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How to Avoid Paint Skins and Buildup on Paint Cans

Sheila C. Wilkinson

Paint can be used and then resealed and stored without any problems, right? Well, sometimes paint stores really well and sometimes it stores really well until you get to the nasty thick skin that forms on the top of it. Other times it dries just fine except that all the paint gummed up on the can's lip make it nearly impossible to pry open. So how do you store your paint without the aforementioned problems?

Avoiding the paint dribblies and drippies

  1. Stop painting directly from the can to stop the dribbling. Pour some of the paint into an old margarine tub or another type of inexpensive container. An old metal or plastic coffee can is good because it's a little more substantial and the paint won't be as likely to tip over. Dip your brush in this container and avoid all chances of getting the original paint can all drippy.

  2. Take an awl and punch a little hole in the rim of the paint can. Add holes every couple of inches all around the perimeter of the can. You can do the same thing with a hammer and nail if you don't have an awl. As the paint collects in the rim it automatically drips back inside the paint can.

  3. Use a unique solution with a rubber band, Another solution is to take one of those great big rubber bands and put it around the can from top to bottom. It will sit across the top opening of the can and you can dip your brush and wipe off the excess on the rubber band instead of on the edge of the paint can. It needs to fit good and tight without a lot of play in it, though, or it will splatter .

  4. Avoid a paint skin on a can of paint that has been opened by doing a couple of things. The first is that you can store it upside down. Of course, make very sure that the lid is on good and tight. You should always do this anyway. When you open the paint the next time, the skin will be on the bottom and all of the fresh paint will be on top.

  5. Make a paint can blotter. You can also cut out a circle of waxed paper that will fit over the paint inside the can. Then when you seal the can it will stay in there. When you open up the paint can to use it again, the waxed paper will have stopped a skin from forming by keeping the air away from the paint.

  6. Use paint brush management in place of time management. Do you have a problem with having to paint in stolen moments? Usually it takes more time to clean the brushes than it takes you to actually do the painting. There is a trick that the pros all use when they're doing a job that runs over into the next day. Instead of cleaning your brushes after each use, wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil or a plastic bag and pit them into the freezer.

  7. Take your brush out of the freezer later that day. Let it sit for a while and warm up to room temperature. That shouldn't take more than about 20 to 30 minutes. Your brush will be as good as new to paint with again! You can only do this with latex paint and keep it for several days. If you've never tried this - don't hesitate! It is a huge time and work saver and it works like a charm every time. Just a warning, though: Oil based paints should never be stored on the paintbrush in the freezer - or on the paint brush anywhere else as the paint will harden and the brush will be unusable.