Is Color Changing Paint Fact or Fiction?

There has been much debate about whether this product actually exists

Photo of different color spray paint cans

In this ProQuip In The Mix Blog, we take a closer look at color changing paint, technologies it employs and its ability to actually change color.

The debate regarding the existence of color changing paint centers around the definition of color-changing. For some, the surface color – of a wall or car for example – needs to change in some way, even if it’s subtle/partial and ephemeral. For others, the surface color needs to change completely from one hue to another (e.g., red to blue) and remain in that state indefinitely. The latter is likely to be the most accepted based on pure speculation.

Regardless of the definition, technology determines how the paint changes color and its characteristics. Below we take a closer look at each of these technologies to determine if color changing paint is more fact or fiction.

Iridescent Paint (aka chameleon or pearlescent paint)

Iridescent paint does not allow you to change the surface color of an object from one color to another. Instead, the color change is more subtle and ephemeral. The paint looks different based on the viewing angle and light source. The visual effect looks cool, though (see for yourself on this McLaren P1 supercar). The cost can also be significant.

Brand Name(s): ChromoFlair

Verdict: The paint really doesn’t change color, parts of it just look different based on where you are standing and if you are moving.

Electroluminescent Paint (aka paramagnetic paint)

Electroluminescent paint is a painted circuit that is applied in 4-5 layers using a standard spray gun. An alternating current power source wired to the electroluminescent paint makes it “light up.”

In the hands of a skilled artist, and a lot of masking/taping, electroluminescent paint can be used to create stunning patterns and visual effects on a variety of surface materials and shapes. This includes motorcycle fuel tanks, car body panels, building signage and even plane fuselages.

Brand Names: Lumilor, LitCoat

Verdict: Again, the paint doesn’t change color, it lights up / glows.

Electrophoretic Displays

An electrophoretic display is just that – a display. It is not paint. They are most known for their use in Amazon Kindles for their ability to use ambient light to display an image without power.

Why are electrophoretic displays in this discussion about color-changing paint? Mainly because of a BMW initiative to dynamically change the color of a car by wrapping it in eInk electrophoretic displays. While there are questions about durability, production processes and available colors (apparently black and white only at the moment), this technology could make its way on to a production car at some point in the future.

Brand Names: eInk

Verdict: While the electrophoretic displays can change from one hue to another, and remain in that hue indefinitely, a display is not paint.


Yes, there are several types of paint currently on the market that have limited color-changing capabilities. However, none are capable of being rolled onto a wall in your kitchen and changed from red to blue with the flick of a light switch. Like many technologies, development comes in iterative steps, and the ones we’ve seen so far could one day lead to a true color-changing paint

For More Information

ProQuip tank agitators have been used in the production of a variety of paints and coatings. For more information on ProQuip mixing solutions, email or call us at 330-468-1850.

Sources: Warnock Auto