It’s not impossible to change the look of your paint and make the paint glossy if it’s not, especially if that’s your preference. It’s pretty easy to make paint glossy, and in this article, I will be guiding you on how to do that.

To make paint glossy, you will require a water-based polyacrylic varnish. Also, you will need to thoroughly clean the walls before applying the varnish, following the instructions/guidelines on the can. This type of varnish will help dry crystal clear. Also, asides from providing a glossy sheen, it will help provide an additional layer of protection.

The final finish of a coated surface has been recognized as of prime importance for both the formulator and the consumer. The glossier the final surface, the more stunning it looks. There is no doubt that glossy paint can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of the surface.

Today we’re spotlighting the most eye-catching of all: how to make paint glossy?

How to make flat paint glossy

What is glossy paint?

The word gloss refers to the sheen level of the paint. The higher the sheen level, the more reflective the paint will be. 

Gloss is about shine. It provides how much light is reflected from the surface of the paint. If a painted surface is very smooth and glass-like, the reflection is inclined to be “shiny” or “glossy.”

And also, gloss is a property of paint, not a kind or type of paint. Just about any kind or type of paint (oil, enamel, alkyd, latex) can be gloss or flat, or in between.

In the past, gloss paint was oil-based, was prone to yellowing, and could even contain harmful lead. Thankfully this is no longer the case as modern gloss paints are water-based, with minimal VOC content.

 Furthermore, gloss paint has a shiny surface which also makes it more washable than paint that doesn’t.  Gloss paint was almost made with an oil base, and therefore could be cleaned with any water-based cleaner without suffering seriously.

How do I make a flat paint surface glossy?

Flat paint is ideal for disguising tiny defects in walls, yet it has a matte finish that you might find dull. Giving flat paint a glossy, shiny appearance is possible if you use a glazing medium.

Providing a transparent, glossy look to the flat paint can be accomplished relatively quickly and with few supplies. Here there is some advice on how to make flat paint glossy.

To make a gloss paint out of a flat one, pour an amount of glazing compound or varnish equal to about 10 percent of the volume of flat paint you have into a large container, add the paint, and stir. Test the result and add more binders if the sheen isn’t glossy enough.

Do it incrementally, testing as you go, to avoid overdoing it and turning your paint into a semitransparent glaze.

If you wonder about making your flat paint glossy by mixing it with more gloss paint, keep in mind that you have to reduce the PVC in the flat paint by 25 percent or more.

How to Make Matte Paint Glossy

There are three ways by which you can make matte paint glossy, which are listed below:

  1. Mix the paint with a glossy/polished version of the exact type and color
  2. Mix the paint with the abovementioned varnish/ Apply a polyacrylic varnish
  3. A third option is mixing the paint with a glazing compound.

The three options above are excellent for making your matte paint glossy. However, regardless of your chosen method, you need to test a small amount first. It will help prevent you from ruining an entire paint can.

To make matte paint glossy, you need a water-based poly acrylic varnish. You know, transforming a room from matte to glossy with varnish will demand you to clean the walls, then apply the varnish as per instruction on the can.

This type of varnish dries crystal clear and supplies an added layer of protection, in addition to the glossy sheen.

If you want to make matte into glossy paint, you should mix the paint with the glossy version of the same type and color, mix with the abovementioned varnish, or a glazing compound.

Whichever method you choose, you should remember to test a small amount first if you would rather not ruin an entire can of paint.

1) Mixing the paint with a high-gloss or semi-gloss finish

You can purchase a can or more of the exact brand and color of paint. However, it must be in a high-gloss or semi-gloss finish. After purchasing, mix the containers to obtain the gloss level, you would prefer. A benefit of this method is that you won’t need to sacrifice paint quality or application, although this method won’t give you a full gloss look.

2) Mixing With/ Applying a Polyacrylic Varnish

You can make your paint glossy by mixing it with a polyacrylic varnish. There is no recommended method for mixing these two as it only depends on the type of paint and varnish, including the surface application, application type, and other factors.

Polyacrylic varnish is a water-based finish and will help turn your flat/matte wall into a glossy wall. Since they dry quickly, you can typically apply many coats in one day. Polyacrylic varnishes also come in aerosols for easy application. If you have already painted walls or surfaces, you can make them glossy by applying polyacrylic varnish directly.

Wallpaper varnish is also effective in creating a glossy effect on your matte walls and giving your wall a shiny look, including other surfaces you choose to apply it on.

If you wish to transform your existing cans of matte paint into gloss, it would be best to choose this method. Don’t forget to do extensive testing before putting the mixture on your walls.

3) Mixing the paint with a glazing compound

This method is similar to the procedure explained in (2) above. A glazing compound like polyacrylic varnish or identical to it is effective. You need to mix your paint with it, apply it to your walls, and get that glossy look you like.

How to make matte acrylic paint glossy?

Acrylic paint is water-based and non-toxic paint used by artists that have a small amount of sheen when dry. It is possible to make matte acrylic paint look shinier and glossier if that is a more desired look.

One way to make matte acrylic paint look glossy is to use a gel medium. A gel medium is a type of thickener that is used to make the paint more viscous. And it makes the paint more transparent, which may give it a glossy appearance.

There are several types of gel mediums available, so it is important to select one that is compatible with the type of paint you are using.

How to make flat paint into semi-gloss?

Making flat paint into semi-gloss does not have a hard and fast rule for achieving a specific sheen.

Buy a can of semi-gloss. Use the flat for the first coat, and then the semi-gloss for the second coat. But make sure you get good coverage with the second coat, or you will be doing a third coat just to get an even surface.

How to Make Spray Paint Glossy

Spray paint is easy to use and ranges from matte to glossy when dry. To make spray paint glossy:

1) First, prime the wall or piece you are painting. How do you prime? To prime, you must use enamel spray paint in your chosen color. Enamel paints are best for priming as they help smoothen uneven surfaces. Also, they help prepare the piece/material for the paint adhesion that you will add to make it glossy.

2) Paint your wall/ piece with one or two coats of high-gloss spray paint in your preferred color. It would be best to choose a higher quality, name-brand paint to ensure proper coverage and increase the painted item’s durability.

3) Allow your freshly painted wall/surface dry overnight; however, it should be in a clean, well-ventilated space. Doing this will help prevent dirt and other elements from sticking to the damp paint, as the wall/piece will be tacky to the touch for many hours.

4) Adjust any final spot that requires an extra boost of color before adding your final gloss.

5) Coat the wall/surface entirely with a layer of clear gloss finishing spray. The coat will make the wall/surface shine more to give it a professional finish. It also provides a form of protection against scratches and cuts.

What Does High Gloss Paint Contain?

You need to understand the paint ingredients before understanding what is in high gloss paint. Two vital constituents of paint are pigment and binders. There is a third main ingredient, which is solvent.

  • Pigment

The pigment is what gives the paint a particular color. It is primarily a ground-up type of metal that possesses specific color characteristics. The pigment doesn’t stick to a surface and so requires a binder. The pigment doesn’t stick to a surface because it is not liquid.  The binder helps to hold it all together and distribute it evenly.

  • Binder

Binder is otherwise known as resin. The binder helps the pigment stick to a surface, hold it all together and distribute it evenly.

  •  Solvent

The solvent in paint is the liquid that eventually evaporates and allows them to dry, leaving just the pigment, binder, and other additives on a surface.

In high gloss paint, the more the gloss, the lesser the number of pigment particles versus binder. If there are more pigments, it implies a less uniform distribution of pigment particles within the binder.

If there are more pigments, it gives a rougher-microscopically surface that reflects light in various directions. A reflection of light in an uneven pattern will make the paint look “matte” or flat.

A different case is when there is a reduced number of pigment particles and an increase in the binder volume. In this situation, you will have a smoother surface that permits light to reflect evenly off the binder unhindered by excessive pigment particles. This gives a uniform reflection, thus, a high gloss finish.

Why is glossy paint important?

Nevertheless, each type of finish has its importance, a glossy paint gives noticeably better results and is more long-lasting in comparison to other paint finishes. Still, wondering why should you choose glossy paint? Here are a few compelling reasons:

  • Because glossy paint has a high level of sheen, it is commonly used nearly everywhere. The reflection of glossy paint gives the room a more special look.
  • Gloss paint is also super easy to clean. Utilizing it in kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas is a good idea as it is easy to clean.
  • And also, glossy paint provides a much brighter and bolder look than the same color shade in low gloss. Glossy paints reflect light and make the paint color look more colorful and more vivid.
  • Paints that result in glossy paint are harder and tougher in texture. So, these paints will ensure that the painted surface is moisture resistant and will prevent cracks on the paint that are triggered by humidity trappings or pipe leakages within the walls.
  • Choosing glossy paint can be good for houses with messy young children and animals as the cleaning process only requires a cloth and some soap and water.
  • And, it is well-suited paint for cabinets, doors, and edges that are commonly touched and prone to discoloration.  Above all, glossy paint also reflects light off from its surface, giving the room a luminous feel that can brighten the space.
  • No point in thinking about why glossy paints the best choice for your kitchen, bathroom, and children’s bedrooms are. These areas are arguably spaces that are most prone to dirt, grime, mold, and grease from grease, humidity, and fingertips, respectively.

What Makes Paint Glossy/Shiny?

Pigment Volume Concentration (PVC) is the literal amount of pigment particles in paint, and the higher the pigment particles, the higher the PVC concentration. The formula for PVC concentration is Pigment Volume/ (Pigment Volume + Binder Volume) * 100

Matte finishes are anything above 45%, while gloss finishes are below 15%; thus, more binder means less pigment, which means a lower PVC.

A binder helps create a smooth glossy surface. If there isn’t much binder, the pigment particles jumble to the surface, reflect light and gives a non-glossy look. It is also what makes matte paint more absorbent. Less pigment equals more binder, which offers a smoother finish as the binder is smooth and gives an even reflection of light, thus, providing beautiful glossy paint on your wall.

Is it Possible to De-gloss Gloss Paint?

As humans, we tend to change our decisions and preferences. Using glossy paint and later feeling like changing it can be described as a change of taste that is familiar to us humans. It could also be a result of an error made. Perhaps, it was never your idea or preference. If you have used glossy paint and wish to de-gloss it, that is not a problem as it’s possible to de-gloss it.

There are two ways of de-glossing glossy paint which are:

Chemical method

Mechanical method

  • Chemical Method

1) Wear heavy, chemical-resistant eye goggles and gloves. You must wear them before you begin to protect your eyes and skin from the drying effects of the chemical sander

2) Get a container and pour some chemical sander into it. Ensure that the mouth is large enough to contain the paintbrush. You can make the quantity about 1 inch deep.

3) Using a disposable paint brush, apply the sander to the surface and leave it to sit for five minutes. Wipe it off after. Ensure to use a clean cloth. It will help remove any dust and oil. Leave it for two hours and wipe over it again with a tack cloth to remove the top layer of the paint.

  • Mechanical Method

1) Get an orbit sander and apply a fine 360-grit metal oxide sandpaper to its pad.

2) Press the paper firmly in place. Doing so will help engage the hook and eye material on the underside of the sander pad.

3) Run the sander with the wood grain and work across the surface. It would help if you did it in straight, overlapping rows to ensure proper coverage. Also, ensure to use a dust mask and goggles for protection.

4) Clean the dust with a cloth or rag, focusing on the joints and areas that are difficult to access to avoid the spreading of dust into a new finish.

5) Wet your rag/cloth with mineral spirits, and clean the surface using the damp rag

Pigment Volume/(Pigment Volume + Binder Volume) x 100

More pigment equals less gloss – pigment particles make light scatter, creating a non-reflective surface. Since there are more pigment particles occupying the volume of the paint, this also means there is less binder.

Flat paints are generally those with a large PVC, while the PVC of gloss paints is small. There is a table here that shows PVC in paints.

Flat38% to 80%
Eggshell35% to 40%

Benefits of Glossy Paint

 You may think that paint with more pigment is of higher quality or will last longer. However, that is not the case at all. Below are some benefits of glossy paint:


Increased pigment in matte paints can scratch and scuff effortlessly. Glossy paints, with higher binder content, will mitigate damage further as the pigment content is less and is more protected within the binder.

Creates an Accent

Gloss paint complements your room and gives a feature in a room that catches the eye.

Resistance to High Humidity 

Both glossy paints are durable and act as a shield against humidity. In no way is glossy paint waterproof, or even water-resistant. Nevertheless, the increased binder content creates a more complete bond that will resist water particles more than matte paint.

Bold and Dramatic Colors

 It goes without saying that glossy paint can make any color look bolder and more stunning. Gloss creates a light reflection, which makes the color appear shiny. And also, glossy paint is a great way to attract attention to trim or walls that you’d like emphasized in your home.


Glossy paint is washable. The sheen of glossy paint gives a chance to you to wipe down surfaces without risking damage to the paint. Since matte is more susceptible to water damage, you cannot clean it as well as glossy paint surfaces.

Highly Reflective 

If you want to brighten up space in your house, glossy paint is extremely effective. Since the reflective properties of gloss are ideal, you can take a good space and some glossy paint that will create an extremely bright, welcoming space in your home regardless of windows and natural light.

Pairs Well with Other Finishes

Another great advantage of glossy paint is that you may use it with any other type of paint finish with excellent results. For example, you can paint your trim with high gloss and your walls with semi-gloss, which will accentuate the trim – or vice versa. You may use glossy wall paint with matte ceiling paint to draw attention away from your ceiling – the options are endless.


 Making flat paint glossy used to be a difficult task. But these days, there are updates that will allow you easily and quickly change your paint into a shiny gloss.

Try to remember that before you do any extensive painting or finishing, to always test on your wall in out-of-the-way, inconspicuous areas first.

With all that in mind, be sure that you will be able to easily make flat paint glossy.


What makes paint glossy?

The level of resinous, adhesive binders that make become hard after drying. Also, powdery pigments are part of what makes paints glossy.

Is it possible to make flat paint glossy?

Yes, it is possible. To make a gloss paint out of a flat one, pour an amount of glazing compound or varnish equal to about 10 percent of the volume of flat paint you have into a large container, add the paint, and stir. 

What should I add to the paint to make it more glossy?

To achieve even more gloss, apply a high gloss varnish.

Can you make flat paint glossy?

Of course, you can. You can make flat paint glossy by pouring an amount of varnish or glazing compound, which should be about 10% of the volume of the flat paint you have, into a bucket or an enormous container, adding the paint, and stirring.

What can make gloss paint not shiny?

If your gloss paint is not shiny, it could be either of the following factors:

* You used thinners wrongly
* You did not prime the surface properly
* The surface is not properly undercoated, or you did not give the undercoat enough time to dry
* Overbrushing of the final coat

Can I add polyurethane to the paint?

Yes, you can. As long as the paint is fully cured and clean, you can add both water-based and oil-based polyurethane over whatever type of paint. However, you must be cautious of discoloration, especially from oil-based polyurethane.