Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, is converted

green paint

to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, color or provide texture to objects.


In 2011, South African archeologists reported finding a 100,000 year old human-made ochre-based mixture which could have been used like paint. Cave paintings drawn with red or yellow ochre, hematite, manganese oxide, and charcoal may have been made by early Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago.

Ancient colored walls at Dendera, Egypt, which were exposed for years to the elements, still possess their brilliant color, as vivid as when they were painted about 2,000 years ago. The Egyptians mix their colors with a gummy substance, and applied them separate from each other without any blending or mixture. They appeared to have used six colors: white, black, blue, red, yellow, and green. They first covered the area entirely with white then traced the design in black, leaving out the lights of the ground color. They used minium for red, and generally of a dark tinge.

Color changing paintEdit

Various technologies exist for making paints that change color. Thermochromic paints and coatings contain materials that change conformation when heat is applied, and so they change color. Liquid crystals have been used in such paints, such as in the thermometer strips and tapes used in aquaria. Photochromic paints and coatings contain dyes that change conformation when the film is exposed to UV light, and so they change color. These materials are used to make eyeglasses.

Color changing paints can also be made by adding halochrome compounds or other organic pigments. One patent cites use of these indicators for wall coating applications for light colored paints. When the paint is wet it is pink in color but upon drying it regains its original white color. As cited in patent, this property of the paint enabled two or multiple coats to be applied on a wall properly and evenly. The previous coat/s having dried would be white whereas the new wet coat would be distinctly pink. Ashland Inc. introduced foundry refractory coatings with similar principle in 2005 for use in foundries.

Electrochromic paints change color in response to an applied electric current. Car manufacturer Nissan has been reportedly working on an electrochromic paint, based on particles of paramagnetic iron oxide. When subjected to an electromagnetic field the paramagnetic particles change spacing, modifying their color and reflective properties. The electromagnetic field would be formed using the conductive metal of the car body. Electrochromic paints can be applied to plastic substrates as well, using a different coating chemistry. The technology involves using special dyes that change conformation when an electric current is applied across the film itself. Recently, this new technology has been used to achieve glare protection at the touch of a button in passenger airplane windows.


Since the time of the Renaissance, siccative (drying) oil paints, primarily linseed oil, have been the most commonly
300px-Brush and watercolours
used kind of paints in fine art applications; oil paint is still common today. However, in the 20th century, water-based paints, including watercolors and acrylic paints, became very popular with the development of acrylic and other latex paints. Milk paints, where the medium is derived from the natural emulsion that is milk, were popular in the 19th century and are still available today. Egg tempera (where the medium is an emulsion of raw egg yolk mixed with oil) is still in use as well, as are encaustic wax-based paints. Gouache is a variety of opaque watercolor which was also used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance for manuscript illuminations. The pigment was often made from ground semiprecious stones such as lapis lazuli and the binder made from either gum arabic or egg white. Gouache, also known as 'designer color' or 'body color' is commercially available today.

Poster paint has been used primarily in the creation of student works, or by children.