Coloring Water-Based Lacquer

Paint stores can add pigment to a water-based lacquer, but the results may vary. This thread from the Finishing Forum supplies a few tips. October 19, 2005

Can a local Home Center add color to an opaque white waterborne lacquer with their computerized coloring system as is done with their water-based paints?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
The tints will work, but unless the WB lacquer is in their database, it is not likely the computer program will be able to do it. The difference is in amount of white in the base. It will likely have to be matched by eye, if a match is what you want.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor :
I had some white water-base spray lacquer tinted by the paint store with success, but they didn't want to do it and I had to talk them into it. The color was slightly different than the same color I had mixed in their acrylic enamel. Interestingly, the WB lacquer was actually closer to the color chip than their paint was.

Some pigments are not compatible with the WB products you get from a finishing supplier and can cause problems. I didn't have that happen, but the WB manufacturer warned me about it.

I'd recommend you check with the manufacturer of your finish to see if they have any recommendations on the subject.

From contributor B:

Can you get it already colored from the maker? Some companies have a line of WB lacquer available in as many colors as paint. The one we use works great.

From contributor C:
Normally, either the artist water colorants, or the acrylic colorants will work in either water base or the latex coatings. I have been doing this for years.

All colorants are not the same colors in every paint stores. Also, there are different color strengths in colorants, and they will not produce a good color match.

With all the new coatings and colorants on the market today, you must do a test yourself, or better yet, ask the manufacturer.

From the original questioner:
To contributor B: What supplier do you use for colored lacquer?

From contributor B:
M.L. Campbell

From contributor E:
Fuhr's opaque base is the same as the paint line at Walmart. I got that information from the manufacturer. Walmart's paint chips have the recipe for the amount of colorants on the back of their chips. You can walk out with one of all of their chips and have your own library. Cross reference it (by eye) to your Ben Moore, Ralph Lauren etc. color and mix your color in-house with a $200 dispenser available on ebay.