We expect to close on a house on Friday and my father-in-law will be in town that weekend only to help us paint a couple of bedrooms (currently brightly colored) and an accent wall. So we need to test colors quickly rather than giving the primer a day to dry and the paint a day as well. My builder friend says to get gypsum board and spray it with orange peel. Another authority says plywood or cardboard (??) is sufficient. Do I need to acquire gypsum to do a good quality test? Can I skip the orange peel at least? (And wouldn't the brown of cardboard hurt the testing?)

Obviously, our intent is to place the board in different parts of the room to test how the color looks. We can't order test boards online because that would take too long for shipping, and I like to keep costs down.

  • If it matters, we probably going to use Behr Marquee or possibly Ultra for the test, and the actual walls will get Kilz followed by a coat of the paint. (See separate question on wisdom of that.)
    – Paul
    May 27, 2015 at 15:56
  • I don't think they are referring to brown box cardboard but instead white poster cardboard. I've used in the past thick cardstock (similar to poster board but smaller and thinner) to for paint color samples and it worked pretty well. It's not as effective as painting a sample on the wall but it works.
    – diceless
    May 27, 2015 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


You could paint cardboard with the Kilz first as well to seal it, then your paint. I wouldn't go to the extra trouble of buying gypsum and especially putting a texture on it first. That sounds like overkill.

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