Posts tagged "paint"

How can I reuse or recycle little paint tester pots?

We covered old leftover paint on the site many, many moons ago (roughly 66-67 moons ago apparently) but these last few weeks, we’ve been rather overrun with little tester pots of paint here.

I hate tester pots from an environmental point of view – usually plastic pots, sometimes with an integral brush, that are thrown away once their purpose has been served – but I’ve made enough costly paint mistakes in the past (and in the very recent past, she says knowing there is £80 worth of unsuitable-for-current-job paint sat upstairs…) to begrudgingly accept using them.

I think there are two questions here: how can I use up the little bits of paint? And second, is there anything I can do with the little pots?

The amount of paint in each tester is only enough for very small projects. I remember at uni painting a set of drawers with leftover tester pot paint – each drawer a different shade of blue – and the sides of the pots themselves tell me they’re suitable for stencilling, where you just need a little paint of each colour. Have you done (or seen) any mini-craft projects using leftover tester pot emulsion paint?

As for the pots themselves, the ones I have here tell me they’re polypropylene – plastic number 5 – which can be recycled but isn’t collected everywhere yet. The pots seal very tightly – as you’d expect from something containing paint – and so they could be washed out & reused for containing other liquid things or keeping other things dry or safe. I won’t use them for anything food related – since they’ve contained paint and aren’t food grade – and probably not anything like plant seeds either — but they’d be fine for small amounts of non-edibles/growables: like old film canisters, they’d be useful for all sorts of little fishing related things, for beads or buttons, and nuts/bolts/screws or sewing needles etc.

What would you reuse them for?

How can I reuse or recycle paint roller trays?

Is there a word for when you’re window-shopping skips? I was skip-gazing (?) around the corner the other day and as well as having a mighty fine looking pallet in there (yoiiiiink), there were several old paint roller trays flung on top.

Compared to rollers, paint trays are super easy to clean (especially if you line them with a carrier bag first) so I don’t know why they were thrown out. There were a couple of emulsion ones and a couple of smaller gloss ones.

We’ve got plenty of trays for painting ourselves but I guess I could rinse them off and offer them on Freecycle or something.

As for reuses, in the past, I’ve used old roller trays as drip trays under seedlings (the deep part is more useful if you’re carrying them around, they have a tendency to wobble off the shelf bit – but that’s fine catching run off if it’s in one place). What else can be done with them?

How can I reuse or recycle water from washing out paintbrushes?

paintbrush-waterWe had a water week – a week of water themed posts – in honour of World Water Day back in March but I’ve had a run of water-related questions recently so I thought we’d have another wet week. “Water Week 2: This time it’s personal damp.”

A couple of weeks ago, Tyler asked a question on a random old post:

What should I do with the water I use to wash of my paint brushes?

It’s a good question because it uses a surprisingly large amount of water to get paintbrushes clean – and even more if you’ve been using a roller for large scale decorating.

Can anything be done with the very, very watered down paint – particularly the first rinse which is really quite paint-y?

Do you have any tips for reducing the amount of water used to clean them? I try to squeeze out as much paint as possible before washing – old newspaper works well as a wrapping material but quickly gets soaked, plastic bags is less absorbent but you’ll be able to squeeze it for longer.

(Picture by basheertome)

How can I reuse or recycle paintbrushes?

paintbrushesWe’ve had an email from Sharon:

We’ve got a ton of old paintbrushes. They’ve gone stiff and hard. Any suggestions?

If the brushes have gone hard because they weren’t cleaned properly, you might still be able to revive them by giving them a good clean with turps or the like. Failing that, or if they were clean to start with, apparently a ten minute soak in some hot white vinegar can revive ones used for water-based paints (soak it then wash it out with soap and warm water and leave to air dry).

Even if you don’t get them back to perfect softness needed for a nice, smooth paint job, once clean, they can be used for cleaning hard-to-reach areas around the house or on a car’s dashboard – in fact a little stiffness might help them getting into tiny nooks and crannies easier.

Charities that collect leftover paint for redistribution in the community also might be interested in them.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle paint colour charts?

paint colour guideWe’ve had an email from Sandi asking:

What can I do with old paint charts, the colour reference ones? I know I can just throw them in with cardboard recycling but I wondered if anyone had any creative ideas for things to do with them instead.

I’ve heard that home style experts recommend keeping a swatch of colours and material samples for your key rooms in your bag when you’re out shopping – so that you can check if things match/work together easily – but I guess that only uses up the tiny square or two of paint that you used, and not the rest.

It’s not quite the same but my dad had a colour chart for his stamp collection when I was a kid and I used to love playing with that – looking at the different shades of each colour and how they gradually turn from one shade to another – and I guess paint charts could be a limited version for that — ideal if you want to raise kids like me who, when asked for their favourite colour, will reply “a matt grey-blue with a subtle hint of green” or “purple-tinged charcoal”. (I would probably jump for OCD-joy if someone gave me a pantone reference guide for my birthday on Sunday. :) )

Other suggestions though? I don’t scrapbook so don’t know but could they be useful for that?

(By the way Sandi, if you’ve got some leftover paint from your DIY work, you may want to check out our post on that very subject and see how it can be redistributed to good causes.)