Saving Leftover Paint

Category Garage
If you want to save leftover paint, it is important to store it properly. Proper storage will ensure that it is still usable when you need it. This is a page about saving leftover paint.


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Up-cycle your old squeeze ketchup bottles. I use them to store my leftover water based paints. I use a funnel to pour the paint into the bottle and a rubber spatula to scrap the remaining paint from the can. Nothing is wasted, the empty can is nearly spotless.

They are easy to use, takes minimal shelf space, and stores for years in the plastic bottle. I also label them with the peel off label from the paint can, or with permanent marker. I have been using this method for over 15 years now and it really works well for me.

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When you are done with a small glass jar with a screw lid, wash both pieces well and dry. The next time you have a paint job before putting the lid on the can, pour some into your little jar and store it.


When it's time to do a little touch up or small repair you can easily grab the right jar by the color. It's very easy to mix up and you don't need to lug out the big can and do all that tedious mixing!

By Tahloolabelle from Ventura, CA

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October 23, 2006

Cut a piece of aluminum foil and place it directly on top of the paint. You can use the paint can lid as a template for cutting the foil.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 12, 2008

I have paint in very large containers that my painter used to paint my entire house. How can I put some in smaller containers that I can actually use to touch up small areas? Thank you.


September 12, 20080 found this helpful

I pour it into pint jars and put a piece of plastic wrap over the jar before screwing the lid on. Then I write on a piece of freezer tape the color, where I bought it, and when and where I used it and stick it to the side of the jar.

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September 15, 20080 found this helpful

Don't remember what they cost, but Home Depot & Lowe's have a thingy made for this purpose. Even has a brush attached so you can unscrew it, do the touchup & put the cover back on.

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By Jane (Guest Post)
September 16, 20080 found this helpful

If you have an automotive paint supplier close by, they sell cone shaped strainers and small (pint) paint cans. Be sure to keep the lid off the old can as it should have the "recipe" for the paint code on it.


(if it was a mix). I work in a body shop and this is what I would do.

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By Becky (Guest Post)
September 16, 20080 found this helpful

I reuse baby food jars just for this purpose. I have one jar for each different paint color in my house. I just labeled the jars with the paint's location, and voila! Any time I need to touch up, it's easy to just grab the little jar and a paintbrush and get to work.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 17, 2010

To be thrifty with my storage space, I save the leftover paint in a small gladware type container rather than the large paint can. I write all important paint info (like the store, color name or mix, and room) on it with a sharpie. I just did touch ups in my kitchen with almost 2 year old paint, so I know it doesn't dry out.


By Christine J


Save Leftover Paint in Smaller Containers

Another good container is a plastic peanut butter jar. They seal very tightly and can be shaken as well as stirred. A 2-inch brush will fit without interference. (06/17/2004)

By Jon in Birmingham

Save Leftover Paint for Touch-ups

My tip is: When you're painting a room and you have a small amount of paint leftover, don't throw it away. Find a small container to put it in, preferably a tin or a jar, close the lid tight, label it and save it for touch-ups.

By Lisa

Editor's Note: Another good idea is to put a label on the jar with the batch code number from the can, the exact paint name, the manufacturer name and the solvent that can be used for cleaning brushes. (08/27/2004)

Handy Touch Up Paint

After painting, pour some leftover paint in an empty jar, (such as a baby food jar) and label it for an easy way to walk around doing easy touch up jobs on walls. You can carry it around easier and may actually be tempted to touch up the spot quicker than if you had to haul out the big can of paint.



By Gary S

Save Leftover Paint in Smaller Containers

Just in case you don't happen to have a small container and are determined to save the big can and sure to store it upside down. That way it will not get the thick film on the top and will be easier to mix/shake. (12/29/2004)

By Dana

Touch Up Paint

When painting a room, keep a small jar and fill it with the paint, mark the color and which room it's from on it, and you'll have it at hand in no time to do quick touch ups in the room.

By Regina

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