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Opening and Closing a Paint Can: The Easy Way

Paint cans

Starting a new painting project is always exciting. You finally get an opportunity to unlock the potential of the space, and perhaps, like a caterpillar to a butterfly, morph it into something beautiful.

But first, you have to face the uphill task that is opening the can.

Typically this involves wrestling with the can for ten minutes and then spending an extra twenty minutes cleaning up the contents you spilled off your favorite rag. And even then, you still likely end up damaging the can. Needless to say, it is important to know how to open a can of paint with more ease.

In this article, we shall guide you through the process. Here is how you open a can of paint, but without the headache.

What Do You Need?

Before anything, you need to have the right set of tools for the operation. This includes:

  • Flathead screwdriver/painter tool/putty
  • Paint can
  • Hammer
  • Old rag

Opening the Can With a Screwdriver

Being one of the most common house tools, it’s more than likely that you have a flathead screwdriver lying around. It happens to be pretty effective in opening a paint can.

It all falls down to a few steps:

  • Wedge the flathead screwdriver in between the lid and the can and gently lift up to break the seal
  • Repeat this all the way around the lid until it is fully separated from the can. Make sure you can easily lift the lid without making a mess

As you do this, it is crucial that you be careful not to warp or dent the lid. This way, you get to reattach it later on securely.

Open the Can Using a Painter Tool

The painter’s tool is a handy little tool designed to do a surprisingly vast number of jobs. It can act as a putty knife, a chisel, can opener, roller scraper, corner cleaner, and nail puller. For this reason, it can be hard to navigate which part of the tool does what.

To open a paint can:

  • Start by locating the can opener section. This will likely be the flat end of the tool
  • Position it between the can and lid and lift
  • As you lift, rotate the can to move the painter’s tool around the lid

Opening a Paint Can That Has Clips

Sometimes your can of paint might come with clips. These are basically small metallic pieces meant to keep the can sealed securely. They are usually positioned between the can’s rim and the inner edge of the lid to keep the lid secure.

While they might seem tight, they are quite easy to remove. You only need to place your flat head screwdriver under the clip’s arch and lift it gently until it pops free.

How to Close a Paint Can

So, you’ve managed to open your can, completed your project, and have a little leftover paint. If you want to save it for later without drying up, you have to close the can properly. This means closing it without denting the can’s rim or lid.

To do this:

  • Gently place the lid back in place on top of the lid
  • Place a rag on top of it to avoid spills and drips
  • Position a wood block across the rag, then tap down with a hammer
  • Rotate the woodblock around while hammering its center to get the lid sealed.
  • Repeat the process until you are satisfied.

As long as you gently hit the hammer, the lid should close without denting. You should be able to repeat it after subsequent uses until your paint is over.


Every painting project starts with opening a can of paint. If you do it right, you get to keep the mess to a minimum and maybe even manage to store the leftovers and keep them fresh in between coats. By following the instructions above, you should be well on your way to achieving a successful paint job.

For more insight on paint matters or painting services, don’t hesitate to contact your Painter Bros today (844) 509-2313.


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