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How to dilute Electric Paint

Lean how to dilute paint

Measuring the electrical potential of paint using a voltmeter

Diluting Electric Paint is a great way to revitalise dried paint or decrease its viscosity so that you can easily paint with it. Electric Paint is composed of conductive particles suspended in a water-based solution. As such, it can be diluted by simply adding water, similar to acrylic paint. There is no need for distilled water and you don’t need a thinner like with oil-based paint. However, adding water to Electric Paint will also decrease the conductivity of the material as it changes the ratio of conductive particles to water. In this tutorial we’ll explain how to dilute paint and the implications of it.

Step 1 Add water

To either revive dry paint or decrease its viscosity, simply add water to it. We recommend to do this in steps, adding bit by bit of water to the paint. Stir the water and paint continuously adding water until you’re happy with the consistency of the paint.

Step 2 Change in resistivity

Electric Paint is a water-based paint and has a resistivity of 55Ω per square at 50 microns. If you paint a short line with a brush and undiluted Electric Paint, it corresponds to about 85Ω. Adding water to the paint increases the resistivity of the paint. For example, having a mixture of 2 parts Electric Paint and 1 part water has a resistivity of 140Ω. This is because the more water you add, the more the conductive pigments become dispersed in the solution, and therefore the less contact they’re making with each other.

Step 3 Diluting and sensors

Diluting Electric Paint is great when you need to paint a larger surface with paint. If you are using Electric Paint to create sensors, the resistivity isn’t that much of importance compared to building a circuit with Electric Paint. If you want to paint larger sensors for capacitive sensing with either the Touch Board or Pi Cap, we’d recommend diluting Electric Paint. Dilute it bit by bit until you are happy with the viscosity of the paint, a good ratio is half Electric Paint and half water. If you want to create stencils with Electric Paint, have a look at the how to stencil with Electric Paint tutorial.

Step 4 Layer diluted paint

If you have painted a sensor with diluted paint and you are not happy with the performance of it, you have two options. You can either change the sensitivity of the sensors or increase the conductivity of the painted sensor. To do so, simply add another layer of diluted paint.

Glass of water, electric paint and paint brush

Step 5 Next steps

You can dilute the paint either to revitalise dried paint or apply it more easily. Doing so however decreases its conductivity, which might affect the paint’s performance. Once you have applied the paint and you are happy with the result, you can seal it or apply a different colour over it.

We’d love to see your creations, so feel free to share your work with us either at info@bareconductive, or on Instagram or Twitter. Also, get in touch if you have any issues.

measuring the electrical potential of paint using a voltmeter

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