Am attempting to mix some Van Son rubber based primary pantone inks into a specific pantone color. I figured I would take the formulas and just weigh them out on a gram scale (.10 gm accuracy). Turns out I would have to mix way more than I want if I use this method. Do others out there mix by weight? If so, any thoughts on a scale that works well for this, or do I just pay someone to mix a pound of ink for me? Thanks

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Fellow printer,

Why do you want to mix more ink than you need? It would be costly. Follow formula, but cut down on the quantities mathematically. Example: If formula calls for 10 parts of a color and 2 parts of another…. mix 5 parts to 1 and you will be mixing half the amount.. You can cut down more if need be same way. I used to mix ink without scale, by estimating, mixing, ” dabbing” out color with finger until I reached what I wanted by adding or reducing more or less of each color.
Before Pantone, pressmen many times mixed inks this way. Only time I had the ink house
mix inks is when we needed a large quantity or when we expected to repeat a job and wanted to match color exact. Most of this is common sense. Not complicated!

Good Luck!


Sal, Thanks for your comments, although they don’t address the actual question I posed. Obviously you can factor the ink recipe to produce any volume you want. I am asking how others actually make up pantone colors that are, say 80 parts transparent white with 8 parts of reflex blue, a few parts rubine red and some yellow.

I agree with Sal. Just reduce your recipe.
We commonly use a triple balance scale, and i often cut my recipe down to about half or quarter quantities (50g -25g). You will still get a fairly accurate mix at this batch size.
One thing i would consider if you reduce the recipe is to see if your color calls for a very tiny amount of any colors, which may be hard to halve, or quarter accurately.
Like, if your recipe is 93 parts trans base, 6.5 parts red, and .5 parts black, then it might be tough to get exactly a quarter of the .5 black. Try mixing the red and the black at the full quantities, to ensure accuracy, and then take a half or a quarter of that mix and add it to your reduced amount of trans base in order to get an accurate mix.
Hope that helps.
good luck

To expand on the last part of Natron’s comment, you can mix in multiple steps when mixing a color that requires a high ratio of one ink to another (there a some Pantone colors that require 500:1 ratios or even higher!). I also have a scale with 0.1 gram accuracy and I find it difficult to accurately measure less than about a half gram at a time.

So, let’s say you’re mixing an ink that requires 1 part Red and 99 parts White. Rather than measure 1 gram of Red with 99 grams of White, you can save ink by doing the following:

1. Mix 1 gram of Red with 9 grams of White to form a mixture with a 1:9 Red to White ratio.

2. Take 1 gram of the above mixture and mix it with another 9 grams of White.

You now have a 1:99 ratio and you’ve only used 18 grams of White ink. Obviously, I’ve used a very simple example — it gets much more complicated when you’re talking about more complex ratios… but the concept is the same. I had to set up a spreadsheet that helps me do the calculations.

Or you can spend $45 and have Van Son mix it for you.

thanks…i think i am trying to mix too small a quantity. will shoot for 50 grams as a minimum. thanks for tip on premixing the smaller color amounts together at larger measures, clever.