If you’ve got paint left over from a DIY project, you need to store it correctly if you want to be able to use it again in the future.

When you’ve finished painting or varnishing a project, you often have a bit of paint left over. If there’s only a little then it may not be worth keeping and should be disposed of responsibly, but if there’s a fair bit then you should store it correctly to use in the future.
Exposure to heat or cold can cause paint to either dry up or deteriorate into a sludgy, unusable mess. Paint can separate so badly that it can’t be rescued, or the surface can solidify and be unworkable.

Here are some pointers on storing paint effectively so that when the next project comes up, you can use it:

Transfer the paint into a smaller container.

If you had a five-litre tin of paint and have two-litres left over, pour it into a two-litre container. This ensures that there is less air for the paint to react with and as it’s the air that dries it out, in the smaller container there’s less chance of the paint spoiling or drying out. Remember to label the new paint container correctly.

Clean the groove.
There is a recessed groove around the lid of both metal and plastic paint containers. If paint dries in this groove, the lid won’t be able to seal properly, air will get in and the paint will dry out. So, when you’ve finished painting, use the brush or a cloth to clean out that groove.
Clean the groove
Use a mallet.
When you put the lid back onto the paint tin, use a rubber mallet to seal it properly. Most of us just use a hammer, but the hard metal surface of a hammer can cause the lid to bend or warp, which again will let in air.
How to store paint - Use a mallet

Bag it.
When the lid is securely fastened, put a plastic bag over the tin and tape it in place. This gives another layer of protection against air getting in. This isn’t practical if you’re going to use the paint again in a day or two but can make a difference if you’re storing the paint for any length of time.

Some good advice from the Builders workshop.

Get to builders. Get it done.

How to store paint - Bag it
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