As I sit here in between pouring color samples I was thinking how nice it would be to have a site or a place on the forum dedicated to color formulas, like a formula exchange.  I seldom have time to order a custom color from Blue and nobody likes the whole trial and error thing.  Just a thought - and on that note, anybody have a match for HC-111?

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Alla, you should absolutely make a color mixing dvd(or JP), i'd gladly pay for it. I've already payed for books and DVDs that are 170 bucks and outdated

My position is that good info is definitely worth paying for and the notion that those with the knowledge should give something away for free is ludicrous including phone consults from Tommy (although I would like to think that after having paid for his full course if I had a basic question pertaining to something in the course he would help a brotha out :)

One slight exception though is with the BR system, I payed for the course and it was helpful only as far as getting you hooked on his "products". Which by the way is not cheap. I could never imagine calling Buddy for assistance in the GFRC method's Tommy taught me..but I do think it's in his own best interest to assist people in using his products, even if it's DIY'ers.

For the most part I try to be self reliant and figure most things out or pay for a course or what not...but...if I have a unique query using Buddy Rhodes product I would almost expect assistance, period. Go ahead and charge me for simple answers to using that product and see what the result will be.

Brandon, not too long ago you were pleading for people to be more involved on BR's forum. Being involved on a forum like that means more traffic and more exposure for his products and trainer$ but it also means more Q & A...Questions from newbies and Answers from people who make money off of newbies does it not? Take my course..."and?" buy my products..."and?" pay me for an e-mail regarding my product "and?"...c-ya.

The most important lesson BR taught me in this venture was to identify those that have a product to sell, they will gladly give you a reasonable amount of guidance in using their product. I'm sure you found the same to be true with certain suppliers I.E ICT

In fact just about every supplier I deal with including finishes for wood ect realize the importance of this and how it pays dividends. 

Having said that..Alla is in a unique position and "the product" is her immense knowledge on the color subject. Count me in for one.

Alla, though you rub me wrong sometimes, I have to agree with Mike that you should do it, and I would even buy it!!  I mixed and matched paint at a couple different hardware stores in my early years and I am not one of the men that you talk about with poor color sight.  However, I have never used a "system" to mix my colors.  I used Davis, both in white and grey portland for many years (until Blue came along) and was very apt with what their colors did and had no problem making their colors change by mixing a few together.  I understood the color wheel and just went from there.  I got very good at it, but a system would be nice.


Mike - If you have taken one of my courses, and you have, phone calls are free!!  I am still helping people with quick questions for free, but if you want in depth info, that is what I charge for.


If people have questions on the Association, I will talk for hours on that for free!!  Happy to answer anyone's questions on that subject!


My training/consulting/teaching is different that anyone else, as I have no product bias and no materials to sell and no relationships with suppliers that give me reason to push their products.  I teach everything I know about everything I know and let you do with that info as you see fit.  With the exception of maybe Mark C, I am one of the only trainers in this industry that trains without leaning you to a specific product or process.  Though I am trying to make a living, my ultimate goal is to help people, not capitalize on them!

I have used a product called scrafino, a floor topping compound that can be accurately coloured using the suppliers charts and colour powders . I have not done gfrc yet, but what I have done with this stuff is spray it into the mold with a hopper gun, let set a while, and then wet cast as usual . I have also sprayed pieces after casting, and then acid stained and dyed all on the same piece . This was for an artist that wanted tons of colour and variation, and was in a kitchen. Sealed with a T#P@$%L sealer- don't even start that discussion again : )

Also can work to turn  f-ups and samples into pieces for tabletops etc.

There is all sorts of things that can be done with this stuff, veining ,marbling etc. 

I'v been colour matching lacquers by hand for coming up 30 years, but the mixing of colours for concrete has yet another level of things to learn.


as for free knowledge, some get joy from just throwing their knowledge out there , I don't think they should be knocked for doing so. Others want a dollar for every breath they take, and thats o.k. too, but I don't like paying to watch other peoples advertising. 

And Alla, how about a brief link or description of your testing rig ? 


well said bud

Chuck said:

Yeah, this topic came up before when blue was selling thier formulas.  Someone posted a bunch of colors, unfortunately, I didn't copy and past them and they got erased.  I agree with the problem blue had with it though.  They do lots of hard work to make those colors, it was wrong to share them like that. 

That being said, it isn't too bad to make a color, just do it.

Another opinion of mine:

Custom colors are great, and telling people you can match any color is great.  Until it doesn't look exactly like something they expected and the freak out.  I came to the conclusion that promising colors will only hurt you.  There are too many variables involved. Make up some colors by throwing in this and that to get something that looks nice, and there is your own personal, unique color.  No other concrete maker will have that same color.  Make however many you want, 20 colors is what I have, and I am about to thin that out pretty soon 


Ultramarine blue is highly sensitive to a low ph  environment and will tolerate a high ph. I learned this when I was an Automotive paint tester at Sherwin Williams. The guys in the plant were tinting a purple automotive metallic and had gone too red. Instead of trying to come back with thalo blue, which has poor hiding, they used Ultramarine blue. When I added the napthenic acid dryer to spray the panel it evolved hydrogen sulphide and destroyed the Ultramarine. It should tolerate a ph of 9.0 to 9.5 since that is the ph of latex paint where it is used extensively. I don't know if an extremely high ph of 13 would affect it but I can't think of a chemical reaction that would destroy it.

Alla Linetsky said:

Nothing replaces the experience of blending your own colours. Take a day out of your busy schedule and pour some samples, just with the 3 iron oxides. You will be able to produce everything from antique white to pure blue-grays to olives to browns. You will not be able to make vivid greens, blues or candy-apple reds, but all earth colours will be well within your reach. Keep the total % of pigment load to cement under 6 and go play.


I have 5 colours on my shelf: black iron oxide, white titanium oxide, red (a blend of red and yellow oxides, sold as Tile Red by Elementis), yellow iron oxide from Elementis and an ultramarine blue that you cannot use in a high pH environment, so we use it only in our Qwix-containing mixes.


I buy black in 40 lb bags every 4-6 months, white once a year, yellow once every 2 years or so, red once every 3 years, and I'm about half-way through the original bag of blue that I bought in 2005.

To make an accurate match to walnut you would need to use quinacridone red, hansa yellow and carbon black. Using iron oxides would only give you a muddy approximation.

Alla Linetsky said:

I couldn't agree more, but questions about colours keep coming up. How many people here can blend a walnut brown from pure iron oxide pigments? It's easy, and it has even been posted, yet the questions still come up. 


Could this be because 10% of men have some colour vision deficiency? This statistic is correct, btw.

Mark Celebuski said:

Everyone can develop a color eye (unless perhaps you’re color blind) with time, after a while you will be able to get in the “color family” real fast than adjust to lighter / darker. Do some basic research to understand color blending and different color’s saturation points.


Keep it scientific: Make a big batch (using the volumetric method), take out carefully weighed amounts (you can calculate the volume of the sample by knowing the weight of the sample), add the color to the samples. You can make 20 different color samples in short order once you get the hang of it.


Mark C

In order  to become an expert you need to put in 10,000 hours and color formulation is no exception. I have put in the time, probably enough  to be a double expert. What I have learned is this. The more you tell a customer you can do, the more he will expect until you reach your level of incompetence at which point he will stop raising his expectations.

The large guys in the paint industry like Benjamin Moore have color decks based upon a multitude of pigments  that are, for the most part unavailable to the average concrete countertop maker. Some of their lines like Aqua have very unique pigments that  make it very difficult for another company to match even with a spectrophotometer. The pigments are ground in special equipment that develops the color to a shade that is unachievable with normal shear techniques(dumping it into a batch of mix and hoping for the best.

Exact matching to an existing color requires using the exact same pigments ground in exactly the same way and in the same matrix as the original. Even then there will be detectable differences. If the original is aged at all it will be impossible to get an exact match. If you don't use the exact same pigments the match will be metameric, meaning it will match under light of one color temperature such as incandescent light but not under another such as daylight. If the medium you are using is highly variable and highly reactive, which is what concrete is, the situation is even further complicated.

My advice is "DON'T OFFER EXACT COLOR MATCHES". It is far better to have a few standard colors and emphasize that even matching to the samples cannot be fully guaranteed.You might offer to design a color that will "go with" the design. In other words it is  better to manage your customer's color expectations than try to meet them. The stone guys and even the laminate and solid surface guys don't do it and for good reason. It is too hard.

I recall a thread on this forum wherein people who were polled said that most of their work was either in natural concrete colors or colors resembling stone. How much business would you lose if you couldn't offer chartreuse countertops? The designer would probably say " OK, then we'll do the chartreuse on the walls and make the countertop black".

As Dirty Harry said: "A man's gotta know his limitations". I don't offer exact matches and never will. If someone wants it I will send him to my competitor and let him drive that guy nuts.

I am just getting started on my new color line so that I can avoid the custom color issue. I am making 30 colors, if they cant pick from this then its $400 for a custom color. I to have spent countless hours matching colors. I think by now I know the colors that are popular and a few that fade in and out. Man I hate the color game!

I use Solomon colors. They are very easy to use and dirt cheap. $60 for a 25 lb bag. There are 48 standard colors on the color card. However by adding some black pigment at different % to each of the color loadings, I am able to produce many other shades of thoes colors. I figured out a formula that allows me to closely match each of the colors on the card with white cement and alter every shade many ways. I know next to nothing about color matching but this was very easy to figure out even for me. It keeps things very basic and easy yet allows me to offer many colors.

That's the key trying to offer many colors with a useable system

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