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How do you pour your paints and thinners?

17 replies
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  • Member since
    October 2020
How do you pour your paints and thinners?
Posted by rcguy on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:39 AM

Being new to airbrushing I seem to be struggling with the right proceedure when trying to mix the paint and thinner.

I'm using Tamiya acrylics with Tamiya thinner about 50/50 not that any of that matters it's more of the measuring and pouring part that creates a mess with every attempt.

I have been using a few small 3/4 oz jars to pour the paint then the thinner and mix it up but the way the paint and thinner containers are designed the pouring process paint and thinner is always dripping down the sides of the jars and containers and on to the table.

And even when filling the cup on my gravity feed airbrush I get paint running down the outside of the cup no matter how careful I am.

What can a person use to the make the process less messy and stop wasting paint and thinner.


  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:45 AM

I use the clear plastic pipettes, available from any hobby source.  No muss, no fuss.  Squeeze the bulb and suck up the desired amount of paint.

They can be reused many times if you clean them after use,  also cheap enough you can just throw them away

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  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by bluenote on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:55 AM

I use pipettes as well.  I exclusively use tamiya acrylics with my gravity airbrush.  I put in the thinner first in the airbrush cup and then the paint using pipettes.  Then stir, and cover the tip with a paper towel and backflush a bit, to throughly mix.

I literally count the drops to make the perfect ratio.  I do 2:1, so for example I count 40 drops of thinner then 80 drops of paint.  A bit tedious, but it works perfectly every time.  I don't like eyeballing it as others recommend (to the constancy of milk).  That is too inexact for me and sometimes just doesn't work well.  

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 11:59 AM

Especially with Tamiya and Model Master acrylics the pipettes already mentioned are great and you can get more exact ratios too. As mentioned the Tamiya jars are hard to pour from. With the MM any residue of paint left when you close up the bottle will have the cap cemented in place. The pipettes eliminate all this.

By the way, get those Tamiya bottles closed up quickly, the alcohol evaporates fairly fast out of those paints if you leave that wide mouthed jar open and start spraying.

  • Member since
    October 2020
Posted by rcguy on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 12:16 PM

Thanks guys never thought of using pipettes for paint I do use the really narrows ones for getting in tights spaces with thin cyanoacrylate glue when building RC airplanes.


  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 12:28 PM

I just get a pack of 100 straws and cut them in half as I need them.  They make great, cheap pipettes.  Just dip the straw, plug the top with your figertip, and transfer the paint.  For thinner, that needs to be more precise, so I have a 3CC glass syringe for that.  I also use little Dixie cups to mix paint and thinner in to get a really thorough mix.  Those work for everything except the ammonia-based MM Acryl paints...ammonia removes the wax almost instantly from the paper in the cup.  

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 12:45 PM

I just pour it from the bottle. If you are careful you can keep it from running down the side.  As soon as  you turn it right side up, wipe the top and threads with a paper towel.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 1:34 PM

I pour paint from the bottle, pouring it down a cocktail stick/toothpick stops it running down the side of the bottle.  I use a pipette for thinners, and decant both into a small plastic cup for mixing.  Add a small amount of thinners to start with, keep mixing & adding more until I like the look of it.

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  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 2:02 PM

Pipette.  I count drops.  very easy and no mess.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 2:39 PM

Eye/ear droppers from the drug store. They clean up faster the pipettes and last a long time. Here in California we can't buy them at the drug store anymore, so I get them online in "bulk".

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Wingman_kz on Thursday, November 19, 2020 9:52 AM

I used straws for years but these days they're so thin and flimsy I had a hard time not dumping the contents between bottles.  Lol. I found some reusable stainless steel straws at Walmart that come with replaceable silicon rubber mouthpieces and cut them to length with a tubing cutter. They work great and will last forever but, you have to clean them. 

So I switched to pipettes. Very inexpensive in bulk on Amazon. I don't attempt to clean them but will reuse them in the same paint while working on a project. They're also very good for stirring. 


  • Member since
    March 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:30 PM

I never pour paint from the bottle, nor do I shake the bottles for mixing. I use measured pipettes or glass droppers for transferring, I like the glass droppers because they can be cleaned thoroughly after use.

I use the metal Tamiya stirring paddle, to ensure all of the paint solids are scraped off the jar bottom. Then the little electric Badger mixer to completely blend all of the ingredients.

The paints can last for very long periods, when the bottle top rims and threads are kept perfectly clean, dried residue damages the ability for the bottle to maintain an effective seal against air.

The measured pipettes permit accurate amounts of paint/thinner ratios. It does take an extra few minutes to use these steps, but the paint consistency is rather important for me, I like having predictable results when laying on the finish.   

  • Member since
    October 2020
Posted by rcguy on Saturday, November 21, 2020 1:06 PM

Got my plastic pipettes on the way.

I was thinking about the glass ones but I didn't want the extra cleanup and with the cheap cost of 200 plastic ones tossing after use is not a big deal.

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Cave City, KY
Posted by Watchmann on Saturday, November 21, 2020 1:34 PM
To pour paints, I use the stick trick too.
I bought glass droppers from the craft store, since disposable pipettes are a waste.
  • Member since
    December 2020
  • From: Billings, Montana
Posted by Phil S on Friday, December 4, 2020 1:16 PM

I go to Hobby Lobby and buy peippets in the art section. Look in the area of the oil paints and brushes, or I guess order on line.

Using these lets you pull as much or little as needed. I have a jar of lacquer thinner I flush the peippets and clear then for reuse.

Works great, no mess or wasted material.



  • Member since
    November 2012
Posted by Blaine on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 6:31 PM
Thanks everyone for your responses, I'm new and was having the same issue with mixing for my airbrush.

Life is not about getting out of the storm, but learning to dance in the rain.

Don't tip to through life only to end up at deaths door. 

VS 82, VP40, VP31 

  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: Chapin, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Thursday, December 24, 2020 1:14 PM

If you do not like to count, or not good at it; buy calibrated pipetts.

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  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by two-qts-low on Saturday, December 26, 2020 10:21 AM
I count the drops if I am mixing very small amounts of paint and use the calibration markings when I mix larger amounts of paint.

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