Contrasting opinions: how to diy contrast and speedpaints

Hey all,

@Reaver and i have been talking about diy contrast or speedpaint like paints for quite a while now. We figured a recipy and tips and tricks thread could be great for the entire forum, so here it is!

Now, reaver used this page as a basis for his experiments.

Feel free to add replies with recipies and feedback!

I suggest we post the recipe and a picture of the result or maybe even of a comparison between the diy and what its mimicking if possible!

I ordered some mediums and will start testing stuff in a few days!


Table of content



I’ve found these links to be very useful experimenting with paints including contrasts. I will probably edit this post over time and expound upon my results when I have more time but I wanted to get this information out there at the beginning of the thread for folks to experiment.

I’ve bought one bottle of nuln oil in my life and since then I’m never going back. The price point is absurd if you are willing to tinker with the cheap raw materials purchased in “bulk”. I would also state that once you have your recipe dialed in you can tinker with it on a model by model basis, tweak your opacity and flow properties to suit your needs.

What I buy:
Liquitex Acrylic Artist Inks (Black, Burnt Umber, etc)
Winsor & Newton Matt Medium
Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver

A good general guide to the arsenal of products that are cheap and allow for tuning your paint recipes. Understanding is the first step to taking full advantage of these products. Granted a lot of it is trial and error with experimenting by feel. Still I found this video well worth a watch.
Science of Acrylic Paints for Hobbyists - Mel the Terrain Tutor

This is the video that got me started down the path of DIY technical paints and washes. A great resource and he touches on the use of jet-dry (rinse-aid?) which I have tried and tested for super cheap bulk terrain projects. Given that the “artists” products are still an order of magnitude cheaper per volume than GW I don’t necessarily see the need to go mega budget option but figured I’d mention it.
Luke’s APS How to make Nuln Oil and Agrax

And another from the Geek Gaming God Luke. Similar to the washes recipes and contrasts recipes to be honest. I’ve used this for ghostly effects over white primed models and also for verdigris.
Nihilakh Oxide
Pretty sure you have to gargle when you pronounce that word.

More to come, excited for this thread and to see what others noodle up.


Don’t want to open a new thread because I think it fits well here: I’m looking for a suitable matte medium for DIY paints (i.e. pigment + (optional) dispersion medium + acrylic medium) and washes. Obviously, there are the usual suspects (Citadel and Vallejo) but they are way overpriced for what they are.

Can you recommend the W&N medium @Reaver? I would be interested if it is comparable to Vallejo VMC in terms of mattness.

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I recommend the Windsor & Newton. It’s the only matte medium I’ve ever used for washes.

Unfortunately that means I’ve never bought any other mediums to compare against. As you mentioned they’re too expensive.

With the combination above I can get washes indistinguishable from nuln oil and agrax but that’s the only point of comparison I can make.

Perhaps the matteness would be called into question if I used this medium over some of the more supermatte brands of paint that other folks on here frequent. I use primarily Vallejo game color.


Thank you, that helps a lot! Absolutely fine if it ends up slightly on the satin side like Citadel or VGC. I was just a bit hesitant since I’ve experimented with some artist acrylics before and they had a rather glossy finish.

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Definitely share any wash experiments you try! Or if you use it for other types of custom paint.

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