History of Metallic Paint
Interior Design is really a fashion industry and like in fashion, today’s design world is seeing a lot more bling in its closet. The last 15 years has shown an undeniable increase in the popularity of metallic paint.
But the ability to actually use the paint safely and count on it to retain its luster over time is another story altogether. The strength of modern metallic paint can be directly attributed to a technical breakthrough in the paint’s chemistry. This chemical innovation has given way to the user friendly, less toxic and colorful assortment of shimmery paint that we use and love today.
Arteriors’ custom designed shimmering pearlescent paint finish with “brushed aluminum” painted wood work
Amiel Mesner, Co-Owner of Arteriors reflects, “In the past, metallic paint of was actually formulated with metal. The main ingredient of gold paint was copper while silver was actually composed of aluminum particles.” The weight of the problem with this formula lies in just that: the weight of the paint! The metal ingredients in the paint were not stable within an emulsion such as acrylic. The two would separate and the metal would sink.
Amiel recalls, “Paint chemists recognized this problem and found that the solution to the solution was to use stronger emulsions such as xylene that would counter the weight of the metals.” Though this was a sufficient resolution for the separation problem, xylene is an extremely toxic material that presents a great respiratory risk to both the painter and the environment left behind.
Arteriors’ custom designed non-toxic “raw silk” metallic paint finish
In addition to this toxic threat, the given property of the metals when exposed to air posed yet another problem with the paint. Such as how copper will turn brown or green once it oxidizes... though shiny when first applied, most of these paints would loose their luster over time.
Returning to the mixing table, chemists turned to the abundant and malleable stone mica as a metal replacement. Mr. Mesner explains, “Mica just so happened to be a very lightweight mineral that loved to swim in acrylic emulsion, was non-toxic, and had the ability to impersonate a wide variety of colors from pearl to dark stainless steel and anything in between.”
Thus modern metallic paint was born and aren’t we a shinier world for it!
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