Empty Paint Cans?

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Forum topic by CharlieM1958 posted 06-15-2009 10:25 PM 7230 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16274 posts in 4181 days

06-15-2009 10:25 PM

I’ve been experimenting with various home brews of stains, dyes, oil/varnish combinations, etc. I know just putting these things in plastic mayonaisse jars like I’ve been doing is not a god long-term storage solution. :-)

Does anyone have a good source for empty quart or pint metal paint cans? I have found a few places on the internet, but none are companies I’m familiar with and the prices seemed a little high. I’d rather take a suggestion from a fellow LJ if anybody has one.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

25 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3837 days

#1 posted 06-15-2009 10:30 PM

I use canning jars. They’re cheap, they seal up well, and you can see what’s in them. Sometimes you can find boxes of them at yard sales for next to nothing.

-- -- --

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4363 days

#2 posted 06-15-2009 10:31 PM

Charlie: The Lowes by me has empty cans that you can buy in the paint dept. I don’t remember the price. But, I’ve seen them there. They were with the small buckets that you use when you are brushing paint.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3660 days

#3 posted 06-15-2009 10:32 PM

Charlie.. I use glass jars and keep them in the dark and it last for a long time I have some water base varnish in a glass jar for 5 years now and it is still like out of the can.

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3677 days

#4 posted 06-15-2009 10:34 PM

I use glass pint or half pint canning jars (mason jars). Don’t forget to buy the metal lid rings with the rubber to seal it up. Just don’t drop’em :-)

I like the glass because I can see the stain.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3660 days

#5 posted 06-15-2009 10:35 PM

Another thing always put your used paint and varnish upside down if you have a leak it will seal itself and you dont get that skin on the top .

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 06-15-2009 10:40 PM

I’ve seen them at big box stores, but I usually get them at my local hardware store for around a buck or so. $2 or so for a gallon can.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4181 days

#7 posted 06-15-2009 10:41 PM

Good tips, Guys. Thanks.

I was thinking clear containers were not the best solution because of the issue with light breaking down the finish, but I suppose keeping them in a dark place when not in use is easy enough.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4026 days

#8 posted 06-15-2009 10:49 PM

One thing about glass jars. If you get finish in the threads the lids seize up. If you get brute with it, you get an exploding varnish bomb with glass shrapnel. Stained the entire left side of a pair of overalls and supporting garmenture with BLO doing this. Here if you buy 36 quart cans they are $2.39 apiece plus shipping.
Like Karson I just buy ‘em at Lowe’s as I need ‘em.

I also get freebies at the Paint store I frequent.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3635 days

#9 posted 06-15-2009 10:49 PM

Baby food jars – holds small quantities, latex lined lids.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4181 days

#10 posted 06-15-2009 10:57 PM

Thanks for the first-hand, Doug. LOL!

I’ll look at Lowe’s…. I just never noticed them there before.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3489 days

#11 posted 06-15-2009 11:15 PM

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3848 days

#12 posted 06-15-2009 11:34 PM

Menard’s too.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3707 days

#13 posted 06-15-2009 11:42 PM

I use a lot of quart, pint, and half pint cans and I get them from

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3548 days

#14 posted 06-15-2009 11:42 PM

The secret as I understand it is like many medicines these things are affected by UVA light so like there are some medicines that need to be kept in dark glass jars. That is if you decide to use glass at all.Otherwise Keep in a dark room as suggested or just use dark glass this should help.NO guarantees with my advice as there are so many new chemical paints ,,stains, varnishes, etc ,etc ,etc ,out there.Have fun good luck Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4262 days

#15 posted 06-16-2009 12:34 AM

When I screw on a cover on a glass jar, I screw it down over a plastic bag.

It gives a good seal, plus the threads stay clean, for easy removal.

You can trim off the excess plastic.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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