Best Ways To Make Gloss Paint Matte & Matte Paint Gloss

painting door with red gloss paint-min

Both gloss and matte finishes have their own unique looks and properties that can be appealing in different ways. However, sometimes you may want to change the sheen of paint from gloss to matte or vice versa.

In this day and age, there are various ways to make gloss paint matte and matte paint gloss. However, not all of these methods are created equal, and some will be more successful than others depending on the paint and substrate involved.

In this post, we will explore some of the best ways to alter the sheen of paint so that you can get the look you desire.

What does the paint look glossy?

Gloss paint gets its shine from the presence of a chemical called resin. Resins are made up of long chains of molecules. When light hits resin chains, it is reflected back to the viewer’s eyes and results in a glossy sheen.

Resin is also what makes the paint more durable and less likely to fade over time. So, if you are looking for a long-lasting finish, gloss paint is a good option.

Gloss paint is ideal for surfaces that will be subjected to a lot of moisture, such as those found in bathrooms and kitchens. This is because gloss paint is not only more durable and repels water, but it also appears more natural in wet environments.

What does the paint look like matte?

Matte paints have a lower amount of resin than gloss paints, and that translates to a less shiny finish. In addition, matte paints have small particles of pigment that reflect the light in all directions. This scattering of light makes the paint look dull or flat.

Matte paints are less durable compared to gloss paints because they don’t have the same level of resin protecting them from fading. Therefore, they aren’t the preferred choice for projects that will be exposed to a lot of wear and tear or UV light.

Can you make a gloss paint matte?

There are many ways to make gloss paint matte. Indeed, altering the sheen of paint is a common DIY project for many homeowners. We are going to cover some of the most popular methods. However, there is no limit to the ways you can achieve this knowing there are so many types of products in the market.

There are liquid products that you can add to your gloss paint in order to make it matte. These products are often called “matte mediums” or “flatting agents”. They can be found in both hardware and art stores.

There are also powder or paste products that can be used to make gloss paint matte. All these products work by breaking down the resin in the paint. Once the resin is gone, the surface scatters the light and results in a matte finish.

If you have already applied your gloss paint, you can make it matte by adding a light coating of matte paint over top. This will help to dull down the shine of the gloss paint without completely changing its color or texture.

You can also make the gloss paint matte by sanding it. This will remove some of the surface resin and will cause the paint to reflect light in a more scattered manner, giving it a matte appearance.

However, sanding is a more aggressive approach and should only be used as a last resort. It can damage the paint and create uneven patches on the surface. Whichever method you choose, it is important to test the paint on a small area before applying it to the entire surface

Can you make a matte paint gloss?

It is also possible to make a matte paint gloss and it is easier than making a gloss paint matte. The simplest way is to add sealer to the matte paint.

Sealers are made of tiny particles that cover the surface of the paint, just like flatting agents, but they typically work to improve surface reflectiveness rather than decrease it.

Sealers work by filling in the small gaps between the pigment particles in matte paints. This improves the shine of the paint and makes it look more glossy. One important thing to note is that sealers are not glossing agents.

They are engineered to bring surface reflectiveness to a certain level. There are both gloss and semi-gloss finish sealers on the market, so be sure to choose the right one for your project.

How to determine the gloss level of paint?

Now that you know what makes gloss and matte paint different, let’s take a look at how to determine the gloss level of paint. There are a few ways to do this, and the method you choose will depend on the accuracy you need and the availability of the tools.

measuring gloss with gloss meter

The best and sure way to determine the gloss level of paint is to use a gloss meter. A gloss meter is a device that measures the amount of light reflected off the surface of a material. It is commonly used to test the gloss level of paints, plastics, and other surfaces.

If you don’t need a numerical value and just want to know if your paint is glossy or matte, you can simply eyeball at the paint and make a judgment call. Glossy paints will have a higher shine than matte paints, and the difference is usually pretty noticeable.

However, certain lighting conditions can make matte paints look glossier and vice versa. So, if you are unsure, it is always best to use a gloss meter. In natural light, glossy paints will appear shiny, while matte paints will look dull or flat. In artificial light, glossy paints will still appear shiny, but matte paints may look a little bit shinier than they do in natural light.

However, once the paint is applied to a surface and it starts to dry, the gloss level will almost always change from what it was when it was wet. So, if you are testing the gloss level of paint that is already on a surface, it is best to test it when it is completely dry.

You can also determine the gloss level of paint by its appearance in a photograph. High gloss paint will produce a reflection in the photograph, while matte paint will not. This is a less accurate way to measure gloss level, but it can be helpful if you are trying to match paint color.

It is always a good idea to test the gloss level of your paint on a small patch before you start painting your entire project.

How to make a Gloss paint Matte?

Now that you know how to determine the gloss level of your paint, we can move on to the different methods of making a gloss paint matte.

Mix with Flatting Agent

As we mentioned earlier, the most common way to do this is by adding a “flatting agent” to the paint.

Flatting agents are made of tiny particles that cover the surface of the paint, which helps to scatter the light and give it a matte appearance. Flatting agents can also improve the durability of the paint if the product is of good quality.

The most commonly used flatting agents:

  • Waxes (based on polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE))
  • Fumed silica,
  • Diatomaceous earth,
  • Heavy metal soaps
  • TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide)
Titanium dioxide powder
Titanium dioxide powder

Flatting agents must be added to the paint before you start painting. This is the most common way to use a flatting agent because it ensures that the agent is evenly mixed with the paint.

However, they can also be spray-applied to the surface of the wet paint, but this is not as common. When using a flatting agent, it is important to make sure that the paint is fully dry before adding more coats.

Apply Matte Paint On Top

Another way to make gloss paint matte is by adding a thin coat of matte paint over the top of the gloss paint. This will help to dull down the shine of the gloss paint by creating a less reflective surface.

If you want to maintain the color of the gloss paint, you can use matte paint that is the same color as the gloss paint.

There are also a few companies that make matte paint without any pigments, so it will not change the color of the gloss paint. This is a good option if you want to keep the original color and texture of the gloss paint, but just want to reduce the shine.

Seal with a Matte Sealer

Another way to make a gloss paint matte is by using a sealer. Sealers are made of tiny particles that cover the surface of the paint, just like flatting agents, but they can be matte or glossy.

So you can use a matte sealer to make a gloss paint matte or vice versa. Sealers work by filling in the small gaps between the pigment particles with calculated size and shape.

Matte sealers have larger and more irregular particles than gloss sealers. This prevents light from reflecting off the surface of the paint and gives it a matte appearance. While matte sealers do not completely remove the shine from gloss paints, they can reduce it significantly.

How to Make a Matte Paint Glossy?

There are also ways to make matte paint glossy.

Apply Gloss Paint On Top

Gloss paint applied on top of matte paint will give the surface a glossy finish. Since the gloss paint will be covering the matte paint, it will be the only layer that reflects light and gives the surface a shine.

The success rate of the application largely depends on the surface finish of the matte paint. If the surface is smooth, then the gloss paint will likely adhere well and give a glossy finish. However, if the surface is rough, the gloss paint may not adhere as well and could end up looking patchy.

Seal with a Gloss Sealer

Just like we mentioned earlier, sealers come in both semi-gloss and glossy finishes. If you want to make a matte paint glossy, you can use a gloss sealer.

The gloss sealer will fill in the small gaps between the pigment particles and give the surface a glossy finish. The gloss sealer will also cover any imperfections or irregularities on the surface of the matte paint, which can make it look a lot smoother.

However, it is important to note that using a gloss sealer doesn’t always produce good results due to the inconsistency of matte paints. A matte painted surface has a surface finish that is not as smooth as a glossy surface, so it can be difficult to get an even coat of gloss sealer.

Apply a Topcoat of Polyurethane or Polyacrylic 

Another way to make a matte paint glossy is by using a top coat of polyurethane or polyacrylic. A topcoat is a clear coat of paint that is applied over the finished product to protect it from scratches, fading, and other damage.

Both polyurethane and polyacrylic are clear coatings that will give a glossy finish to matte paint. They are both very durable and will help to protect the paint from fading and scratches.

However, polyurethane is a little more durable than polyacrylic and it also has a higher sheen. So if you are looking for a glossy finish that is also very durable, then polyurethane would be the better option.

It is important to note that using a topcoat will add an extra layer of protection to the paint, but it will also cover up any imperfections on the surface. If your matte paint is water-based don’t mix polyurethane with it or you will ruin the paint. Polyurethane is an oil-based product and it will not mix with water-based products.

You should first paint a basecoat of the color you want your matte paint to be. Once the basecoat is completely dry, create an oil-based topcoat that you will mix with polyurethane.


It is possible to make a gloss paint matte or vice versa. This can be achieved both before and after the paint is applied with the use of different products and techniques.

There are many different ways to make matte or gloss paint. The exact methods for doing so will depend on the paint itself, the application surface, and the desired reflectiveness. In most cases, it is possible to achieve the desired results by either mixing products with the wet paint or applying the product over the finished paint.

However, it is important to be aware that not all methods will produce good results every time. It is often necessary to experiment with different techniques to find the one that works best for your specific project. So don’t be afraid to try a few different methods on a smaller scale before applying them to your final project.

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