Sunday, 29 May 2016

Reviving and Repotting

I have lots of citadel paints from various generations. I even have some of their tall flip top pots from one of their first lines! I went to buy some more boxes to store my growing collection of paints in when it occured to me that some were old and probably, sadly, dead. I also decided that I hated the type of pots citadel paints come in - both for storage purposes and the fact they seem designed to dry paints out faster. Poor seals and large surface area on the paint inside is rubbish, and the new line of paints all separate quickly.

I bought a set of 17ml dropper bottles and tiny ball bearings to go in them. A number of beloved paints had to go in the bin; scaly green, hawk turquoise, boltgun metal. Luckily, more of them just needed a bit of TLC (aka some diluted matt medium and a vigorous stir) to revive them for pouring into dropper bottles and using once again. Envy me, for I have tentacle pink within my grasp!

I chose dropped bottles for two reasons. To make it easier to right down, copy and keep track of paint mix recipes, and because I've had much better luck with the shelf life of any paint that came in a dropper bottle. Oh, and topping up an airbrush is easier with a dropper - you dont need to pick up and dirty a brush.

And they take up far less space in my paint storage boxes than the original pots do. I can stack them four to a compartment whereas before I could only fit three in.

Here's how I did it - hopefully you'll try it to because I found it really helpful and much easier than I thought it would be!

What you need:

Paints in terrible flip top pots
Stirring sticks
Dropper bottles (Bottle, dropper insert, lid)
Painting medium (Mine is a 50% matt medium, 10% flow, 40 distilled water mix)
Label maker you bought 8 years ago from costco on a whim and are delighted to finally use

 Step One:

Check the state of your paint. If its a solid lump that you can't penetrate with your stirring stick, dig an incredibly small grave and build a scale coffin for it. If its chunky or grainy there is still hope.

This paint was separated and a little drier than it started but otherwise was in good condition. Pull the lid off. I do this with my teeth and it goes about as well as you can expect. My mouth tastes weird.

Step Two:

Stick your advanced stirring apparatus in there and mix the hell out of it. If your paint was drier or chunkier this will take longer. Add small amounts of your paint medium to bring it back up to scratch. It's better to add small amounts at a time and top up as you stir than to add a huge splurge in one go.

Before and after a good stir
Step Three:

Scrape the paint off the stick into the bottle then pour the contents from your paint pot into your new one. If it's a little think or chunky add some paint medium and whisk it up a bit again.

If too much pours in and the top gets blocked just tap the bottom on the table and the paint will fall through.

 Sometimes I pinch the bottle when I see a big splodge is going to fall in and block it off - when you release the pinch it sucks the paint in quickly.

Step Four:

Now the super fun step. Scrape as much paint as you can out of the pot and into the dropper bottle. Don't try and get all of it because it's not physically possible.

You can mix in some paint medium to dilute what's stuck to the sides but I try to do this as little as possible. I want to control how much I dilute my paint when I use it, not be constricted by how thin it is in the bottle.

This pic shows the point at which I generally stop. It amounts to a few drops of paint, even though it looks more.

Step Five:

Assemble your bottle! Throw in agitators if you want to, attach the dropper, screw on the lid and then use that label maker you never thought you'd find a purpose for!

To remix paints I started off using a paint brush but this was too time consuming - I had to keep cleaning it and lost a lot of paint on the actual handle of the brush that I then couldnt scoop off very well into the bottles. Switching to lolly pop sticks that I have lying around for scenery building was much better.

Chose ones that can fit inside the width of your dropped bottle and scrapping any excess paint off from the manic stirring becomes far easier. I'm never going to get every drop of paint across but the tiny bit of waste is worth the easier usage and not risking them drying up into hard coloured rocks like so many of my citadel paints have done.

I do a couple at a time when I take a break from other stuff. I have a LOT of these paints and I'm still getting them done quickly.

Word of warning: do a test pot first. I was very paranoid that my bottles wouldnt fit together quite right and they'd leak. I did one and left it lying on its side for a while just to make sure it wasnt going to pour out of a badly fitting lid. All of them have turned out perfectly but better safe than sorry!

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