Colorants

HOW TO TINT PLASTER: ADDING COLOR

Click on the digital fandeck/color chart below to see our colors:

 plaster colorchart stucco venetian lime

When placing an order, pick from our 60 standard colors. The colors are an average representation of the final color on your walls, depending on burnishing or sealing. If choosing custom colors, contact us at info@vasariplaster.com.

Our older fandeck can be found HERE.  

ALL ABOUT COLORANTS

Pigments, colorants and tints all refer to the same thing: that with which you color your plaster, lime wash, or stucco. There are many different tints on the market; some natural, some synthetic. There are liquid colorants and powdered pigments (discussed further below). The powdered ones are usually natural and most are from some kind of mineral oxide. Oxides are great for plasters, especially lime plasters like Vasari’s. Oxide colors don't fade as easily as synthetic ones. Any fading is generally due to sun exposure.

Most paint companies use liquid colorants to tint their products. These are sometime referred to as 'Universal Tints'. There are about a dozen different colorants that are used in combination to produce specific colors. Usually 2 to 4 pigments are used to craft the desired color. Most universal tints are from naturally produced oxides, and a few are synthetic.

Here's a list of the most common colorants used to tint plasters and paints. They’re referred to by their common name or a designated letter (don’t expect it to make sense):

C - Yellow Oxide
L - Raw Umber (Oxide)
I - Brown Oxide
B - Lamp Black (Oxide)
F - Red Oxide
D - Phalo Green
E - Pthalo Blue
R - Organic Red
V - Magenta
T - Medium Yellow
AXX - Organic Yellow

Most paint companies are familiar with these colorant names, although some have different names for different colors, or additional colors not listed above. Not all universal colorants are equal or interchangeable; some are lighter, brighter, more saturated, and different brands may vary slightly.

Vasari uses zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) eco-friendly and low-odor colorants to create an infinite palette of colors. Our colorants are the same as those used for specialty 'green' paints, and are the best and cleanest in the industry.

When you order a color from us, we use a combination of the above tints to create the color, and of course you can create your own colors.


HOW TO MIX COLORS

Our plaster will dry much lighter than paint or other products compared to the wet look. The reason is the whiteness of the lime. So when mixing colors, add more colorant than you would for paint. If you have a formula for a paint color, just add more colorant than the formula calls for. About 50% more for lighter colors, 100% more for medium tones, and up to 300% more colorant for deeper colors. The largest quantity colorant our plaster can take is about 3 quarts.

Here's an example of a formula for 5 gallons of a popular golden color:
C - 5y
L - 2y24
I - 40p

5y equals five ounces, oddly Y means one ounce. There are 48 points in one ounce. Therefore, 40p equals 40 points. Sometimes there's no 'p' written, as in 2y24. This means 2 ounces and 24 points, or 2 and a half ounces.

The formula above equals 5 ounces of Yellow Oxide, 2 and a half ounces of Raw Umber, and 40 points of Iron Oxide.

We’re happy to share our formulas, contact us at info@vasariplaster.com or phone 805.667.8454 with any questions. Also, your local paint store can help you and often will, but not always, so call first!
  

POWDERED PIGMENTS

Powdered pigments may be used if a very particular historical color is hard to reproduce with the standard combinations of tints. Vasari doesn't use powdered pigments. Powdered pigments are most effective in Lime Wash and artistic applications. Here are the most important things you should know about these pigments:

  1. Not all powder pigments will work in plaster. Some pigments are insoluble in water.
  2. When adding pigments to plaster, always, always – dissolve pigments into water first and fully – making a paste or thick slurry. Otherwise, you’ll get dry particles that leave harsh streaks of color on the wall.
  3. Like Universal tints, powdered pigmented plaster will dry much lighter than it looks when wet.
  4. A few pigments are coarser than others, making them difficult to use in Veneziano plaster, where they can leave scratches. Some of these pigments must be strained thoroughly before use.

As always, contact us at info@vasariplaster.com or phone 805.667.8454 with any questions.

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