The Cheapest Way to Redecorate . . .



is to paint! I am sure all of you have heard this at one time or another. There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make you fall in love with a room you previously hated.

As I keep painting my furniture, I have become more curious about this product that can so transform our perception of the place where we sleep or the table at which we eat. I read (meaning I skimmed heavily and plucked out the things that most interested me) a couple of books about paint and thought I would share with you some interesting things about paint over a few blog posts.


The books I read were: Paint, the Big Book of Natural Color by Elizabeth Hilliard and Stafford Cliff and The Natural Paint Book by Lynn Edwards and Julia Lawless. During my skimming I learned that while we now go to whatever home store suits our fancy and buy some paint in a gallon can, back in the day, there were guys that mixed the paint and they were called colormen. They had to mix the paint from their own paint recipes.

Then, as now for the most part, paint recipes were made from a mixture of three or four elements: pigment, binder, solvent, extender (or additive – nowadays). In addition, then as now, there were oil-based and water-based paints. The difference being that back in the day, the pigments dictated whether the paint wold be oil or water based. Lead carbonate for oil-based and calcium carbonate for water-based.

About now you are probably thinking that that is all fine and well but what are pigments, binders, additives and the like? These are great questions and I had these same thoughts as well.

So, pigments . . .


are what give paint its color. They come in powder form and can be organic, inorganic, natural and synthetic.


Organic pigments contain carbon.


Inorganic pigments are substances based on other elements, usually mineral (like the lapis lazuli pictured above). They also include metals and silicates.

Natural pigments would be substances produced as a result of the natural processes in nature and finally, synthetic are those produced by man.


Titanium Dioxide is the most widely used white pigment. In 1791, William Gregor, a pastor in the Church of England whose first love was chemistry, discovered titanium.  Little fun fact for y’all – though Gregor discovered it, Martin Heinrich named it titanium after the Titans in Greek Mythology.

Believed to be the world’s 9th most plentiful element, this opaque pigment has revolutionized the performance of paint. Where pigments used to dictate whether a paint was oil-based or water-based, titanium dioxide can be used in any type of paint.

Now that we have a bit of a grasp on pigments, next week I will cover binders.

Have a great weekend everyone!


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