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How to Open a Can of Paint

Follow painting expert Brian Santos' simple steps for opening a can of paint. Read more in his new book, "Painting Secrets."

What You Need

Author Brian Santos
  • A 3-in-1 or a 5-in-1 tool
  • Plastic zip-closure bag
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Rubber mallet
  • Stir stick
  • Paint bucket


Step 1

1. Use a 3-in-1 or 5-in-1 tool to gently open the paint can. Do not use a screwdriver; it will bend and distort the lid shape.

2. Dab a spot of the paint on the side of the can and the can lid. This quickly identifies the type of paint sheen and color inside the can.

Step 3

3. Slide the wet paint lid into a plastic zip-closure bag or the plastic pouches left over from making a trash-bag apron. Sliding the lid into plastic prevents the paint from drying, stops the lid from dripping paint, and provides a clean lifting tab to be able to open, pour, and close the can as needed.

Step 4

4. Punch holes in the groove inside of the rim, called the lid well, with a hammer and nail or with the sharp point of the 5-in-1 tool and a mallet. The holes allow excess paint to drain back into the can. This technique will also ensure that after the project is finished, the lid can set and seal properly into the can for storage.

Step 5

5. Lightly stir the paint.

Step 6

6. Pour only 1/2 inch of paint into the paint bucket.

Step 7

7. Be sure to place the lid back on the paint can; remember -- the enemy of paint is air.


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