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Making paint with polyurethaneApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe

Question asked 2020-10-08 17:32:35 ... Most recent comment 2020-10-22 18:00:13
Alkyd Acrylic

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I am trying to make paint for art paintings on wood and paper and canvas using polyurethane (water based) Sherwin Williams as the medium/binder.

The support people at SW said nothing should be added to it by way of colorant and not  to thin it with anything, even water, as that would weaken the paint film.; (a legally safe response.)

Since the clean up directions for use said to use warm water immediately and the stuff was ‘water based’  the clerk in the store and I thought thinning with water could be done,  like the use of water in acrylic thinning where its okay if you don’t use too much.

I think I saw on some SW literature that  a wood stain could be added to the polyurethane.

I also see that the polyurethane will yellow over time , and as a matter of fact, it looks yellowish right out of the can.  I think I can live with that.

The main question is;

What are the potential or probable effects of using acrylic paint as a colorant in the polyurethane.

So far I have mixed and used some mixtures like this and also with powdered pigments, but  it has not been long enough to tell much of anything, except that they do dry pretty fast and the mixture seems stable enough over a couple of days if covered on the palette..

Kindly advise if this is a dead end, or a guess as to what bad and good things I should look out for.

Thank you.

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Moderator Answer (brian baade)

[2020-10-08 18:36:46]

I have no experience with what you are proposing, but at least before hearing otherwise from someone with specific knowledge about such a system, I would advise against using it for work meant to be permanent. First, it is experimental and as such we do not know if it will fail, either soon after completion, or perhaps down the road. I am guessing that the do not thin with water is due to it already being thinned to allow for the use of a roller and allow for leveling. Any more thinning could make it insubstantial. The same is true of adding dry pigments. They may be underbound as you are essentially making a leaner paint. I for one have not mixed polyurethane with acrylic dispersion paints and don’t know if they are even compatible. I will shoot your question to those more “in the know” about acrylic dispersions. Additionally, I have used water-borne polyurethane coatings on craft projects, and they do yellow rather strongly.

However, as I wrote, this is out of my area of expertise. Let’s see what others have to say. Finally, what are you hoping for with such a mixture? Is it economy of is there an optical or surface effect? Perhaps if this turns out to be a less than desirable paint, experts in aqueous dispersion paints can point you to a more promising medium/mixture.

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Moderator Answer (mkinsey)

[2020-10-08 18:47:49]

​The worst paint failure I ever saw involved homemade paint made with water-borne, home improvement store polyurethane varnish as the binder and some sort of powdered colorant (not artist's pigment) in a simple mixture. The "paint" flaked completely off the substrate (acrylic-primed cotton duck) and so lacked flexibility and adhesive strength that the slightest touch on the underside provoked a crackling sound.

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Moderator Answer (george o'hanlon)

[2020-10-08 19:47:44]

The answer depends upon the type of polyurethane paint you intend to use. Polyurethane paint can be formulated as two-part solventborne, single pack solventborne (oil modified) and water dispersed paint. Since you referred to thinning the paint with water, I will assume you refer to the latter.

Adding acrylic paint with its own additives, i.e., surfactants, thickeners, and defoamers, often do not play well with the additives in polyurethane paint. Additives are specifically chosen and tested for each type of resin, such as acrylics or polyurethanes. In addition, thinning the paint alters its pigment volume concentration and other properties which adversely affect its application, resulting in undesirable performance. This is why manufacturers warn about altering the paint.

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Moderator Answer (brian baade)

[2020-10-08 20:41:40]

​Thanks Matthew and George.

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Moderator Answer (mirjam hintz)

[2020-10-09 10:28:40]

​When creating experimental mixtures like that, failure in the coating is often apparent directly upon drying, in form of permanently cloudy films, drying defects like crazes and bumps, enhanced film sensitivity to ammonia or solvents, etc. Long-term adhesion might be affected also. It is hard to tell without aged samples. Polyurethanes, whether water or solvent-borne, dry to a stiff, if not brittle, coating and since you intend to use paper and canvas for your substrates, polyurethane wouldn't be suitable in any case. If your aim is to create perfectly smooth, enamel-like paint applications, then an acrylic pouring medium would be a much safer way to go. 

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User Comment

[2020-10-22 18:00:13]

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Mitra

Please excuse the delay in responding to the very helpful answers to my original question - dealing with the damages from Hurricane Delta is taking a lot of my time.

Thanks to Brian Baade,Matthew Kinsey and George O’Hanlon, you have provided a couple more possible strings for my bow in the hunt for the best medium for me.

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