May 15, 2017

Seriously, This is the Best Way to Close a Paint Can

created at: 05/16/2016

It's a problem we can all relate to. Anyone who has ever opened a paint, finish, or stain can knows the problem: if you don't use it all, you have to close it again. Hammers provide too much direct force, and can bend the lid, the lip, or the can itself. A rubber mallet is better, but you could shoot paint or finish out at you, and you'll cover the mallet in the material, which could get transferred to another project. Plus, if you're like me, the mallet always seems to be in another room.


created at: 05/16/2016

Step on it. Seriously. According to finishing master Bob Flexner, it's definitely the best way to go. And this guy has opened and closed a lot of cans. The  firm but soft sole of your shoe plus your body weight makes a great combination of relatively indirect force to snap things up nicely without mess.

Just line up the lid, and place one foot on the can. Stand on one leg, and you'll feel it set. Turn your foot (or the can) ninety degrees, and step on it one more time to seal it in the other two directions. Done and done. 

created at: 05/16/2016

Just make sure you check your sole or walk around in the grass or on a drop cloth just to make sure you don't track any product around. 

See more at Flexner on Finishing blog at PopularWoodworking.com


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Paul on May 16, 2017:

For years now, after stepping on the lid, I have stored cans upside down.

Any slight leakage soon causes the finish to seal the the can perfectly, and they never leak further, or dry out.

Dave on May 21, 2016:

I worked at two different paint departments in different stores for about 3 years in my college days and this is how we always closed cans.  It's extremely effective.

Km Koesler on May 18, 2016:

Or you could put a sheet of folded newspaper on top of the can before you step on it to keep the paint/stain/finish off your shoe soles.

Chris on May 16, 2016:

i put a paper towel over the lid and hit it with a mallet. it catches all the paint/stain. its what my HS wood working teacher had us do, and ive never had an issue since.