Learn how to make large paint color swatches for testing interior wall colors with these step-by-step instructions.
When you need to choose the right paint color for your room, the most effective way is to see several colors on oversized paint swatches. For a complete story, see: "Why you need large paint color chips".
several sample boards (they can be foam, plastic or heavy-weight paper)
a brush or a small roller with a tray
samplers of the colors you want to test (you can buy tiny jars of paint colors in any paint store)
blue painter's tape
Protect the area where you will be painting with old newspapers or dropclothes.
Use blue painter's tape to mask off the edges of the sample boards. Leave about 0.5" of white space on all sides - this white space will help prevent your existing wall paint color from influencing the color on the sample.
When using dark, deep colors like red or navy, apply 1 coat of gray or tinted primer first. See the paint manufacturer's recommendations for what kind of primer to use in your case (you can usually find this info on the back of paint color chips). Without this step, you may not get the true color - your sample may come out lighter than the actual color you are testing.
Apply the first coat of paint with a brush or a roller.
Wait at least 30 minutes for the paint to dry
(wrap your painting tools in plastic to prevent them from drying out).
Apply the second coat of paint. If needed, do the third coat after the second one is dry.
Carefully remove the blue tape when the paint is dry to the touch and write the name of the color on the board (write in pensil, so you can re-use the boards again some day).
Allow the paint to cure for 24 hours before using the paint color swatches for comparing and choosing paint colors.
Tip: Paint sheen levels can alter the appearance of colors - for example, glossy finish can make light colors look lighter and dark colors even darker. So if you final wall color will be in a flat finish, make sure your paint samplers don't have any sheen either.
Follow the instructions above to create paint color swatches in every hue you are considering for the room.
All finished? Great! You are now one step away from finding that perfect shade! Continue to "How to Use Color Paint Chips".