The Science

Welcome, Fellow Paint Nerd
Dr dab paint scientist chemist

We see so many terms and phrases being thrown around in the paint industry, with some brands inventing words just to give the illusion of a technical knowledge.

At Dab, not only do we really know our stuff, but we feel it is important to share the knowledge. As a paint consumer, it may interest you to find out what exactly makes a good paint good. It is also important for our environment for you lovely people to understand how paint is made and what ingredients can be found in ours and other paints. With this knowledge you'll be able to dispose of all your other paint brands responsibly to make way for Dab and paint the planet happy!

How Our Paints Are Made

Pure Powdered Earth Pigments

Aside from the soya bean component, our pigments are the most important and beautiful part of our paint. 

We use pigments in their natural pure powdered form which allows us to show off colours in their most vibrant tone.

Many companies shy away from using this form of pigment as it can be messy and the process of mixing the paint is laborious, however we prefer the quality of the pure pigments, so we are sticking with them! The soya bean oil within the paint is also the perfect binder for the pigment as it allows the powder to disperse throughout the paint evenly, far better than acrylic paints would allow.

Stir-In Technology

In most cases, paint companies will turn their pigment into a liquid form and stir that through their paint base. This process is not only an extra manufacturing step that uses a lot of energy, but additional chemicals are used to enable the process.

As we stir our powdered pigment directly into our paint, we are skipping both the liquifying manufacturing process and the unnecessary extra chemicals. We are able to skip these steps as our soya bean oil works brilliantly to evenly distribute and disperse the powdered pigment. This process also prevents separation, like when you leave a pot of paint for a while and all the pigment settles at the bottom and needs to be throughly mixed back together, dab prevents this, resulting in even colour results from the first brush stroke to the last.


What's In Our Paint?

Let's start with what is not in our paint. Unlike many mineral paints on the market, this is not an acrylic, latex or vinyl paint. Dab is a soya paint, which makes it an organic plant based product. Our unique formula has allowed us to move away from the acrylic and latex bases, and one of the huge benefits of this is we do not have to add any fungicides. Acrylic and vinyl paints need these chemicals to prevent mould and mildew growing on the paint, both inside and outside of the can, but soya paint is not prone to bacteria or mould growth, so we can happily be rid of all fungicides. This is an additional property of our paint that takes eco friendliness one step further than many brands and can enable some allergy sufferers to use our paint. If you have any allergies or suffer from skin irritation due to certain preservatives or chemicals, we strongly advise you to do a small patch test before use and to get in touch with us with any queries prior to use.

Let's take a general look at all the components to a generic paint, and what their purposes are. Most paints comprise of four main ingredients:

  • Pigments
  • Binders
  • Solvents 
  • Additives

These four components are the basis for many different types of paints from water based to solvent based, but by changing the individual ingredients a superior and more eco friendly paint can be achieved. Each of these components play a vital role in allowing a paint to perform in the way you would expect. We can break down their individual roles:


These are effectively what give the paint its colour and hiding properties. In some cases, the more pigment in a paint, the less transparency of the layer below.
The pigments we use are of high quality and are natural pure earth pigments. This type of pigment gives brilliant vibrant colours and also helps us be more consistent with our colour tones. You will find that many other brands will use pigments suspended in fluids and mixed with additives to make dyes or used from concentrate. We have chosen the most traditional pigments, using ingredients that have been favoured over a history of hundreds of years.


The ingredients used for the binders will directly correlate to a paints performance. It is the binders that will give the paint its adhesion qualities, durability, UV resistance and scratch resistance. This is where we have placed the power of the soya bean. Using the extracts of soya beans within our binders has not only given us a plant based alternative to synthetic ingredients, but has in-fact provided us with superior properties ideal for furniture painting.


Effectively these are just a liquid that make it possible to combine the binders and pigments. It is what gives the paint its liquid state that enables us to get the paint from the can to our brush, and then to a surface. Solvents are not necessarily petroleum or alcohol based, in-fact the most common solvent is water. The ratio of a solvent can be a good indicator of how good a paint is. High quality paints allow for more solids, the volume of solid ingredients will give us an indication of how much paint will remain on the surface once the liquids have evaporated. The solvent in our paint is water based with an impressively low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content.


This is where you can add ingredients to give a paint different performance properties. For example, thickening agents are introduced to give a paint it's texture. You will find this is where some brands will add chalks and other minerals to thicken up the paint in a way to differentiate their paint from others.

Surfactants or soaps can also be added here which help keep pigments dispersed which results in more even colour coverage.

There are a huge list of other additives that can be applied, ranging from biocides and co-solvents, each providing another unique property.

We have kept our additive list very simple, which includes natural minerals as a thickening agent, but we wanted to keep our paint as simple and natural as possible ensuring we don't take the spotlight away from the star of the show, our lovely soya beans!


Environmental Science


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are talked about a great deal in the world of paint, however, they are in no way limited to paint. Just by looking at the second word, "organic" gives us a clue that this can be a natural occurring event.

Chemically speaking, VOCs are organic materials that turn to vapour at room temperature. A VOC has a boiling point lower than the temperature of your room, so it is constantly turning from a solid to a gas, or "off-gassing". At the last count there are over 900 chemicals in this category, and not all of them are man made. For example, oak trees emit "isoprene" which is a VOC. Even you and I with each breath emit VOC's

So in a nutshell, VOC's are gasses emitted by certain chemicals and organisms that can be harmful to our environment dependent on the chemical or natural source, and the quantity of it being emitted.

It is in our planets interest to reduce the usage of chemicals that emit harmful and large amounts of VOCs, so of course, as in line with our mission, that is what we have done. We are proud to have achieved one of the lowest VOC contents in the paint market.

If you would like to learn a little more on VOCs, please continue reading here...



Biocides & Fungicides

These can be found in latex and vinyl paints, they are added to protect the paint from bacteria while in the can, acting as a preservative, and to protect the paint finish from mildew and mould.

Although it is necessary to include these biocides in most cases, paint does break down, meaning over time they can make their way into the environment. There are many different types of biocides used in some paints, including organic compounds such as IPBC (Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate), OIT (octylisothiazolinone), terbutryn, diuron, isoproturon, and many others.

Due to our unique formula, there is no need for Biocides or fungicides, giving us yet another brownie point with Mother Nature.