If you do any sort of painting, I know you can relate to having a fair share of leftover paints from prior projects. So what do you do when there isn’t enough paint left in the can to complete a job, but enough leftover that you feel guilty for throwing it away?
My solution… I’ve been mixing my leftover paints for small projects.
Here’s why I like this idea~
1. Nothing goes to waste and I’m staying green by ‘using’ rather than ‘disposing’.
2. Using up the leftover paint means I can deposit the empty cans into my Recycling Bin to create more space in my work area…yaaaaaay.
3. The process of mixing is fun and rewarding. I take an artistic approach to creating a custom color by getting my fingers right in there and smooshing the colors around like a real AR~TEESTE!
I recently mixed leftover amounts of Annie Sloan’s Old White, CeCe Caldwell’s Simply White and my very own Homemade Chalk/Mineral Paint in a Neutral Beige. I mixed all three together and created a warm Soft Bisque and had enough product to paint two Retro-70’s side tables.
I rarely forget to take before pics but for some odd reason I only took a before pic of one of them??…must have been an off day!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when mixing your leftover paints…
Make Sure The Paint Is Still Usable
Paint does go bad but if properly stored, it’s probably good to use even if it’s old. Give the paint a thorough mixing and see if all the components stir together nicely. If it has rust, dry paint or any other crud in it, not to worry… you can easily strain the paint before mixing your custom colors.
Only Mix The Same ‘Type’ of Leftover Paints
When mixing leftover paints to create your custom color, only mix the same “type” of paint together. Using different brands of paint won’t make any difference, but the paint components will. Super important ~ Water base with water base, oil with oil, chalk/mineral paint with chalk/mineral paint, milk paint with milk paint, interior with interior, exterior with exterior… and so on.
Mixing sheen’s is also fine, however if you mix a flat with a gloss… it will not be as glossy.You’ll know when paints aren’t compatible (for example an oil and water-based) because if you try to mix them, you’ll end up with a lumpy unusable mess.
Mix-Mix and Then Mix Some More
I’ve opened cans where the old paint has looked disgusting but once thoroughly mixed the paint was perfectly fine. The key to mixing leftover paint is to mix the individual paints really well. Strain if needed. Then mix them all together and mix thoroughly again. Mix and mix and than mix some more!
Use A Container With A Lid
I have amazing thoughtful neighbors who provide me with a ton of paint containers. Thank-you Denny&Kim for drinking a lot of Folgers Coffee! The plastic coffee cans are great for mixing and storing paint because they’re a good size and seal with an air tight lid. As seen below, I’ve also used plastic storage containers purchased from a Dollar Store and empty paint cans purchased from a hardware store. Any container large enough with a lid will work! As a bonus, the plastic containers are washable and re-usable.
Mixing Your Own Custom Colors
You can get creative when mixing leftover paints and come up with GORGEOUS custom colors. Whites and off whites can be mixed with any darker color to create a softer hue. Add your colors together slowly so you don’t end up with something unusable.
Keep Any Extra For Touch-Ups
When painting a piece of furniture with a custom color mixed with leftover paints, it’s a good idea if you have any extra to keep it for any touch-ups you may need in the future. Don’t forget to label the your container so you know what piece it was used on.
Do you have any tips on Mixing Leftover Paints… I’d love to hear them!
Happy Painting & Have a Beautiful Day,