What Are the Best Tips for Pouring Paint?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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One should not assume that pouring paint is an exceptionally easy task. Heavy cans of paint, in particular, are difficult to handle and a mistake can lead to spilled paint. Use a sheet of protective covering, preferably plastic, before creating a hole in the tin. Screw a spout into this hole, lift the can and pour the paint carefully into the tray. Pouring paint from a small can is much the same except that the lid is easier to pop open. In both instances, one should clean the spout to avoid clogging.

Pouring paint is one of those pursuits that is not quite as easy as it initially seems. The prevailing view is that pouring paint from the tin into a tray is a task that can be performed without any problems. This ignores the fact that paint splashes and makes a mess if it is poured heedlessly into a tray. While most issues arise when paint is poured from a large can, even small cans may cause problems.

Before pouring paint from a large can, one should lay a protective covering such as a sheet of plastic. It should be large enough to contain a large can of paint if it ends up on the floor. A paper towel roll, a paint spout, and a paint tray can then be placed on it.


A large can of paint will have a plastic cap, which should be removed before pouring. The can should be positioned so that its uncapped hole is facing the tray. A paint spout should be put into the uncapped hole and twisted until it is properly seated.

Large cans of paint can weigh up to 44-55 pounds (20-25 kilograms), so the legs should be used when lifting it, and the back should not be rounded. Tilt the can so that the spout starts pouring the paint into the tray gradually. Once the tray is filled with as much paint as is needed, paper towels can be used to wipe any paint that is dripping from the bucket spout. Rinsing the spout immediately with warm water ensures that the paint does not dry inside the spout, clogging it up.

When pouring paint from a smaller can, a screwdriver can be used to lift the lid. Insert the spout as before and ensure that it faces the tray. It is easier to lift a small can, but the principle remains the same. The rate of pouring should be kept slow and steady. Again, wipe any excess paint and thoroughly rinse the spout.


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Post 3
I saw a guy lose a whole five gallon bucket of paint across a huge concrete floor once. I guess he needed an extra lesson in paint pouring.

I was watching the whole time. He was pouring slowly but then he looked up and shifted and started to pour paint of the cloth and then shifted again to correct himself and slipped on the paint and dropped the bucket. It went rolling across the room leaving a thick trail of white paint everywhere. That kid spent ages cleaning that mess up.

Post 2

Wiping the can after you pour is a good tip. When I was first learning to paint professionally that was a mistake I would make a lot. I would pour the paint and leave the can and come back to find little drips has ended up places where I definitely didn't want them.

But over a long career as a painter I have realized that good painting is less about putting paint on the walls and more about keeping paint off the things it is not supposed to be on. Carpet, trim, grating and outlets. When a room is well painted you do not notice the paint. When it is painted poorly you notice the paint everywhere.

Post 1

The first and only tip for pouring paint is to pour carefully. There is really nothing more or less that you can do. Get everything set up, pay attention and go slowly, Paint is always thicker than you realize and you can ruin a carpet in a second if you are not careful pouring paint. Trust me, I know from experience. This is a mistake I have made many many times.

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