Jackson's Art paint consistencies Dairy Scale

The Dairy Scale of Paint Consistencies

When buying new paints, there can be an element of the unknown. Will it be fluid like water, need to be scooped out with a palette knife, or something in between? “The Dairy Scale” is a means of communicating how thick or thin a particular product is. Over the years, our sales team have found themselves instinctively comparing paints to various dairy products—whether a paint is thin like single cream or thick and buttery. “The Dairy Scale” is by no means faultless, but it does get across a sense of the consistency, and can also help you choose the right tool for your paint.

It is worth taking into consideration that some paints are best with specific hair types. Encaustic paints should only be used with natural hair, as synthetic fibres may melt. Acrylics are best suited to hog or synthetic hair, as it can be difficult to keep sable or squirrel hair in good condition, when using acrylics.

We’ve placed watercolour at the thin end of the dairy scale because although it can be solid in a pan or paste-like from a tube, it’s almost always thinned with water. Pigment can affect the thickness of the paint: some pigment particles are larger than others and as a result, the viscosity can vary from fluid to buttery within a single range (this happens most frequently with professional oil paints). 

Downloadable and printable PDF version of The Dairy Scale