Friday, August 29, 2008

How to Measuring Paint by the Drops Without the Mess

I like to measure paints by the drop when mixing colors. In concept this method is easy, accurate, and simple. The biggest issue is cleaning the paint from my eye droppers after each use. I had to pop the top off of the eye dropper and run water through it until all of the paint was gone. It was slow and painful doing this every time I wanted to mix colors, and with only two eye droppers, it was even worse if I was mixing more than two colors. I knew there had to be a simple and cheap solution to my problem; I just needed to keep looking until I found it.

I was sure I had the solution when I was buying a cup of coffee. What do drinking coffee and measuring paint have in common? The lowly coffee stirring straw, you know the little plastic straws you use to stir creamer and/or sugar into your drink. I thought when I saw them I would simply stick them into my paint jar, put my thumb over the top to keep the suction, and then release the pressure to dispense drops of paint. It didn't work, the paint was too thick to come out. It just sat there in the coffee stirrer laughing at me.

No way was I going to let that haughty paint laugh at me and get away with it. I was sure that a by blowing gently into the straw I would be able to get the paint to drip out. The paint did come out, but I was not able to get fine enough control to get it to come out drop by drop. It was an all or nothing sort of thing. So again my lowly coffee stirrer, although it seemed so promising, was a failure. I was about to give up when I laid one of the paint stirrers next to my eye dropper. Looking at them together I got a new idea.

The coffee stirrers looked just the right size to make a disposable extension to my eye dropper. The only way to know for sure was to slide one onto my eye dropper and see if it would fit. I slid one over the end of my eye dropper, and I'll be darned if it didn't seem like the perfect size to make an extension to my eye dropper.

It fit and it looked good, but could it suck up paint, hold the suction, and lastly, let me dispense it by drop? I took my new found eye dropper extension, and to my surprise, it worked!!! Now I can switch paint colors to my hearts content by simply swapping out the paint stirrer on the end of my eye dropper. Cleanup is super simple. I just drop them into my the jar where I clean my paint brushes and rinse them out in the sink at the end of the night, or I simply chuck the whole thing in the trash and put on a new one.

I now have a solution to my problem of measuring paint by the drop, and bonus points, it is free. Whenever I buy a cup of coffee I just pick up a couple of stirrers, and I am ready for my next paint session. Now if I can just find some time to put my new found paint tool to use.

Thanks for reading.