Oil Paint Muller Alternative

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Oil mulling may not be as common nowadays compared to how it was in the past; however its very much part of the process of painting and can be rewarding in many ways. An oil muller and glass slab are used to make oil paint from a pigment. The thing is; oil mullers are pretty expensive and difficult to find in stores.  Since I’m somewhat new at making oil paint and didn’t know how long i would stick with it; I tried to find something cheaper  and more available. 

So, I headed to the local thrift store and found this $2 glass candle holder that had a flat base.

thrift shop oil muller

That was the biggest challenge since most things there didn’t have a flat bottom. It also has a pretty great grip.

Flat bottom

Now that I was lucky to find the muller, which is the most important part- it was much easier to find a glass slab. I found this smallish piece of glass lying around the shed and i thought it would work fine. It’s a bit darker but I don’t think that has an effect on its function.

I have the muller and plate but the set is not ready for mulling yet. To prep, carborundum - a.k.a silicon carbide has to be grinded between the muller and plate. I couldn’t find carbodurum where i live so after looking it up I concluded that I wasn’t much different than sandpaper. 
So I got a gritty, strong sandpaper and started scratching and frosting up the plate.

The glass slab after strenuous abrasion

 I then moved onto the base of the candle holder and abraded that as well.

Now that they’ve both been abraded- I was ready to test them out! To test I’m using Brazilian purple clay. It’s one of the unconventional materials that I’ve been experiment with as part of my series on making paint from natural and organic pigments. I begin by adding medium to the clay. 

Brazilian clay + walnut alkyd

Mulling the paint

Finished result

I have to say though that the muller worked really well. My one concern is how the pigment rides up onto rim. It’s more of an inconvenience than a real problem though, because i have to stop frequently to scrape it off. Honestly a cheap and fast solution to an expensive problem will always have one inconvenience or another. In this case, I think I find it to be tolerable.

Other than that, the muller works great at dispersing the pigment into the carrier. It created a very smooth paint with a nice buttery and smooth texture. Overall; I will say its a big success.

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