Mixing Satin and Semi-Gloss Paints

Paint comes in a variety of sheens, from flat to high-gloss. In between are popular options like satin and semi-gloss. What happens when you mix these two common sheens? Can you mix latex satin and semi-gloss paints? How about oil-based ones? This article will cover everything you need to know about successfully mixing satin and semi-gloss paints.

Mixing Satin and Semi-Gloss Paints

Can You Mix Satin and Semi-Gloss Paints?

Yes, you can mix satin and semi-gloss paints together. The key factors are:

  • The paint bases need to be the same. Mix either all latex/acrylic/water-based paints or all oil-based paints.
  • Calculate the ratio of satin to semi-gloss paint before mixing for a consistent finish.
  • The mixture will be dominated by the satin paint and have a sheen closer to satin than semi-gloss. Adjust ratios to achieve a perfect midway sheen.
  • It’s best to mix all paint needed at once rather than recreate the blend later for touch-ups.

Mixing Different Sheens of Latex Paints

Mixing different sheens of latex, acrylic, or water-based paints is absolutely possible. Satin and semi-gloss latex paints can be blended with success as long as you follow the proper techniques and ratios.

Latex paint is already formulated to be mixable between sheens. So blending a satin and semi-gloss latex paint will result in a uniform finish between the two original sheens.

Mixing Oil-Based Paints of Different Sheens

You can also mix oil-based paints of differing sheens like satin and semi-gloss enamels. Again, the key is maintaining the same paint base and calculating the right satin-to-semi-gloss ratio before mixing.

Oil-based paints tend to yellow over time, so the color uniformity of the blend may change. But the sheen of the mixture will remain between satin and semi-gloss.

Mixing Latex and Oil-Based Paints

Do not attempt to mix latex and oil-based paints. Even if the sheens are the same, latex and oil paints are incompatible and will separate when blended, ruining both paints. Always stick with the same paint base.

Mixing Ratios for Satin and Semi-Gloss Paint

To mix satin and semi-gloss paints together, you’ll need to figure out the right ratios. This will create a predictable finish rather than a random mix of sheens. Here are some tips for determining ratios:

  • Start with more satin paint – Since satin is lower sheen, it will dominate the mixture. A starting point is a 2:1 ratio of satin to semi-gloss.
  • Adjust ratios as needed – If the finish is too satin-like, add more semi-gloss paint in increments. For a perfect midway sheen, try 1:1.
  • Mix small test batches – Mix a few ounces at a time to test the sheen before mixing larger amounts. Check the sheen when dry.
  • Use weight not volume – Measuring paint by weight (grams or ounces) is more precise than volume (cups or quarts).
  • Calculate total paint needed – Don’t mix as you go. Determine the total amount of mixed paint needed for the project upfront.
  • Stick to whole ratios – Round to whole number ratios for simpler mixing. E.g. 2:1, 3:1, or 1:1.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to easily calculate the perfect satin/semi-gloss ratio for your project.

Mixing Process for Satin and Semi-Gloss Paint

Once you’ve determined the painting ratios, it’s time to start mixing. Here is a step-by-step process for blending satin and semi-gloss paints:

Supplies Needed

  • Satin and semi-gloss paints of the same base (both latex or both oil-based)
  • Mixing container larger than total volume needed
  • Paint mixer, stir stick, or power drill mixer
  • Measuring supplies – scale, cups, sticks, etc.
  • Protective equipment – gloves, mask, goggles, drop cloth

Mixing Steps

  1. Calculate total quantity of finished paint needed for project.
  2. Determine ratio of satin to semi-gloss paint. Start with 2:1 satin to semi-gloss.
  3. Measure out required amount of each paint based on ratios and total quantity needed.
  4. Pour the semi-gloss paint into the mixing container first.
  5. Then add the measured satin paint.
  6. Mix thoroughly using a mixer or stir stick. Continue mixing until uniform.
  7. Test the mixed paint’s sheen by brushing out a sample patch. Evaluate when dry.
  8. Adjust ratios and remix if needed to achieve desired sheen.
  9. Once sheen is confirmed, the blended paint is ready to use.
  10. Pour mixed paint into roller trays or paint tray liners to use.

Follow this process, and you’ll easily blend satin and semi-gloss paints into a custom mid-sheen finish.

Tips for Successfully Mixing Satin and Semi-Gloss Paints

To achieve the best results when mixing different sheen paints together, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always check that paint bases are the same before mixing
  • Calculate and measure ratios precisely using weight rather than volume measures
  • Mix in a container larger than total volume needed to allow room
  • Add semi-gloss paint first, then satin paint
  • Mix thoroughly until uniform consistency and color is achieved
  • Verify sheen on a test patch before mixing large batches
  • Adjust ratios as needed to fine tune sheen level
  • Mix all paint needed at one time rather than mixing as you go
  • Clean tools and spillage with water if using latex paints
  • Rinse mixing container thoroughly after use to prevent sheen contamination
  • Box and label leftover blended paint properly for storage and touch-ups

Follow these tips to mix satin and semi-gloss paints expertly.

Effects on Paint Properties When Mixing Sheens

Mixing paint sheens does have some effects on the properties of the resulting paint:

  • Sheen – Will be somewhere between satin and semi-gloss, though closer to satin.
  • Durability – Should maintain good durability of a satin/semi-gloss blend.
  • Hiding power – No noticeable change expected in hiding capability.
  • Application – Mixing paints won’t significantly affect application.
  • Color – The color should remain true without shifting noticeably.
  • Drying time – Drying time will be similar to original paints.

So mixing sheens has very little effect on paint properties, other than lowering the semi-gloss to a satin/semi-gloss hybrid sheen.

Matching Touch-Ups When Mixing Paint Sheens

Because blended paint creates a unique sheen, matching touch-ups takes some extra care:

  • Save leftover paint for future touch-ups. Store cans according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Remix paint each time you use leftovers to maintain consistency.
  • Feather out touch-ups into surrounding area to disguise sheen differences.
  • If paint is gone, mix new paint at the original ratio and test sheen before applying touch-ups.
  • Touch-up small areas. Large areas may need entirely recoating to match the sheen.
  • Plan ahead when mixing paint to ensure enough leftover blended paint for repairs.

With extra effort, you can achieve seamless touch-ups. But mixing an entire batch at once is always best rather than trying to recreate the custom sheen blend later.

Can You Paint Satin Over Semi-Gloss?

It is possible to paint a satin paint over an existing semi-gloss paint, but proper prep is crucial:

  • Degloss the semi-gloss paint through sanding to rough up the slick surface.
  • Clean and wipe down the sanded surface to remove all dust.
  • Apply an appropriate primer and/or adhesion promoter to the prepped surface.
  • Allow primer to fully dry before painting satin paint over the top.
  • Multiple coats and adequate dry time between coats may be needed to cover the semi-gloss.

Even with proper prep, the satin paint will obscure the higher gloss of the underlying semi-gloss paint. The finish will appear more matte and muted than a true satin paint over a properly prepared bare surface. But with additional coats, the satin sheen will come through somewhat over the deglossed semi-gloss.

Applying satin over semi-gloss is best done as part of a planned painting process rather than as a quick fix. For the best results:

  • Budget extra time and materials for proper surface prep and adequate coats.
  • Use a specialty adhesion promoting primer.
  • Allow sufficient dry time between coats.
  • Expect 3 or more satin paint coats to cover the semi-gloss fully.
  • Remember that the finish will not have the true appearance of satin paint due to the coating below.

While more labor intensive, planning the process carefully will provide the best outcome when painting satin over semi-gloss surfaces.

Can Semi-Gloss Go Over Satin Paint?

You can successfully paint a semi-gloss paint over an existing satin painted surface. The preparation process is similar:

  • Lightly degloss the satin finish with sanding. Be careful not to strip the paint fully.
  • Wipe and clean the sanded surface thoroughly before painting.
  • Use an appropriate primer or adhesion promoter.
  • Allow sufficient dry time between coats.
  • Expect to need 2-3 coats for the semi-gloss to cover the satin fully.

The semi-gloss will adhere and build to its full glossy sheen over the properly prepped satin paint. The preparation helps the semi-gloss grip the slicker satin surface underneath.

The finish coat of semi-gloss will appear true to its sheen over the properly prepared satin paint. So while more work, applying semi-gloss over satin can achieve good results.

Special Considerations for Mixing Oil-Based Paints

When mixing satin and semi-gloss oil-based paints, be aware of:

  • Yellowing over time – Oil paints will gradually yellow as the oils oxidize. The mixed color may slowly change.
  • Stronger odor – Oil paints have stronger fumes than latex. Ensure proper ventilation.
  • Longer dry times – Oil paints cure more slowly than latex. Allow for longer dry times.
  • Cleanup – Mineral spirits or paint thinner is required to clean oil-based paint spills and supplies.

Understand these factors when mixing oil-based satin and semi-gloss paints. Adjust your process to account for the properties of oil paint. Proper ventilation and dry times are especially crucial.

FAQs about Mixing Satin and Semi-Gloss Paints

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about mixing satin and semi-gloss paint sheens:

Does the mixture have the same hide and durability?

Yes, the hiding power and durability of the blended paint will be similar to the original satin and semi-gloss paints. Mixing sheens does not negatively impact hide or longevity.

Can I add colorants to mixed paint?

Absolutely. Tinting the blended paint to achieve a custom color is perfectly fine and will not affect the finish. Follow your paint store’s tinting recommendations.

Do I need to prime the surface first?

Priming is advisable to ensure proper adhesion and full coverage, just as you would with normal satin or semi-gloss paints.

How is mixing paints different than just buying a mid-sheen paint?

Premixed mid-sheen paints are formulated to a specific sheen level. Mixing your own allows you to customize the exact sheen you desire.


While not necessarily required, mixing satin and semi-gloss paints can provide a custom mid-sheen paint when desired sheen is unavailable. With proper ratios, mixing technique, and preparation, blended paints can deliver beautiful, lasting results. Just be sure to mix in full batches, follow best practices, and take care with touch-ups. The finish will repay the extra effort with a uniquely eye-catching elegance.

Scroll to Top