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Touch Up Painting – How To Match Wall Color Without Original Paint

Finding the correct touch up paint for your walls can be difficult, especially when the original paint can is missing. This guide will walk you through the easiest methods to match your existing wall color and ensure a perfect touch up, even without the original paint can.

How To Match Wall Color Without Original Paint

Paint Matching

Paint matching is a process that involves identifying the exact color and sheen of your existing wall paint to ensure the new paint blends in without noticeable differences. With advancements in technology and the expertise of paint specialists, achieving a precise match is easier than ever.

1. Getting a Paint Sample

Getting the perfect paint match for your walls involves taking a small sample of your wall’s paint to your local paint store. Here’s the easiest way to do this, ensuring you do not cause any damage to your wall:

  • Choose the Right Spot: Look for an area that’s not usually seen. This could be behind a piece of furniture or beneath a hanging picture. Picking a hidden spot means any minor damage won’t be noticeable.
  • Prep the Area: Before you start, clean the chosen spot with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt, then dry it thoroughly. A clean surface ensures you get a pure paint sample, free of any grime that could affect the color match.
  • Scoring the Paint: With a sharp utility knife, lightly score a small square (about 1-inch by 1-inch) into the paint. This means you gently cut into the surface, not too deep, just enough to outline your sample area.
  • Peeling the Sample: Carefully insert the tip of the knife under the edge of the scored square. Gently wiggle it to lift and peel the paint away. The aim is to get a clean piece of paint without taking bits of the wall or creating a mess.
  • Safeguarding Your Sample: Once you have your paint chip, place it inside an envelope or a small plastic bag. This keeps the sample protected and in good condition until you get it to the paint store for matching.

Extra Tip for Tough Paint: If the paint proves hard to score and peel, a heat gun or a hair dryer might simplify the process. Aim the heat gun or hair dryer at the scored square for a few moments to soften the paint. Be careful not to overheat the area. Softened paint peels off more easily, making it simpler to get a clean sample. Always use the heat tool on a low setting to avoid damaging the paint or wall.

How to get a paint color sample

2. No Cutting Paint Sample

An easier and less invasive method to obtain a paint sample without cutting into the wall involves using clear adhesive tape. This method is especially useful if the paint is relatively thick and has built up over several layers. Here’s how to do it:

  • Select Clear Adhesive Tape: Choose a piece of clear, strong adhesive tape, such as packing tape or a thick Scotch tape. The tape should be wide enough to cover at least a 1-inch by 1-inch area.
  • Prepare the Area: Clean the area on the wall where you plan to take the sample with a damp cloth to ensure the tape sticks properly and to remove any dust or dirt. Allow it to dry completely.
  • Apply the Tape: Firmly apply a piece of the tape over the area of the paint you wish to sample. Make sure the tape adheres well to the surface by smoothing it out with your finger or a flat tool, ensuring there are no air bubbles.
  • Peel Off the Tape: Carefully peel off the tape from the wall at a steady, even pace. The goal is for layers of paint to stick to the tape, creating a sample you can bring to the paint store.
  • Protect the Sample: Attach the tape to a piece of white paper or cardboard, making sure the paint side is up. This helps protect the paint sample and makes it easier for the paint store to analyze the color.

This method might not always be effective, especially with newer more durable paint types or if the paint is very thin. In these cases, the paint might not adhere well to the tape. However, it’s a non-destructive way to attempt to get a color sample without damaging your walls.

3. Digital Paint Matching Apps

If you can’t get a physical paint sample, you can use paint matching apps. These apps take a picture of your wall and suggest similar paint colors. But, lighting and camera quality might change the accuracy, so it’s best to check the match at a store afterwards.

4. Use Color Swatches

Visiting a paint store and comparing your wall color to available swatches is another method. Though less precise, it’s a useful approach for minor touch-ups or when dealing with common paint colors.

5. Photo Matching

Taking a clear, well-lit photo of your wall and providing a detailed description of the color can also help paint specialists find a close match. This method combines technology and human expertise for those unable to provide a physical sample.

Preparing for Paint Matching

Preparation is key to ensuring a successful paint match. Here are some tips to enhance the accuracy of the process:

  • Lighting Matters: If using photos or apps, capture your wall color in natural light to avoid color distortion.
  • Note the Sheen: Paint sheen affects appearance. Knowing whether your paint is matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss can help in finding the exact match.
  • Consider Wall Condition: Paint color can change over time due to sunlight exposure and wear. Matching to a faded or dirty area may require adjustments for a true match.

Tips for Touch Up Paint

Even with a perfectly matched paint, applying touch-up paint requires careful execution for the best results:

  • Prime Small Areas: If you’ve had to patch the wall before painting, apply a primer to ensure an even finish.
  • Feather the Edges: When applying touch-up paint, feather out the edges to blend the new paint with the old.
  • Be Patient with Drying: Paint often dries darker. Wait for the paint to dry completely before deciding if a second coat is necessary.

Repainting wall after getting paint sample

While losing the original paint can might seem like a setback, modern solutions make it easier than ever to find a matching touch-up paint for your walls. Whether through a physical sample, digital apps, color swatches, or descriptive matching, you can achieve a seamless repair that keeps your walls looking great.

If you need any other help which details removing paint from a wall to match for touch up, please leave a comment below with a detailed description and we will help you get things looking their best.

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