What is paint made of?

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Paint is a pretty interesting substance. It starts out as a liquid and then it dries to color and protect surfaces in the world around us.  It usually dries permanently too, so you can’t reuse paint.

There are three main parts of paint.  The first is the pigment.  Pigment is the color.  It is a solid, even in the wet paint.  The pieces are just so small that they seem to be part of the liquid. Pigments are usually different minerals or other chemicals that are just really colorful. For every color of paint there is a special mix of chemicals that can make it.

The next part of paint called the “vehicle” and it’s a liquid. That might seem like a weird word to use, but the vehicle actually transports the pigment. Pigment goes from the paint can to the object you are painting with the help of the vehicle. Vehicles are made of resins, which are sticky substances that form a film with the colorful pigment. Some common vehicles are oils and acrylics.

Another part of many paints is called the “solvent.” In water-based paints, the solvent is water.  It makes the paint easier to work with because it thins it and makes it easier to apply.

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Watercolors!

    You may have an art kit at home with a tray of watercolor paints.  These paints are pretty cool because they are incomplete until we add a solvent ourselves.  Can you guess what that solvent is? (Hint: it’s in the name)

    Try painting with watercolors.  When you’re done, you’ll have to let your painting dry before you can show people your art.  While it’s drying, what do you think happens to the water?
  • Sources & links

    Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Jul. 2009 “how watercolor paints are made.” 2005. Handprint.com 27 Jul. 2009.
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