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I have some satin black enamel paint, after applying it I found it to be too glossy. I know you can make paint more glossy, for example by adding varnish to it, but is there a way to make it less glossy?

13 Answers 13

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You can coat it with a satin clear finish. or even a matte finish. Both are available at most paint stores and big box stores.

  • But does a matte clear finish give glossy paint a matte look? Or will it simply not add a glossy finish on top of it? I think I'll try it and see. – Arne Aug 18 '15 at 17:41
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    The matte on top of gloss will de-gloss it (as will satin). It might not be truly matte, but it should be significantly less shiny. I would wait a few days after the gloss is applied to ensure that it is fully dried. Also, on average, matte finishes are often less durable than other finishes, so if you can live with satin, that might give you better long term results. – bib Aug 18 '15 at 17:48
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Use steel wool or plastic abrasive pads on it (after it's dried.)

There are also "paint flattening agents" if you are looking for a chemical/additive fix for another coat.

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    Wouldn't this leave a 'scratched' finish? I want it to be smooth but not glossy. – Arne Aug 18 '15 at 17:38
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    If you use fine abrasives (0000 steel wool, white or gray "Scotchbrite", etc.) the "scratches" will be so fine they are not perceptible as "scratches." – Ecnerwal Aug 18 '15 at 21:14
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For the best possible results, just go buy the same paint in a less glossy firm and repaint the wall. All the other solutions will take as much time and still might not give the results you want. Save time and effort and just repaint.

  • Problem is, I couldn't find a less glossy paint. They did sell chalkboard paint, but I'm not sure if that's a good option. – Arne Aug 19 '15 at 9:37
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TSP has been used by painters for many years to "de-gloss" paint.
I have used it to both flatten a painted rooms glossy look, as well as to provide a surface that a new top coat can adhere to.
Gloss enamel needs to be cut (a surface tooth) established for new paint to adhere. If you do not provide a tooth for new paint it can peel off of glossy enamel (a lesson learned for me long ago).

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I had that same problem (oil based paint too glossy). 000 steel wool worked, sanding worked, tsp had no effect, vinegar had no effect. I mixed some talc (baby powder) with my oil based high gloss paint and was able to get the flat appearance I wanted. I found that it took a ratio of about 6 parts paint to 1 part talc to get the desired result

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The 2 answers you have amount to (i) roughen it, and (ii) satin/matte varnish it.

I suggest doing both. When you're applying one finish on top of another, neither of which is primer/undercoat, you need a good key -- hence roughening the surface. You don't want to create visible scratches though. At some point you want to leave it in a warm place for a couple of days to make sure it's completely dry. Then wipe over with methylated spirits to remove dust/grease. Then you can apply your top coat. Be sure to use a product with the same base as the paint you've just put on -- a water-based finish like acrylic varnish won't stick well to fresh oil paint.

You could of course -- if you're buying something anyway -- get a satin paint for a last coat.

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Add a small amount of talc (try 2 TBSP per gallon). Try painting it on a small piece of wood to see how it looks. Add more or less depending on the results.

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Buy some zinc and add to your gloss finish enamel paint and mix it In this way you can make in matt enamel

  • Metallic zinc, zinc oxide, ... ? – Technophile Mar 4 at 14:49
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Old trick given to me by old coach painter was add talc to the oil paint Soaks up the oil in the paint dulling it.

Be careful with what Making It Matt suggested. Don't add to much or it goes gritty rough.

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Rub glossy paint on dry wall with hand sanitizer (Walmart Equate brand) on a paper towel. It will remove the gloss, super fast, super simple. No sanding, no matte clear coat. Just wipe.

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    Hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol, and alcohol dissolves latex paint, so I can see where this would remove some of the surface finish. Does this work with enamel paint (as in the question)? – fixer1234 Aug 18 '18 at 21:30
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For liquid paint that you want to dry with less gloss, add diatomaceous earth. Available as swimming pool filter supplies. Talc might work but I believe diatomaceous earth is used by paint manufacturers. You would need to experiment to find how much to get the affect you want.

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Just wipe it with vinegar. There will be no more gloss. Try in an inconspicuous spot first to see if you like the result before going any further.

  • Tried this, it did nothing. – hamboy Aug 31 '16 at 22:38
  • If a painted surface can be modified just with vinegar, its not very good paint. Might affect some types of lacquer or shellac. – Sherwood Botsford Dec 8 '17 at 22:55
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If you have the time its best with the proper grade of sandpaper/steelwool, to sand between coats or alternating coats. Experimentation is a great learning tool. At a mere cost of your time and some money.

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