Easily Pour Paint From Small Cans





Introduction: Easily Pour Paint From Small Cans

You can find all posts related to this project in full here on my blog.

We all know what a pain it is to pour paint out. I tried to google to see if there was some sort of life hack for this but found none so I made my own. I honestly don't even know why we still use cans shaped like they are. I get not using plastic because the metal is probably easier to recycle and more resistant (plus it keeps out light), but surely they could add better lids. This isn't so much a problem on big cans for me, so this solution doesn't work for them. With bigger cans you usually need to use large amounts at once and you tend to use the can all at once (say to paint a room) so controlling the amount isn't such a problem. But with small cans this works great and I'm sure you could modify this to something larger if you find a large enough bottle, or you could pour larger cans into smaller empty ones and reuse them if say you bought something in bulk but only use a small amount at a time.


Soda Bottle or any Plastic Bottle that has a Recycling 1 - PET or PETE plastic is resistant to most chemicals (mineral spirits, etc) you're bound to come in contact with if you're doing art/diy/woodworking (so paints, varnishes, turps, etc). Here's the PET specific chart because some of them are missing from the next link. If you're working with other types of chemicals you can check to see what plastic type is resistant to them. This is the most comprehensive chart I found. Great to keep on hand for reference. Keep in mind the substance will only contact the plastic shortly so even if it doesn't have excellent resistance this will still work.

Scissors/Razor Blade

Calipers (Optional) - Makes it easier to get the diameter of the opening right.

Silicone Caulk/Epoxy Glue (Optional) - To permanently glue it in place.

Step 1: Steps

First you're going to want to measure the diameter of the opening of the can. You're going to cut slightly bigger than that. You can just use the groove in the sealed cap for reference. If it fits that, it'll fit the can.

Then with the calipers it's easy to mark this line on the bottle but you could also just cut it by eye and adjust it as you go on.

Once it's cut clean the bottle, let it dry if whatever you're going to be capping does not mix with water.

Place it over the sealed can. It should fit snug against the cap/opening.

Now you can open the can and hold it in place and pour. If it's a glue or a varnish if you just let it get around the rim and leave it for a day or two it should seal by itself. I'd still suggest holding it, but you won't need to be as careful. You can do it with one hand like I did below and wipe the cap with the other when you're done. You cap it like a regular bottle and it's much easier to clean if it's a very sticky substance.

If you want this to be permanent you can glue it in place with some silicone caulk or epoxy glue or something. The can edge should be clean/dry when you do this so it'd be best to do this the first time you open the can. If the substance is very light sensitive you should keep this in a dark place or alternatively cover the plastic cap with a layer of paint or a dark plastic bag or something.

Step 2: Final Result

And there you go! Easy cheap solution, and you can also then use the bottom of those bottles to hold your paint/varnish like so. And with some clean film you can get it to keep for a day or two if you have a small amount left over (depends on the substance). You can also leave your brush dipped in a little bit of turpentine or mineral spirits if you'll be using it for a few days straight and don't want to be cleaning it constantly. Basically it's a great endless supply of disposable containers.

If the cap on the bottle gets stuck you can also just un-stick the entire thing (if you didn't make it permanently) and just make it a brand new one.



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    Great idea, thank you for sharing!

    Very good idea.

    Muchas gracias! muy buen aporte, es una ocurrencia sencilla y buena.

    Very good idea!!!!

    I'd suggest sealing with a hot glue gun....

    I probably would if it where paint, but regular varnish formed a stronger seal than I thought. In fact I recently had to take it off because I'd finished the can and wanted to reuse it for another and I had to use quite some force to dislodge it.

    Tip: never leave a paint brush sitting in water or solvent overnight. Stop painting for the day in time to give your brushes a thorough cleaning. I can't tell you how many really good brushes I've seen totally ruined when the painter left his brush sitting in solvent, then got called away for something and couldn't get back for several days. By the time He/she got back, the solvent or water had evaporated, leaving the brush hard and useless from dried paint. Several hours of hard work and soaking in acetone or lacquer thinner could remove most of the dried paint, but most of the time the bristles had been bent so badly out of shape that the brush was still useless. You would be amazed at how long even a disposable chip brush will last if you clean it up at the end of the working day. I have a 3" hog bristle brush that I bought in 1977, and its still in usable condition. The only reason that you should have to throw away a paint brush is because the bristles have been so worn away by friction against the surfaces being painted that they can no longer hold paint.

    I usually only leave them if there's leftover varnish, and only maybe 4 days max, checking everyday. They clean just fine after.

    Even easier, slightly dent the side of the can near the top. This allows you to place the pour lower, and further in the receiving container., No spill, no muss, no extra parts.

    Not sure what you mean but you've given me the idea of trying to cut it so that the caps closer to one of the edges next time.

    this is such a good idea,takes no time at all and if you measure right you only have to cut one bottle!!so that justs cost a nickel (deposit)now I have to make something so I can try it out.ha ha thanks frank