How Paint is Made

Paint is a product that most, if not all of us will use in the home at some point, but rarely do we think about where it comes from and how it’s made. In this article, we explore the different components used that make paint, the process and the different types of paint you can purchase. We hope this can help you make a more informed decision when choosing which paint to purchase in the future.

What is paint made of?

Standard wall paint tends to be made up of four key components; resin, additives, solvents and pigments. Each component plays an important role in the production process.

Resin– this component is used to bind the pigments together and help the paint dry. It is possible to get natural or synthetic resin.

Additives– these act as fillers and sometimes work as anti-fungicidal agents.

Solvents– in standard paints, these solvents are typically chemical based liquids that make paint easier to apply to surfaces.

Pigments– these are what give paint its colour.

When it comes to natural or eco-friendly paints, the ingredients will differ. One brand who produces their very own sustainable paint is Victory Colours. Through clever innovation, they have created an entire range of premium quality paint which avoids toxins including chemical solvents, VOCs, phthalates, formaldehyde, and Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEO), and heavy metals, amongst other things.

What is the paint making process?

The four main stages of paint manufacturing tend to remain the same regardless of whether the paint uses synthetic materials and chemicals or natural ingredients. We have simplified these stages below;

Preparation– this involves measuring all of the ingredients and making a paste.

Pigment dispersion and mixing- the pigment is broken down by the resin and additives. These ingredients are then mixed together using a special paint mixing machine designed to combine the ingredients and disperse the pigments.

Thinning the paste- additional solvents are added to the mixture to get the correct paint consistency.

Testing- the final step in the process is testing the paint prior to containing it to ensure it has the right colour, appearance, texture and consistency.

By-products of the paint production process

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)VOCs are a group of organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at room temperature and are emitted from certain solids and liquids.
WastewaterWaste water is any water that has been contaminated during the manufacturing process.
Waste solventsSolvents are often used to clean the production equipment between each batch of paint. During this cleaning process, solvent waste is produced.
SludgeA combination of leftover chemicals and paint after the manufacturing process can lead to sludge waste.

Now that you know more about how paint is made, what it is made of and the by-products it generates, you might be interested in shopping for paint more sustainably. Infact, statistics suggest that around 50 million litres of the 320 million letters of paint sold in the UK go to waste every year. This is due to paint either being thrown away or stored for long periods of time, despite it still being perfectly usable. Buying leftover paint, or paint from sustainable producers is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and the detrimental effects that paint can have on the environment.


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