Low sheen acrylic – with added photocopier toner

Posted on January 15th, 2012 in tools by Julian Edgar

When I hung my collection of jack-stands and ramps on the workshop wall, it was obvious they needed a repaint.

I didn’t much care what type of paint was used, so long as it stayed on for 10 or so years. But I didn’t have any suitable paint on my shelves. And when I looked at the local hardware store I couldn’t believe how expensive decent paint is – even those cans they were selling off at a discount because they’d mixed the wrong colour.

So next time I was at the local rubbish tip (the following day, as it happened) I looked around to see if anyone had thrown away a half-full can of paint. And there it was – a 4-litre can of Dulux Weathershield self-priming low sheen acrylic with More Sun Protection and a 10 year guarantee. Sounded good – and felt it, too – at a heft, the can seemed about two-thirds full.

But when I got it home an opened it I found the colour was bright white. Very bright, too. White’s not a great colour to paint axle stands and ramps… so what could I do to change the colour? A grey, for example, would be better than bright white.

I looked to see if I had any water-based black paint on my shelf to mix with it, but found nothing. So what did I have that’s dark and finely powdered? How about photocopy toner from an old toner cartridge? Yep, had one of those…

I opened the cartridge and poured some of the toner into the paint can. Then I stirred and stirred and stirred – and the paint returned to its original bright white! To cut the story short, I added the whole contents of the cartridge before the paint turned grey. But grey it was.

So what did it paint like? Beautifully, as it happens. The coverage was excellent and it just glided on!

And the paint has an odd characteristic: it deadens sound. The ramps and stands no longer ‘clang’ when dropped from a small height onto the concrete – instead they go ‘thunk’.

2 Responses to 'Low sheen acrylic – with added photocopier toner'

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  1. countrypreferred said,

    on January 17th, 2012 at 7:40 am

    When I’ve used acrylic paint of this sort before, I found that it performs poorly for anything subject to impacts and abrasion. I made the mistake of painting a shelf unit in gloss acrylic, and everything that sits on it for any length of time sticks to it and marks it. I’ve noticed that house painters will use acrylic for walls, etc and enamel for window frames and doors that are subject to bumps and abrasion.

    I’d be interested to hear how you get on. I do like the idea of using excess photocopy toner for pigment. You could theoretically use colour toner too, but unless you got a cheap source like an old printer it’s probably cheaper to buy the paint!

  2. Nathan said,

    on January 19th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Graphite for lubricating locks may also work quite well?