Matching paint easy for do-it-yourselfers

News editor

A homeowner with a piece of siding to be painted or an expectant mother wanting to match the nursery walls to a color in a quilt don’t have to grab handfuls of paint chips and trust their eyes to find the right color anymore.

Marion County paint dealers have computerized color matching scanning systems that take guessing out of the equation.

Hillsboro True Value Hardware co-owner Laurie Koslowsky has done color matching for several years, and said demand for the service is brisk.

“On an average week, I’d say it’s used daily. It’s used for sure several times a week,” Koslowsky said.

Marion Ace Hardware paint master Victoria Buckner said many customers weren’t aware of the service.

“A lot of people don’t know we have it. They think they’re going to have to pick a color closest to what they have,” Buckner said.

Matching systems use a scanner which analyzes a solid color sample such as a paint chip or fabric swatch the size of a dime or quarter. A computer analyzes the data and produces the right combination of base paint and pigments to achieve the match.

“Sometimes they’ll bring in a piece that’s too small, a little tiny chip the size of their fingernail,” Koslowsky said. “Sometimes people don’t understand it needs to be a solid color.”

“Ours can gauge a color swatch down to a half inch, so as long as we have that we can match it,” Katherine DeFilippis, general manager of The Lumberyard, said.

Color matching can reduce the work of homeowners wanting to spruce up a house, Koslowsky said.

Some customers unfamiliar with the technology bring items larger than a paint chip.

“We’ve had cabinet doors brought in, sometimes they’ll even bring a board off the house,” Koslowsky said. “Somebody will bring in a can and say, ‘Is this your paint?’ They think we can take it right out of the can and match it. We cannot color match a wet sample – it has to be dry.”

Peabody Hardware and Lumber owner Mark Whitney said he gets many requests for matching paint. The most unusual request was from a woman who brought in a flower that had just bloomed and wanted to match the color of the bloom.

“We had to work quickly on that one,” he said. “It was beginning to wilt and the color was fading. But we got it.”

Whitney has a second piece of equipment that he can take to another location and get a detailed formula for the closest match in the line of paint he carries.

“It may not be an exact match, but it will show the customer what we can do and sometimes it is close enough to satisfy them,” he said.

Matching paint colors to fabric is a feature DeFilippis enjoys.

“The uniqueness of it for me is the fact that I’m a color person, and if I have a favorite throw rug or quilt, or a throw pillow, I can match it,” she said.

The challenge of matching fabric comes when a swatch has different colors of thread.

“You can’t put in a variegated piece of material with plaid and get a match,” DeFilippis said.

“It needs to be a solid color and it usually does pretty good,” Koslowsky said. “If they bring in a piece of fabric with lots of colors and they want to pull out one little color, that’s impossible.”

Buckner has a handheld scanner she uses for oversized pieces, but she still has to find a solid color to match.

“The other day I did a sample of a baby blanket because they’re doing a nursery,” Buckner said. “Our scanner is removable. I can move it wherever I need it to be. They were very happy with it.”

 

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