Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Home-made "Magic Dip"

So, I ran out of Devlan mud. It was bound to happen.. I use it on almost everything, including terrain. In fact I think that's where most of it went.
A while ago, I did a lot of reading about"Miracle Dip" made of Future Floor Wax and pigment. After reading it all, I decided that I didn't want to use a wood stain dip, or anything that required spirits or turps to clean up. This left the Future Floor Wax, or as it is known in the UK, Klear.

I had to hunt it down on ebay because AFAIK, it's no longer in production. I snagged 2 bottles for a few pounds.

At this point it got very confusing.. Lots of people use this home made wash, but nobody ever seemed to post their mixing ratios!
When I did the Kra'vak, I made some wash in my mixing tray out of 2 parts Klear to 1 part burnt umber mixed with a little black. It came out a lot like Devlan Mud, except for some small differences:

  • It was much thinner and runnier. GW Wash is quite thick, which I think is better because it seems to pool and dry in a better way.
  • It is very glossy. You will need to matt varnish the models if you don't want them to be glossy.
  • It worked well on the Kra'vak's armour.. But I'm not so sure it would work as well on humans.

Today's experiment is: "Can I make my own Devlan mud-like wash so I don't have to keep buying tiny bottles at big prices."
I expect it will behave slightly differently, but at worst it will probably be good for washing big terrain pieces.

So today I mixed up a batch of 1 dropper full of pure Sepia ink in a small bottle of Klear. When sloshed around in the bottle it left a similar amount of translucent colour on the sides of the bottle to the GW wash, and it was not possible to see through the bottle when still.. Which is promising.

Below is a series of photos I took making some black wash with exactly the same recipe.


1 bottle of Klear 
1 bottle of black acrylic ink 
1 empty plastic bottle from Boots

1. Mostly fill the bottle with Klear.
I figure that if it's too transparent, I can add more ink.. So best to leave some room in the bottle.

 2. Squeeze in one full dropper of ink
It looked like this.. Pretty freaky. volume-wise I'd say it was a ratio of 9 parts Klear to 1 part Ink. This is quite different to what I mixed last night.. But I'm hoping that ink behaves differently to paint as a pigment.

3. Put on lid and shake.
Looks pretty good.. And if it works that's one giant, cheap bottle of wash. Fingers crossed.

The reason I say "fingers crossed" is that I have not tried it yet. I plan to do some painting tomorrow and will find out then. GULP.


Ok, so I tried it out. Initially.. Too thin. I added 2 more full droppers of sepia ink and now it's good.
It's thinner than the GW product and behaves a little differently, but is excellent for washing figures in a slightly more 'old school' way without the ugly surface pooling.

I think I will use it slightly differently, but still very useful. And I won't feel bad slopping it all over terrain.. Plenty more where this came from!


  1. This link shows how to make GW washes. I've made several different colours and it works great.

    I like your page. Some good stuff on here.

  2. The Les Bursley wash recipe is an awesome way to put acrylic ink to work for mini painting, no doubt about it. I mix up his base recipe and use that with a variety of acrylic inks from Liquitex and Daler Rowney. I also use it with my regular paints in addition to water or matte-medium when I need or want a good thin paint.
    Working with Future/Klear is also great & one simple solution to the gloss finish it leaves is to mix it with 30% Tamiya Flat Base. You could also experiment with ordinary matte-medium.
    Congrats on posting up some great stuff. Very inspirational. Please keep it up.

  3. Hmmmm....this has inspired me to give it a shot. I never really thought about doing this until I read this article, thank you!

    Keep up the good work,

    1. Since I made this post I have only really used this home made stuff on large terrain pieces and the Kra-vak. It's great for buildings etc.

      Nowdays I find citadel washes are better suited to the way I paint, and the ammount of time I have for hobby stuff.