Making —Magenta watercolour paint

Ingredients

Tools

Current procedure — last updated 20. August 2022

  1. Mix the watercolour paste
    1. Wear a mask. Go outdoors - this can be very messy.
      Pour the medium into the stainless steel container first.
    2. Then pour in the powdered pigment.
      Use a hand whisk to spin the pigment into a nasty paste. This will result in a lower quality mix, but it will be much less messy and much faster.
      Not using the whisk first takes hours and will spread a fine layer of pigment throughout your workshop.
    3. Start dispersing, using a dispersion disc in a drill press.
    4. Cover the bowl while dispersing to limit the dust.
  2. Mill the paste
    1. Set the fast rollers to 6 mil, and the slow rollers to 6 mil.
    2. Prepare two large bowls for use. Find a stand to raise up the bowls to catch the paint to reduce splashing.
    3. Use a nail brush and water to clean the rollers at the end of the first runs.
    4. Put through the mill for 16 runs.
    5. Test for grind at the end of each second run.
  3. Package into pans
    1. Put into a Kewpie mayonnaise bottle with a funnel
    2. Line the bottom of 2 cookie sheets with newspaper
    3. Arrange the 350ish empty 2ml half-pans into rows
    4. Fill the pans to the top using a pipette set to 2.2ml
    5. Allow to dry, and then top off
    6. Allow to dry, and then package into wax paper bags

Drapak’s manufacturing notes

20. July 2022 — 3 cups total using 1:2 from Kama Dispersion
Pr122 dispersed magenta pigment: 250ml = $81.13
Watercolour medium 2 cups × $11.86/4 cups = $5.93
Number of pans filled 300 pans × $0.08/pan Cost of pans = $24.00
Total for materials = $111.06 Material cost/pan = $0.370
Time to mix 15 minutes
Time for pre-dispersion 0 minutes
Time to mill 105 minutes
Time to dispense 40 minutes
Total time 160 minutes
Final grind size 10-15µm
Time spent per pan 0.53 minutes × labour rate $0.445/min= $0.237
Total cost/pan = $0.607

I found a 250ml bottle of Kama Pigments magenta magenta Aqua Dispersion. I mixed it into 500ml of watercolour medium with a whisk.

The milling was pretty good. There was a small amount that made it through the rollers, but otherwise the settings seemed good. It could be worth seeing if the rollers could be a little tighter.

I made 8 runs through the mill.

After the fourth run, I tested the grind and found that it was already excellent.

Clean up was great, and dispensing went quickly. I used a pipette set to 2.2ml and the dispensing went fast!

As a postscript, as the mix dried in the pans, the amount magenta was less than expected. I recommend using a 1:1 mix of medium to pigment dispersion if I mix this from the dispersions in the future.

16. March 2022 — 3 cups total using 1:2 from Kama Dispersion

750mL of Magenta Pr122 ($6.06 of medium + $80.13 of dispersion) = $86.19/368 pans = $0.234 per pan

Well, this is embarrassing to admit, but I have been milling a different pigment than I normally use. I bought the magenta pigment recommended by handprint.org, Quinacridone Violet (PV19), instead of Quinacridone Magenta (PR122). I have been losing sleep and going crazy trying to get magenta out of violet! This was actually a relief, since I was quite upset to be unable to get magenta, and I was worried that the problem was my competence. I am still concerned that the pigment is somewhat granular, but further experiments will help with this. I started to dispense the violet into pans: it was so smooth and creamy in comparison to the pre-made dispersions I bought.

Speaking of which, I did find an older bottle of Kama magenta dispersion to use for next semester. I made a batch of medium to mix it with, and then poured it into pans. The magenta was a little bit lumpy compared to the creaminess of the violet I made, but it is simply a better colour. What a learning experience!

Note: this batch had to be made in a hurry and was not milled.