How to Properly Store Leftover Paint

How to Properly Store Leftover Paint
Photo: Sebastian Duda, Shutterstock

Though a 4L bucket of paint is technically supposed to cover 37 sq m, that’s not always the case. Plus, you may be painting a space and not know exactly how big it is. Either way, it can be easy to incorrectly estimate how much paint you need for a project, and end up with some leftover when you’re done.

And while it may be tempting just to pop the lid back on the paint can to store it, there are better ways to do that. Here are some tips for doing that.

Choose the right container

The trick to keeping paint fresh is by keeping air out of it. This makes canning jars perfect for the job, thanks to their airtight seal. Plus, because they’re clear, you’ll be able to easily see the colour of the paint. Once you have the jars, stir the paint that’s leftover in its can, and use a funnel to transfer it to the canning jar.

If you don’t have canning jars on hand and need to store the paint right away, your best bet is placing a piece of plastic wrap over the opening of the can (or other container), putting its lid back on, and then closing it tightly. If you’re using the paint’s original can, use a rubber mallet to tap on the lid so it forms an airtight seal.

Label the container

Next, label the jar so you know exactly what kind of paint you have, and when it was opened. Consider including information on the label like:

  • Brand of paint
  • Colour
  • Type
  • Sheen/Finish
  • Room/Furniture

Store it in the right place

It’s best to store paint in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight. While that’s a good idea when dealing with any kind of paint, it’s especially important when paint is stored in clear glass jars. Also, you’ll want to make sure that it’s a place where the temperature stays above freezing — ideally, between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 25 degrees Celsius). Finally, make sure to put the paint on a high shelf, away from food, drink, and children.

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