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PPG Tech Tips

John Hristias – PPG Business Support Manager Asia/Pacific

Secrets to the perfect custom colour

When formulating a custom colour, the aim is to create something clean, rich and attention grabbing. However, many painters forget to try different technologies. New pigment technologies are constantly arriving so there’s no reason to stick with conventional tinters / pigments.


To add ‘sparkle’ to a custom formulation, the automatic choice is often a traditional silver aluminium. Although they can add some richness on the ‘face’, these pigments can also make the colour dirty on the angle and actually lose sparkle. What you want is for the colour to look clean on the face, as well as clean through the angle while also maintaining sparkle as light travels across it. Try some of the new pigment technologies and this is well and truly possible.

Tips and recommendations

Experiment – Rather than silver aluminium, I recommend trying either a coloured aluminium tinter or coloured glass flake technology, such as CRYSTALLANCE™ glass flake custom colours from PPG’s VIBRANCE COLLECTION® custom paint finishes. Both look really appealing and give a really clean look no matter what the angle. However, it’s glass flake technology which people seem unaware of even though it’s perfect for custom finishes – the particles are very fine, compact and extremely clean compared to traditional metallic and you get a brilliant sparkle, as well as excellent coverage over primer layers.

More experimenting – PPG RADIANCE® II Candy colours are perfect for deepening a colour. For example, rather than a red tinter, try a red Candy – it almost wraps around the existing colour to make it brighter and richer. PRLX Crystal Pearls also add an amazing touch and are available in nine colours. Another option is PPG’s new VM4350 Vivid Ruby Tinter – it features PPG’s cutting-edge ANDARO® tint dispersion technology which creates deep, pure and more chromatic colours than is possible with traditional pigments.

Make space – When using several different technologies / tinters (PRLX Crystal Pearls, glass flake, coloured aluminium, etc) in the same formula, consider adding a binder, such as PPG’s D895 Colour Blender (typically, about 15%). It spreads the particles out, giving them space and preventing them clumping, as well as helping the colour lay down smoothly and evenly.

Matting base – This product helps make particles within the formulation ‘stand up’ which produces an even cleaner finish on the angle. Note: Add no more than 10% in any formulation.

Colour checking – Rather than a one-dimensional spray-out card, you’ll need a curvy shaped alternative to really highlight the colour. Buy a moulded ‘frog’ or a speed shape or shape metal or plastic yourself.

Write it down – It sounds really logical but remember to record each step as you go. Once you’ve mixed the perfect colour you want to be able to duplicate it. Add it to ‘custom formulations’ in PAINTMANAGER®.

Note: PPG’s Vibrance Collection® custom colours range includes Crystallance glass flake, Ditzler® Big Flake™, PRLX Crystal Pearls, Radiance™ II Candy, Flamboyance flake, VM4350 Vivid Ruby Tinter, and all work seamlessly with either the ENVIROBASE® High Performance waterborne basecoat system or the GLOBAL REFINISH SYSTEM® BC basecoat system.