How to Make Colour Changing Paint





Introduction: How to Make Colour Changing Paint

In this tutorial I am going to teach you how to make a colour changing paint. On this occasion, I have chosen to create a paint that changes colour with temperature (thermochromic).

There are so many applications in which thermochromic coatings can be used. Some of these include, colour changing t-shirts, colour changing posters, colour changing birthday cards, promotional items and educational products.

Step 1: Obtain the Correct Materials

Here are the items you will need to make 'colour changing paint' :

  • SFXC Thermochromic Free Flowing Powder (red 31C)
  • SFXC Compatible Binder
  • SFXC Fluorescent Pigments Yellow
  • SFXC Dispersing Agent (for thermochromic powder)
  • A Glass Muller
  • A Frosted Glass Plate
  • A Measuring Cup
  • Safety Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Safety Mask

The volumes and quantities vary depending on the amount of paint you chose to make. I used the following:

  • 40ml SFXC Compatible Binder
  • 2g SFXC Thermochromic Free Flowing Powder
  • 3g SFXC Fluorescent Pigments Yellow
  • 10ml SFXC Dispersing Agent

Mixing Ratio: 10% Colourant (pigment) into 90% Binder + Dispersing Agent

Here are some online stores that will supply you with good quality ingredients and accessories:

I have chosen to create a colour changing paint that turns from orange to fluorescent yellow when it reaches 31 degrees Celsius. There are hundreds of combinations of colour, so please drop me a comment if you would like a different colour effect.

I will be adding more combinations shortly.

Step 2: Mix the Dispersing Agent & the Binder With the Fluorescent Pigments

Now you have all the correct products you are ready to start making your 'colour changing paint'

Mix the dispersing agent, binder and fluorescent pigments together in the measuring cup. Make sure you use protective equipment and an old pair of clothes as this step can get messy.

Step 3: Empty the Mixed Solution Onto the Frosted Glass Surface

Once the binder, dispersing agent and fluorescent pigments are mixed thoroughly, empty the contents onto the frosted glass plate.

Step 4: Add the Thermochromic Pigments

Add the thermochromics pigments to the mixed solution. You can use weighing scales to ensure the correct amount is used. This will also help you ensure the colour is the same when/if you make another batch.

Step 5: Mill the Products Together Using the Glass Muller and Plate

Once you have added the thermochromic free flowing powder you are ready to get mixing.

If you do not have a glass Muller and Plate, I recommend using a blender on a gentle speed setting. Do not use the blender from your kitchen as some of the chemicals may remain in the blender after it is cleaned. These chemicals could migrate into food or dink. Please be safe when using a blender.

Step 6: Empty the Milled Solution Into a Container

Once all the parts are mixed together you have ready to use colour changing paint!

#Made by you

Step 7: Get Creative!

Now you have a ready to use colour changing that can be applied to wood, textiles, board and paper.

When you apply heat you will see the coating turn from orange to fluorescent yellow.

Be carful when using any items that create heat. Please be safe.

Please leave a comment if you would like more combinations or if you need any guidance.

Please click here to view a whole range of ready to use product or for the raw materials to make your own.




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    Hi I was wondering about the combination of black to pink (preferably a light pink) to be used on styrofoam?

    Is it possible to make it change to a darker color (Red to Blue), or does it only work from dark to light when it heats up?

    And how much can it be diluted before the effect wears off? (I would like to try using it in my watercooling setup so I can tell the temperature at a glance).

    6 replies

    Thank you for your question nic.bryan.73

    This type of application is a popular one. We supply companies with thermochromic inks at certain temperatures. The companies then add the thermochromic inks to the solution within medical machinery to visualize changes in temperature. For example: A blood transfusion machine.... Blood must maintain certain temperatures. What temperature would you like the change to take place?

    Kind regards


    Ultimately over the range of 42-48C (about midrange for a PC cooler)


    Would a 47C ink be okay?

    Thank you


    That would probably work alright. Thank you.


    You would need to use a Spectrual Plast that changes to a colour when heated. Standard thermochromic inks show off the opposite effect. You will need to order this product via email as it is custom. Please contact the technical department at SFXC.

    Thank you. I will definitely do that as soon as I get my system up and running.

    New to instructables, not to sure if you've answered this question. Could this be done to fabric dyes/paints? And if so is it safe and would I need to seal the components if the fabrics would be used in water like swimwear?

    Would I be able to go from flesh colored to red and or purple when heat is applied? Can you choose which color is the base color and which color is the color that appears when heated?

    1 reply

    Start with a standard base colour (of your choice).

    Add the thermochromic pigment.

    This will alter the colour.

    Once the thermochromic pigments within the solution change colour, the original base colour will return.

    If you add a blue thermochromic ink to a standard magenta ink it will appeaer purple. Heat it up and the blue thermochromic pigments will loose thier colour and the coating will turn magenta.

    I hope this makes sense?

    Thank you



    Thank you :) Its my first time on here. I'm really enjoying this.

    Hi, for this step, you can also use a porcelain mortar & pestle.

    On the other hand, I am pretty sure I need a muller!

    I see what you did


    Oops, just joined Instructables. Just getting used to it. Please see my answer in the comments below. Thank you for getting involved. I am here to help. I have looked at your section and love what you do. Thanks, Oliver from SFXC


    Thank you for your question.

    You can also use a largish mortar and pestle for small batches.

    When making large batches I use a 'low shear mixer'.

    I really enjoy using a Glass Muller for small batches.

    Kind regards


    Can you take this mixture and mix it into a regular interior/exterior paint or any type of primer? I'm thinking a white primer from the hardware store or even an auto body paint.