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How to Build a Mini Paint Shaker for Craft Acrylic Paints (2 fl.oz., 59 ml) ? Answered

Would like to build a mini paint shaker using harvested parts (old sewing machine, power tools, other odds & ends). Paints come in plastic bottles (screw on, pop up cap) approx 4" high x 1.5" diameter (10 cm x 3 cm).

Mini Paint Shaker req:
Compact, light, portable
Simple clamping system/bottle holder - no tools required
AC Power (?)
Easy to clean
Appreciate any help/suggestions!



Best Answer 8 years ago

My son and I used to do a lot of railroad and auto modeling and we had the same complaint about the paints that we used. So I did some experimenting and came up with a paint shaker that uses a wooden frame, a tin can, three small coil springs and an electric drill. I made ours of a size that would accommodate one 1/2 pint paint can or several bottles of Testor's model paints all at once.
I've attached a couple of drawings that are pretty much self-explanatory.
I used a regular kitchen sponge to pad the bottom and some rolled up foam rubber on top to hold the paint containers in place in the can when shaking. I don't have many dimensions because they depend on the materials used to make the shaker.
I used 'C' clamps to secure the shaker to the top of my work bench.

paint shaker.pngpaint shaker 2.png

Sounds terrific - I'll give it a try. Don't be surprised if I have some questions for you.  As soon as I see "self-explanatory", I know I'm in trouble.


1 year ago

Buy a cheap reciprocating saw @ Harbor Freight. Epoxy paint tin sized holder to blade. Let'r rip.


8 years ago

Thank you everyone for your help. Burf - great design! I ran across another one that's a bit different which you may find interesting. I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting a link to it: http://www.io.com/~beckerdo/games/articles/MarkII/MarkIIMixer.html

Here's the new link:


well, a paint shaker is essentially a high speed offset cam....like a vibrator sorta...

so...something like this crappy pic I've created might do the job.

Sorry for the shoddy art. the idea is that you need a holder with some form of gimble on the bottom that allows it to rattle and something that rattles it. Be aware that you'll need to make the translation adjustable (the amount of distance the can moves) in order to make the final action "ideal"

Hi - sorry I  somehow missed seeing your contribution. I think I get what you're proposing - can you expand on it at all? I'm a bit engineering-challenged.

Hi Mara.

Well, I think, from looking below, that burf's images are of much better quality, and the concept may be much better too.

ftr, Picture the can (in red) rocking towards the drive wheel and back, but at high speed and with a pretty short travel (maybe an inch to each side). The rapid rocking motion starts (and maintains) a rotation of the paint from top to bottom inside of the can, thereby mixing it. Not much to it really, sorta mimics the manual shaking a person might do. That's where the adjustment comes in. you really need to tailor the speed at which the drive runs as well as the length of the "pushrod" (the skinny line that connects from an offset position on the drive wheel to the armature which holds the can.)

I would "add" the motion graphic above the can/holder to make it clearer, but after I created the drawing, I did what I too often do and failed to save it and I have other duties right now and don't want to get caught up in perfecting the concept...that's where you get to have fun! Anyway..picture the bottom of the can staying essentially in the same place, and the top goes back and forth towards and away from the drive.

best wishes


8 years ago

I just want to thank everyone, to date, for the great ideas - I'm tinkering, as we speak.

Best answer Burf. I was going to suggest a similar setup with an orbital sander, but it would probably be better for a larger paint can.

I'm assuming you're talking about paints like FolkArt and Apple Barrel. I've always shaken them by hand-- portable, easy to clean, no tools required. I've also had my kids hand-shake them, since they have more energy than me.
But I'll venture a guess that if you're asking to make a "machine", that hand-shaken isn't an option for you.
The first thing I thought of was modifying a clamp onto an electric toothbrush, but finding a clamp that didn't interfere with the power button was difficult, and the vibration rate of the toothbrush seemed too high to be really helpful.
Good Luck!

Hi SiderAnne - yes those are the paints I'm referring to. Hmmm - an electric toothbrush - it has possibilities & it's on the right track.  Thanks for the suggestion.
p.s. Yes, I've been shaking them by hand, too. Just don't wanna anymore  lol. Would rather have a gadget to do the job.