Creating and Using Shiny, Silver Paint

Silver paint on a wall

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Many artists who want to paint silver objects find it to be a challenge. If you're looking for a true silver paint, your choices are slim. Also, you're not going to have much luck mixing ordinary acrylic or oil paints that are already in your box unless you employ the proper painting techniques. However, there are a few possible solutions that can help you paint a shiny, reflective silver surface.

Silver Paints

True silver paints are rare, but they're not impossible to find. Some do a better job at creating a metallic surface than others. A few are not necessarily metallic, but more of a different tone of grey. You might have to do some experimentation to find one that suits your needs.

For acrylics, one of the better choices is Liquid Mirror from Tri-Art. It is not cheap, but it sure is shiny. Photographs of this paint do not do it justice because metallic surfaces are difficult to reproduce. As with most metallics, you often have to see this paint in real life to get a true feel for it.

When it comes to oils, you're probably going to have a more difficult time. Paint manufacturers such as Rembrandt Artist's Oil Colors do offer a tube of silver paint. These tend to not have the same metallic look as some of the acrylic offerings, but with the right painting technique, you can achieve a nice metallic-looking surface.

Silver Leaf

Due to the limitations of paints themselves, some artists incorporate silver leaf into their paintings. This is a good approach for a true metallic look, but it does have a learning curve and is not real paint. For the right painting, however, it can work out really well.

Grey Paint and Technique

Whether you're working with oils or acrylics, it is possible to mix a color that will make an object look like it's silver. The trick is that you will also need to paint reflections and highlights as if it were a reflective surface. For this approach, you'll want to mix your own grey paint — and it's rather easy to do.

Every artist has his or her own recipe for grey, so do some research or ask around to see what others are using. One proven recipe you can try is to mix titanium white, Prussian blue, and burnt umber.

It's also a good idea to practice developing these special tones by painting a grayscale. You can use a small viewfinder to help identify the tone of grey you need. Once you get the tones right and place the highlights and reflections in the right places, you will have what looks like a silver object.