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Easy to Make Trim Painting Pail

Updated on July 7, 2013
Painting window
Painting window

Could you use an easy-to-hold small paint pail (could also be called container or bucket) to speed up window painting, trim painting or edge painting? When painting windows or trim or edging along ceilings; it is very handy and efficient to have a container small enough to hold in one hand while you brush paint with the other hand. This way you never have to reach far for your paint and there is no risk of accidentally turning over a can or bucket that is on a chair or stepladder while you are painting. You can easily make such a container out of a plastic laundry or dish detergent bottle that has a built in handle. Plus you can choose a size that fits your needs. While there are commercially available products that are a bit similar, there are several reasons to prefer these: 1) it is satisfying to make your own at no cost, 2) you can tailor the size to what you need, 3) it is a good way to recycle used plastic bottles, and 4) these are probably more comfortable to hold for long periods.

Tools and materials needed

  • A Plastic Bottle with Built -In Handle
  • Tin Snips or Sturdy Scissors
  • Black Marker

Bottle with cut mark
Bottle with cut mark

Choose a bottle

Choose a medium size plastic bottle with a handle. Note the picture. Many dish or laundry detergent bottles are made like this. It is important to use a sturdy bottle. Milk jugs, for example, are too flimsy. Although not critical, a fairly vertical handle works best since that seems a little more comfortable for holding the container for long periods and it also permits leaving a larger opening for your paintbrush access. Also choose a size appropriate for your job; but not so large that it will be tiring to hold.

Paint container examples
Paint container examples

Mark bottle and cut opening

Mark a cut line on the bottle similar to the heavy black line on the bottle shown above. Punch a hole in the bottle and make the cut with tin snips or sturdy scissors. A sharp carton knife can also be helpful, but must be used very carefully. This will remove the upper portion of the bottle and leave a container similar to those shown at right. Note the general position and shape of the cut line. For strength and stability do not cut too close to the handle and also curve the cut in the corner where it turns away from the handle. The dimensions of the larger, blue container at right are as follows. In the part that holds the paint it is about 4.5 wide x 7 inches long and 4 inches deep. The height from the base to the top of the handle is about 10.5 inches. For the smaller, yellow container the corresponding dimensions are 2 x 6 x 3 and the top of handle is 10 inches above the base. As noted above the exact size is not critical, choose what you need or have available.

Try it out

Fill the paint section about two thirds full and enjoy painting. Paint will tend to run down the sides a bit, so occasionally swipe these runs off with your brush. . If you need to stop for a short while to eat or do something else, drape a wet rag(almost dripping) over the opening. This will keep the paint from thickening or forming a skim on top. After painting, these containers can reused or discarded. Particularly with water based paints they are pretty easy to clean up and reuse.

Other uses?

Consider making similar containers for other purposes. A handled container is handy for carrying nails or screws or possibly craft supplies. Fairly large sizes can be made for storing stuff on shelves in your work area or for staining decks. A milk jug cut this way can be used a sand container for spreading sand on an icy walkway in winter. Here the flimsiness is useful since shaking the jug back and forth horizontally while slightly tilted creates an action that spreads the sand somewhat evenly.


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