Turning Pure White Lacquer Off-White

Use pigment colorants, not dyes. September 16, 2008

I am working with Lenmar brand white lacquer. I need to make it off-white, just a bit. My salesman has told me that mixing a touch of yellow dye will make it off-white, but I have my doubts. Is yellow the proper dye?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
I just finished with a guitar, off white and a bit of aged look. I used little black powder to "off white gray it", (just a pinch into the half filled cup) and even less yellow to add the age. It turned out great but I practiced away a gallon of white lacquer on several samples before I got it right. It takes so very tiny an amt of powder to effect color! Organize yourself, mix weak, spray sample. Clean the gun and then do it again. Pick up a few colors and experiment.

From contributor J:
To make an off-white color in a pigmented lacquer 844 colorants should be used. Use either 1/48 of Yellow oxide or Raw umber 844 colorant to get the desired off white. The dyes are typically used in clear lacquers

From contributor T:
Never use a dye to tint a white base to off white. The dyes are more mobile (re-activated) and can cause annoying color problems and worse - bleed into a clear topcoat if one is applied. To make an off-white you'd use yellow oxide or raw sienna.

From the original questioner:
I thought the use of dyes was a bit strange. I called the manufacture and they confirmed that I should use 844s, not their dye. Dyes are meant for clears and stains. They said no matter how much I mixed it the dye would not stick to the pigmented lacquer.

From the original questioner:
I have a follow up question regarding the 844s. I am in Minneapolis and can't seem to find any. Do the 844s use any other name or is there another type of colorant that could be used? I am using a LenMar Pre-Cat Lacquer.

From contributor F:
866 colorants may also be used in place of 844's. Which color you use depends on what shade of off-white you are looking for. There are as many different shades and hues of off white.