Whenever I paint from a can, I end up with paint around the edges of the can from where I've removed excess paint prior to brushing. The second time I open the can, this old paint tends to break off and pollutes the paint with bits and sprinkles all over the floor.

How can I paint in a way that avoids this? In the past I've tried decanting into a paint kettle, but this still involves messing up one part of the can edge. I suppose I could try and wipe that clean, but it seems like a hassle.

Any life hack solutions?

5 Answers 5


You can use masking tape over the edge of the pain tin - still using the edge of the tin for wiping the paint on but once you're done you will be able to remove the masking tape and discard it and you'll still have a nice clean paint tin rim.

Masking tape is something a lot of people have in their home and is available in a wide variety of stores so wouldn't be too hard to obtain.

It's much like painting skirting boards - people use masking tape to keep paint from running onto other surfaces that you don't want painting and at the end you can just pull it off and you'll have a nice neat edge to your painting!

  • +1 Good idea. This is likely to be less messy than an elastic band (which I worry might flick paint about). Jan 26, 2015 at 13:25

One solution I've heard is to stretch a rubber band length-ways around the paint can so that it crosses the top of the can (like a diameter). One can remove excess using the rubber band and it will drip downwards into the can without messing up the edges.

I'm yet to put this in practice though, so happy to hear other solutions and comments as to whether this actually works.

  • I've seen this too, one problem I thought of is that the elastic band may ping around and cause paint to splatter over things - Just a thought, but nice idea +1
    – MrPhooky
    Jan 26, 2015 at 13:26

I used to paint for a summer job and the way we were trained was to never wipe the brush on the top edge. Just dip the tip, and don't wipe off the excess (there shouldn't be excess); did this just yesterday at home and still works.

When the can is not full you can tap the tip against the inside of the can such that the lip is never paint covered.

Another thing to do is shake the paint can to mix it. Don't use a stir stick as it makes a huge mess (and can get paint on the lip).

In short, address the problem at the root - don't get paint on the lip of the can.


There is a commercial solution to your problem; look for "paint can pour spout" on Amazon.

The idea here is that you put the plastic lid on top of the open paint can, and it gives you :

  1. a pour spout you can use to decant the paint into another container
  2. a hole you can put the brush in and wipe it on the side of the plastic lid, not the metal paint can.

Once the paint dries it's easy to peel off the plastic lid.

I have one and it works great.

  • 2
    you can improve your answer if you add info, how to make your own "paint can pour spout" because commercial products made to solve a problem are not considered lifehacks, so your answer may be downvoted.
    – vladiz
    Jan 26, 2015 at 17:42

I always wipe off the excess on the brush on the side of the can - but when I've finished, I take some kitchen roll/paper and wipe round the edge of the can, removing any paint still lurking, including inside the rim on the top if there is one, before replacing the lid. If its oil based paint, I will follow up the kitchen paper treatment with a disposable cloth lightly moistened in white spirits to clean it off properly. You can use scrunched up newspaper instead of kitchen paper, but it doesn't work so well and is a bit more messy to do.

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