Here’s something you may have never thought about: what exactly is paint made of and how exactly does it work? It may seem like the painting process solely consists of splatting paint all over your walls and waiting for it to dry, but if you were to take a super-close look at your paint, you’ll see some pretty interesting stuff going on.

So what is Paint made of?

Paint consists of a few key components that all work together to create the finished look. Pigments are what make up the paint’s colour. Usually, metal compounds are used to create different colours. For example, titanium dioxide is used to make white paint, iron oxide makes yellow, red, brown, and orange, and chromium oxide makes green. Black paint is made from particles of carbon. Different pigments can be combined to create just about any colour imaginable.

Binders are what cause the pigments in paint to stick together and remain intact. Binders glue the pigment particles together and make sure they stick to the surface your painting. Lastly, solvents are the third key ingredient of paint. Solvents makes the binding of pigments and binders into a thinner and more easily flowing liquid that spreads evenly.

In addition to the three key ingredients, paint can also include various additives. For example, ceramic substances can be added to paints to improve their durability, and fluorescent pigments can be thrown in to make paint glow in the dark. There are also many additives that can be added to make paint more weatherproof and suitable for the outdoors.

How does Paint dry?

When paint dries, the solvent component evaporates, leaving the pigments, binders, and any other additives suspended together in a hard layer. The result is that smooth, perfect layer of paint that you’re sure to be more than satisfied with. So the next time you hear someone say “that’s so boring, I’d rather watch paint dry” you can let them know just how interesting watching paint dry can actually be!