum atomization. Brushing uses less, while spraying is somewhere in between. The paint-to-thinner proportions also depend on the specific color and environmental conditions.

Factors Affecting Thinning Ratios

While the above mixing ratios provide useful starting points, several factors can alter the optimal thinner levels:

Paint Color and Type

Some Mr. COLOR colors like whites and yellows have more pigment content and require more thinning than darker shades. Metallics and pearls also need added thinner to spray smoothly.

Ambient Temperature

Hot temperatures make paint thinner and more viscous. Additional thinner may be needed. In colder conditions, less thinner is required.

Desired Finish

Heavily thinned paints lay down thinner coats. For full gloss paint jobs, the paint can be mixed at higher ratios for thicker coverage.

Spray Gun Tip Size

Larger spray tips require paint thinned to lower viscosities to atomize properly. Smaller tips can handle thicker paints.

Coating Thickness

Thicker coats require less thinner. When applying single light coats, the paint should be more diluted.

Personal Preferences

Some painters prefer the feel and control of heavily thinned paints. Others like thicker mixes. The ratios can be adjusted based on personal work style.

Testing and Adjusting the Mix

To dial in the perfect ratio, it’s best to start test batches with the recommended thinner levels above. Check the flow and atomization. If the paint is too thick, add thinner in small increments, mixing thoroughly. For best results:

  • Mix in a graduated mixing cup to measure ratios precisely.
  • Add thinner gradually to prevent over-thinning.
  • Strain paint into the spray gun cup after mixing to catch any dried specks.
  • Apply test coats on scrap surfaces to observe spraying properties.
  • Clean the gun thoroughly when switching thinner ratios.

With some trial and error, you’ll learn how much thinner gives you the ideal spraying and brushing properties.

Tips for Proper Thinning Technique

Here are some tips for mixing Mr. COLOR successfully:

  • Always use the proprietary Mr. COLOR thinners, never substitutes.
  • Agitate paint before mixing to redisperse pigments.
  • Add thinner gradually while stirring constantly.
  • Thin small batches that will be used up quickly to avoid drying in the gun cup.
  • Apply light mist coats first, then follow with wet coats.
  • In hot climates, use Mr. Color Retarder Thinner to slow drying.
  • For cold paint shops, preheat paint slightly before spraying.
  • Pour leftover mixed paint into a storage container – don’t return it to the paint can.

Proper mixing and thinning technique will allow you to unlock the full potential of Mr. COLOR.

Recommended Thinners for Different Mr. COLOR Product Lines

In addition to the standard line, Mr. COLOR comes in several specialty formulations requiring specific thinners:

Mr. COLOR Product Line Recommended Thinner
Mr. Color Lacquer Mr. Color Leveling Thinner or Mr. Color Rapid Thinner
Mr. Color Super Clear Mr. Color Leveling Thinner
Mr. Crystal Color Mr. Color Leveling Thinner
Mr. Base White/Black Mr. Color Leveling Thinner
Mr. Clear Coat Mr. Color Leveling Thinner or Mr. Color Rapid Thinner

Always consult the product technical sheet to confirm compatible thinners before mixing. Using the correct thinner ensures proper curing, gloss, and durability.

Cleaning Up with Thinner

An often overlooked benefit of paint thinners is using them for cleaning. After painting, thinners excel at cleaning brushes, spray guns, and other equipment. Their solvent properties cut through dried paint for easy cleanup.

Here are some tips for cleaning with Mr. COLOR thinners:

  • Disassemble spray guns fully and soak all parts in thinner to dissolve paint residue.
  • Use thinner on a rag to wipe down tools immediately after use, before paint has a chance to fully dry.
  • Let caked brushes soak in thinner to soften the dried paint so it can be rinsed out.
  • Pour a small amount of thinner in a container and swirl your brush in it as you’re working to keep it clean.
  • Thinner can remove stray overspray if wiped gently on fresh paint before it cures.
  • To clean mixing cups or jar lids, let a small amount of thinner stand in them briefly to loosen paint, then dump it out.

Of course when using solvents for cleaning, proper precautions are essential – use in well-ventilated areas and avoid skin or eye contact.

Properly Disposing of Used Thinner

Once thinner has been used for cleaning, it becomes contaminated with paint residue. Used thinner should not be poured down drains or disposed of with normal trash. Instead:

  • Allow used thinner to sit in a ventilated area so remaining solvents can fully evaporate.
  • Check for a local hazardous waste disposal program that accepts used paint thinners.
  • Some auto parts stores recycle used solvents.
  • Unusable thinner can be solidified with an absorbent like cat litter and the dried mixture disposed of.
  • Use thinner frugally in cleaning to minimize waste.

Disposing of paint-related chemicals properly protects the environment and complies with regulations.

Health and Safety Tips for Using Thinners

While thinners are essential painters’ tools, they contain volatile solvents that require safe handling:

  • Use thinners only in well-ventilated areas to avoid inhaling vapors.
  • Wear solvent-resistant gloves and eye protection when handling.
  • Avoid direct skin contact with thinners, as they can cause dryness and irritation.
  • Keep thinners away from ignition sources, as they’re extremely flammable.
  • Store in tightly sealed containers approved for flammable materials.
  • Avoid contact with clothing, which can remain contaminated even after drying.
  • Never ingest or purposely inhale thinners, which can cause organ damage.

With prudent care taken, paint thinners can be used safely and effectively.


Mixing high-quality finishes with Mr. COLOR paint requires carefully balancing paint and thinner ratios. By following the recommendations in this article, you’ll be able to mix Mr. COLOR to flow optimally for any application method. Test batches on scrap surfaces are useful for dialing in the ideal viscosity and spray properties. Always thin in a well-ventilated workspace using the proprietary Mr. COLOR thinners. With proper mixing technique, you’ll be able to produce flawless, professional-grade paint jobs using Mr. COLOR.