I am a bit of a paint hoarder. I like to hang onto used cans of paint, for crafting and paint touchups. We often work on small projects, and I like to have lots of choices available without running to the store.
But the dozens and dozens of gallons of paint were starting to overtake the garage shelf assigned to hold them. (Remember the beautiful storage carts my dad built for our barn garage overhaul?)
Full disclosure: This is the photo of the space 16 months ago. Because right now, the poor garage has been a catch-all place for all the junk waiting in limbo until the house is done. It’s not pretty. But the paint supply has more than doubled in the past 16 months, and we were out of room. You can imagine the cray.
In addition to running out of space, keeping paint in the original cans can be impractical and inconvenient for daily use. The cans are a little more cumbersome to open, close and pour from – especially when working on small projects (or art projects with Henry). And I’ve found that after several years, they are prone to rusting around the rim. Nasty.
So, I set out to find a better solution. I had seen someone on Instagram used ketchup bottles for paint, and I thought that was a brilliant idea. (I can’t remember who I originally stole this idea from. Forgive me?)
Enter 32-ounce condiment bottles from Amazon (affiliate link). I picked these out because they are big enough to hold a quart of paint, which is really a lot! Plus, they are easy enough to handle with one hand and had good reviews. The only downfall is they don’t come with caps. (But I came up with a solution for that.)
Once I had 24 of these bottles, it was just a matter of going through my paint and pouring them into separate bottles. I planned to use a funnel but it was easier and less messy to just carefully pour the paint into the wide mouth top.
I did keep some of the paint in cans – if there was a full gallon, for example. Or if it’s for a future project at the house.
But most of my paint stash found a new home in a squeeze bottle. I also gave a few gallons of paint to family and will drop off the empty (or almost) cans to the recycling facility. (Many recycling centers will accept paint and other chemicals.)
I added super simple white labels to the bottles – just from white sticker paper. I could have been fancy and printed them on my computer, but I don’t have a working printer. So I just hand-wrote the color names, brands, finish and any other info that’s needed (for example, some are exterior paint). Finally, I just added a dot of each color to the bottom of the label.
These bottles take up less then 10 percent of the space taken by all the cans on our shelf. And they are much easier to use than the bulky cans – especially for the small projects that pop up.
For now, I just added a nail to the top of each of the squeeze bottles. But I’m waiting on some pencil erasers to give them a try. You do need to make sure the bottles are airtight so the paint doesn’t dry out.
I’ve tried out the bottles and the lid is really secure and the paint comes out easily. I’m not sure if the paint in the squeeze top will ever dry out, but that will be easy enough to clean if it does happen.
And the best part, if I run out of paint, I can clean out the bottle with a bottle brush and refill. I hope this is a good long-term solution for paint storage. I also get a good deal of pleasure out of lining up the paint in color order. ROYGBV for the win.
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