Can You Mix Matt And Silk Paint Together?

When you first start to paint your home, there are a lot of questions. It may seem like a simple process, but painting is an expensive and time-consuming thing to do. And worst of all, if it’s done improperly or poorly, you just have to do it all over again. If you’re wondering if you can mix matt and silk paint together, that’s a bit of a complicated question. Emulsion paints can be mixed, but the types you mix will affect the final finish.

Can you mix matt and silk paint together? Yes, but you will always end up with a matt finish. Painting one over the other can also lead to cracking if done improperly.

There’s quite a bit to break down today, so let’s hop right into it, shall we?

Mixing Emulsion Paints

You’re here because you likely have a painting project up ahead, and you have several cans of unused emulsion paint. You’re likely wondering if you can just mix the paints to get the colour or finish that you want, and that’s… a complicated question.

Yes, you can mix different emulsion paints, but the question is how well it will turn out. Most types will mix just fine – with the exception of matt and silk paints. You’ll just end up with a matt-finish paint with none of the signature glossiness of silk paints.

So what should you know about mixing emulsion paints?

  • Mix in an empty paint pot, and mix by shaking. Using a stick to mix multiple paints can result in a shoddy mixing job and colour changes part way through.
  • Record volumes of paint and do your best to get an equal amount of each paint.
  • Never use or mix separated paint or paints that are older than two years. Emulsion paint can go bad and has a use-by date, which you should pay attention to.
    • If the paint smells different or has a solid layer or “skin” over the top, it’s bad.
  • Clean your paint pot before mixing. Dried bits of paint will remain hard and paint on, giving the surface you’re painting a shoddy appearance.
  • Do not mix water and oil-based paints. Pick a base and stick to it, or you risk separated and useless paint when mixed.

Painting Matt Over Silk Paint

Painting over vinyl silk paint with matt paint is a bad idea. The waterproof, glossy effect of silk paints result in a layer that matt paint can’t stick to. This results in a gross, cracked finish that you will end up repainting. If you’re painting over a silk emulsion paint, though, things are slightly different. With the proper preparation, you can easily paint matt over silk without an issue.

The Process

Now depending on who you ask, they’ll give you one of three answers on how to do this. Some will say to sand your surface thoroughly, others will say to prime it, while I lay in the third party – do both.

  1. Begin by prepping your painting surface. Tape off whatever you don’t want painted, and lay down newspaper or plastic sheeting to protect your home from rogue paint drips.
  2. Sand your painting surface thoroughly. Use fine-grit sandpaper and get each and every centimeter of surface. Any single bit you miss will have a cracked finish when you’re done.
  3. Apply a thin layer of primer over your painting surface. Ask around at your local paint or hardware shop if you’re unsure what type to use here.
    1. Allow your primer to fully dry. This often takes at least three hours, and it vital to ensure a smooth, nice finish.
  4. Once the primer is dry, apply your first layer of paint. Do this in sections, applying a very thin coat. It is always better to have numerous thin coats of paint than it is to have two or three thick coats.
    1. I know it’s annoying and time-consuming, but you will thank me when all is said and done and your home looks spectacular.
  5. Repeat the paint layering process, waiting for each coat to fully dry before continuing. You’ll likely apply five or more layers before you get the finish you want.
    1. If you mixed matt and silk paint, you will almost certainly end up with just a matt finish. Don’t keep applying paint, hoping for a silky finish – you won’t get it.

Tips and Tricks for Mixing and Painting

Some of this will be reiterated earlier in the article – but that’s because it’s important. Now, important tips for painting and mixing matt and silk paints.

  1. Do not mix water and oil-based paints. They will separate and you will be left frustrated.
  2. Test your paint mixture on a discreet surface first. Try throughly mixing a few tablespoons of each paint and applying it (allowing it to dry) to see how it turns out.
  3. Mixing matt and silk paint will always result in a matt finish.
  4. If mixing emulsion paints, do so in a clean tin, and do it by shaking. Mixing with a wood rod (like you might with other paints) is unlikely to fully mix the paints. If you do choose to mix with a rod, it will take at least thirty minutes. Shaking the paint to mix will take roughly five minutes.
  5. Do not mix vinyl silk paint with emulsion matt paint, and don’t paint over one with the other. This can result in the paints separating or cracking when dried – that’s not good.

Final Thoughts

So you came here with a question and have left with… likely more answers than you thought were possible. Can you mix matt and silk paint together? Yes and no – it depends on the types (water vs. oil-based) and the finish you’re looking to achieve. Mixing a matt paint with a silk one will never give you that silky, glossy finish you’re likely hoping for, but it can be done!

Just be sure to sand and prime your painting surface before applying matt (or mixed) paint over silk paint, never paint with emulsion paint over vinyl, and pay attention to your paints. If the paint has expired, separated, or has a “skin” over the top, it’s bad. Throw it out and buy new paint. If you ignore any of these steps, you’ll get a cracked finish, similar to a dried river bed. Nobody wants that.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.