Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just a quickie.. about Paint...

Now I'm guessing only the Brits will know what I mean by Matchpots.. to the North Americans I think paint Tester pots would be a more familiar term.
To you lassies in Europe I really don't know if you have a slang term for them.. maybe you can tell me ??  but you get the idea.
Regardless of what they're called, we've had them back in the UK for certainly 15 and more likely 20 years. In Canada they are a relatively new innovation.

 Dulux matchpot in 'Garden Party' that I bought in the UK.

That having been said, both the paint itself, AND the marketing/selling of paint are TOTALLY different in the UK.
When I came to Canada 8 years ago I was shocked to find you couldn't just walk into a DIY warehouse and buy a tin of ready mixed paint off the shelf.
In both Canada and the USA paint is not sold ready mixed AT ALL.
You pick the base paint you want [oil or water based] in the finish you want [matt, gloss, satin ] and then they tint it to the colour you want at the counter. They do have this service back in the UK too.. but it's usually for more expensive paint, or for unusual colours.

Now there are advantages to this method to the retailer..
For a start you don't have to stock large quantities of ready mixed paint in hundreds of colours . You also don't have to fret about which ready mixed colours to stock, or about whether new colours will sell or not.
But... you do have to employ more people to do the mixing.. and deal with disgruntled customers when there's a long queue for tinting on a Sat morning.. and of course you can't stock Matchpots.

Here, in Canada at least, this remained true until  about 5 years ago when paint technique guru and native Bristol lass Debbie Travis introduced her own range of paint at Canadian Tire.. [yes Brits I know they spell tyre wrong.. but what can you do..]

Benjamin Moore matchpot in Apple Green..

She introduced a range of matchpots.. but it was still only for selected colours.. probably about 1 in 4 of the full range.

The company who's paint I prefer.. Benjamin Moore, followed suit about a year later and they stock them for EVERY colour..which is fabulous...
A bit pricier than back in Old Blighty they cost $4.99 or about 3 quid, and I've probably got a dozen or so of them.. since they are so handy. I use them for painting picture frames and they're great when you just need a small amount for colour blocking, and of course I have lots from just trying to pick a paint colour for something... and there's one I bought to patch a large scuff on the hall wall that the roofers caused last spring.

So this was all fine and dandy until recently, when I was trying to find a colour to paint a small cupboard in the mauve spare bedroom. I'm looking for a sort of dark acid green.. actually I'm trying to copy the colour on this piece of Chinese furniture they have at one of my favourite places Goats on the Roof.

I know I know.. acid green in a mauve room.. !! but it will work I promise.. you'll see when I post the photos.. anyway.. back to my paint quandry. I tried 3 different matchpots, one of which being the Apple Green in the photo above which looked perfect on the paint chart, but I was getting nowhere.
But then I found the perfect colour.. unfortunately not on a paint chart but in a magazine photo. Now I know [ like in the UK ] you can get paint tinted to any colour you like. You take in the sample.. which can be from any source and they scan it on the computer and create a match. BUT.. you then have to buy a whole tin.. so you can't test the colour.
I was sure the colour would be OK though so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a small [pint] tin... so off I popped, with my magazine photo, to the Home Depot.

Now.. The Home Depot [which is the biggest DIY
retailer in North America btw] has been WAY
behind with the whole Matchpots thing. They had
them in the States about a year ago I think..
but we still didn't have them in Canada ... or so I thought..
Seems the main paint brand stocked by the Home Depot.. BEHR was finally doing matchpots.
Not that it did me any good did it since I wanted a specially mixed colour.. ?!!
'Oh no' said the sales lady..'I can match tint a tester pot if you like'.
Well hang on a minute I said.. how much extra is it..?
'Oh it's no extra'  she said..  'All the tester pots are tinted on the spot with the colour you want just like a full sized tin, and they all cost $4.99'.. which is exactly the same as Benjamin Moore.

Well I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.. but the best was yet to come...

Look at the Benjamin Moore tester pot and the BEHR tester pot side by side... HA !! I know where I'll be getting my tester pots from now on...

Heavens.. you're a big fellow aren't you.?
I'll let you know how the cupboard works out..
Jo xx


  1. Great! Hope it works out, keeping fingers and toes crossed.

    Huh, I never knew that about buying paint in North America. I can't imagine not going into a shop for tester pots (I'm sure we call them that in the UK too, well I certainly always have anyway). I use them for every project. Having said that, hubby looked at me a bit funny went I bought about 20 testers for the bedroom reno we're working on, then gently pointed out I could have probably gotten a full tin for what I spent on the testers. But it's got to be right, you know?!

  2. Hi Jo! Thanks for stopping by Operation Paper Cut! It's always nice to see new people. :)

    I was going to email you buy couldn't find an address...I hope this is an okay place to drop a line!

    I really like your idea about creating a new blog so I can keep the OPC name! I will have to consider that!

    And PS- the piece you asked about is by me, available at Thanks for your kind words! I make them in my spare time (when I am in a rut with house stuff).

  3. 2 thoughts... 1) When I paint a room in a shade I actually like and want to stick with, I go back to the store and buy the tester paint container. Then when years go by and I need to recall which paint I had on the walls I have the tester with name (or some brands even the formula) on the side and plenty inside for touchups and such. 2) I am cursing that blasted green chinese table, which I must must must have and will now be thinking about it for the next four days obsessively. I hate that I know this about my personality and that I cannot be swayed from such retail purchases. Thank you for aiding my illness.

  4. Halley's Mommy.. great tip to use a tester pot as a reminder of the colour you painted a room.
    I sometime keep the empty ones to store what's left in the bottom of the tin. It keeps much better in a small container and of course it's easier to store.
    I too LOVE and desire the Chinese cabinet.. but we bought it in blue for our dining room, I'll show you some photo's, and do a post on the place it came from. 'Course if you're not on Vancouver Island I'm not sure that will help... maybe a lie down in a darkened room and a couple of valium will. ;o)


Thanks for letting me know I'm not talking to myself..