Originally Posted by diyonthefly
your making me think creatively. can you imagine a paint that is almost completely transulent, like just translucent plexiglass binder with added material that creates a glass effect with spotted elements scattered about. like looking at water on the wall with little fragments. sorry if i'm getting carried away. understand, master, create. i know i have a long way to go, but i can dream...i think you have inspired me.
You can buy transluscent paint now.
Most paint companies no longer provide coloured tint bases. Years ago, if you wanted a burgundy paint, they would take a red tint base and tint it black (or darker anyhow). Typically, paint companies only provided tint bases in yellow, red and sometimes brown. Nowadays, because they can now add more colourant without screwing up the film formation process, paint companies only provide white, pastel, medium, and deep or "accent" tint bases. If you want a burgundy paint now, they take a deep or accent tint base and pour lots and lots and lots of red and some black colourant into it to make it dry to a burgundy colour. If they didn't add those colorants, then the paint would have no colour.
That doesn't mean the paint would dry clear. Any extender pigments in the paint, even clear extender pigments like pulverized silica sand, would reflect and refract light within the paint film to give it some opacity and make it transluscent. The more extender pigment in the paint film, the flatter the gloss and the more opaque it will dry. So, you can buy a colourless transluscent paint now. Just as for a dead flat black paint, but tell them not to put any black colourant into it. The result will be a flat transluscent paint with no colour.
You could probably add glitter to that paint before shaking it, but I don't know how well that would work. You may end up with clumps of glitter in your paint.
That's cuz the size of the colour pigments in house paints is a lot smaller than you're imagining. A "micron" is a million'th of a meter, or a thousandth of a millimeter.
A typical human hair is 100 microns in diameter.
The smallest thing visible by the naked eye is about 20 microns in diameter.
The coarsest extender pigments used in primers is about 10 to 20 microns in diameter.
A red blood corpuscle is about 5 microns in diameter.
The coarsest inorganic pigments like yellow oxide, red oxide and brown oxide are typically around 1 to 2 microns in diameter.
Organic pigments, like red, blue and green are typically between 1/10 and 1/100 microns in diameter.
The smallest pigment used in paint is black, and is typically about 1/100th of a micron in diameter.
So, you'd have to add stuff that was large enough to see to get the "glitter paint" effect you're thinking of. If you used normal paint pigments then, for example, as you added more and more red colourant, you'd start with a transluscent slighly reddish paint which would have increased colour density as you added more red pigment until it finally became red paint. I think it would look pinkish, but pink is a mixture of red and white, and you wouldn't have any white pigments in your paint. Against a white background, your paint would go from a light shade of pink to a red colour. Against a blue background, it would start off looking blue, then purple, and then red.
Most people aren't even aware that the colours in paint come from tiny coloured particles suspended in the colourants added in the paint tinting machine. That's cuz the subject of paint isn't taught anywhere, so it's very much a "blind leading the blind" situation out there.
Here, if you want to learn more about latex paints:
1. go to Painting information and resources for home interiors and exteriors - Paint Quality Institute
2. click on the "Media Center" link near the top
3. Click on "Publications", then "Continuing Education" then "Continuing Education Supplements"
4. Download and read the two PDF files entitled:
"The Ingredients of Paint and their Impact on Paint Properties" and
"How Colour is Affected by the Ingredients of Paint"
If you read through those two brochures, and ask about anything you don't understand, you'll know more about latex paints than most people working in paint stores, and everyone wearing an orange apron.