Store Leftover Paint Using Food Containers

Usually, when I buy paint to use in a room or on a piece of furniture, I'll leave it in the can. I always use a spout, and it does work well for a while, but it inevitably gets messy with dried paint around the rim causing both the can and lid to rust. Not good when you have half a gallon of good paint left.
store leftover paint using food containers, organizing, repurposing upcycling, storage ideas
So, to keep paint longer I started using glass and plastic food containers bound for the recycle bin. My container of choice lately has been orange juice containers because they are tall and slim, so you can store more in a small space, and see-through, so you can see what you have and how much is left.
store leftover paint using food containers, organizing, repurposing upcycling, storage ideas
store leftover paint using food containers, organizing, repurposing upcycling, storage ideas
Quick, easy and, best of all, free. Plus you're giving your paint a longer life.
Click the link below to find out about this and other storage ideas.

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Kristi @ Chatfield Court

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

5 questions
  • Cele Willix
    on Jan 13, 2016

    How do I tag someone this topic

    • Kristi @ Chatfield Court
      on Jan 13, 2016

      @Cele Willix Just type the @ sign along with their name. A drop down menu will appear and you can click on their name.

  • JoAnn Dibeler
    on Jan 13, 2016

    Absolutely doing that! I have a lot of painting coming up. What about the paint separating when it sits for a while and has to be remixed? Does it still separate in the bottles? If so it's easily shaken like they do at the store (ok, maybe not as hard or as fast but would still be better than the stirring that always creates more mess somehow)

    • Kristi @ Chatfield Court
      on Jan 14, 2016

      @JoAnn Dibeler I've never had a problem with the paint separating JoAnn. Some vigorous shaking stirs it up pretty well and, because the bottle is see-through, you can see if it's mixed. Happy painting!

  • Iberkeley
    on Jan 13, 2016

    Is the translucency of the containers an issue? I would assume not since they are stored inside. I only wonder because traditionally paint comes in (what I assume) tin cans. Glass to me is a no-no, I'm a klotz and tend to drop things and you know what happens to spattered paint!

    • Kristi @ Chatfield Court
      on Jan 14, 2016

      @Iberkeley I haven't had an issue with the transparency of the bottles. I usually keep them in my dark, cool basement and I think that's key...don't store them where they'll be in sunlight. Hope that helped.

    • Teri Campisi
      on Sep 1, 2016

      I always punch holes in the inside rim of the paint can so the paint drips back in the can and does not dry around the edge. This also helps the can to re-close and I store it upside down so there is no "paint crust" on the top when you re-open it.

    • Pat
      on Sep 27, 2016

      I have been using this method for years and it works great for paint. I would not recommend it for stain as that is the only time I had it break through the heavy plastic, possibility a fluke but after that mess I'm not taking any chances. Also I rotate the containers (upside down and then right side up) to keep the paint from separating so badly.

    • Mary
      on Oct 2, 2018

      Many orange juice containers are now plastic. I also saved leftover paint in a clear plastic Helmann's mayonnaise jar.

  • Andrew Kaci Hili
    on Jan 14, 2016

    And for how much longer will the paint remain good if using this method rather than keeping it in its original can?

    • Kristi @ Chatfield Court
      on Jan 14, 2016

      @Andrew Kaci Hili I'm not sure Andrew. I have some that are a couple of years old but we usually use up what we have. I've never had a problem with a plastic bottle failing (but I wouldn't use bottles that were flimsy). Hope that helped.

    • Andrew Kaci Hili
      on Jan 14, 2016

      @Kristi @ Chatfield Court Thanks Kristi.... :-)

    • Judy Koger
      on Oct 12, 2016

      I've done this for years. I mark the property name and room or area on the container with magic marker. We have been able to use paint that is over ten years old. We have several rentals, and each one has a custom paint scheme. This method has saved me hours of total repaint work and hundreds of $.

    • Andrew Kaci Hili
      on Oct 13, 2016

      Thanks Judy :-)

  • Diane Brenner
    on Feb 10, 2016

    Would this work equally well for wood stains?

Join the conversation

2 of 158 comments
  • Annie Doherty
    on Sep 2, 2016

    I do the same decant into glass bottles or jars and label with the paint mix info, also write it on the lid so if I need to buy more the recipe is there still. Great post I also found that less paint is wasted if they are in jars as it doesn't go crusty. Thank you.

  • Teresa Fialkowski
    on May 1, 2017

    I use glass vs plastic containers since paint & stains seem to react with the plastic & paint deteriorates quicker.

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