Smart Ways to Use Leftover Sample Paint
Rather than throwing away your extra sample pots of paint, consider putting them to good use with one of these clever home projects.
People generally purchase sample paints to test colors before using them on an entire piece of furniture, wall, or other surface. The samples allow you to see the color up close and in your intended space before you carry out the full paint project. After completing the project, however, don’t discard your leftover sample pots of paint, as they can be put to work on other smart updates. Creatively repurposing the paint not only makes use of the budget-friendly material for other home improvements, but also cuts down on waste.
Sample paint pots typically cost under $10 and are approximately 8 to 32 ounces in size. Before undertaking a project using paint samples, make sure you have enough paint for the job. Don’t forget that more than one coat of paint may be necessary.
Here are several ideas to get you started:
Stair Riser Makeover
Pull together sample paints in various colors and give your stairs a rainbow-like makeover. Simply tape off the surrounding wall, and the tread and nosing of every step, so that only the stair risers are exposed for painting. Before you begin, wash and sand the surface to ensure the paint sticks. To apply, use a 2-inch paintbrush or small roller. The brush is best used when precision is needed. Remove the tape while the paint is still wet.
Create Modern Wall Art
Get a blank canvas out and some painters tape to put your sample paints to work on a piece of geometric art. Thin wood or plywood are other options for a painting surface. To start, apply lines of tape to the canvas at different angles to make geometric shapes. Bring the tape all the way around the sides so you’re sure to have sharp, clean lines. Take on a single section at a time by filling the shapes with your chosen paint colors. If needed, apply a second coat. As the paint dries, pull off the lines of tape.
Color-Block a Section of Wall
Your sample paint pots probably won’t cover a whole wall, but they can be used to accentuate a particular part of the room by adding a two-toned visual. Known as color-blocking, this approach works really well above a piece of furniture or otherwise empty corner. For a striking result, choose a contrasting hue that will make a distinct separation from the base wall color. Once again, painters tape should be used to mark off the section of wall you want to paint. This will ensure crisp, straight lines. Be careful to accurately calculate the amount of paint required to cover the area before you start.
A fast way to use your sample paint leftovers is to decorate low-cost terra-cotta planters. Either boldly apply a shade to the entire planter for a solid statement, or get fancy with stripes, polka-dots, swirls or other patterned designs. Consider using several coordinating colors for a cheerful addition to your houseplant family.
Freshen Up Dresser Drawers
Bring splashes of color to a desk or chest of drawers using only a single pot of sample paint in a bold shade. Simply empty and pull out all the drawers, sand the sides of the drawers, and tape off the areas you don’t want to cover (like the drawer fronts or tops of the drawer sides). Prime the drawer sides, allow them to dry, and then brush on two coats of paint. Protect the paint by adding a coat of matte varnish or clear wax. Let the paint cure for several days before putting the drawers back into the unit.
Embellish Plain Baskets
Add dots, stripes and other patterns to wicker baskets and other small accessories with your sample paint. This project is especially suited to samples that are almost gone, ensuring every last drop is put to good use. A small artist’s paintbrush is an effective way to apply the paint. Allow the paint to dry completely before placing anything in the basket.
Upgrade a Bookshelf
Basic white bookshelves can be revived with a fresh infusion of color. Simply grab a foam roller or paintbrush and prime the face frame of the unit and front edge of the shelves. When dry, give them two coats of a sample paint color, allowing the coats to dry between applications. Lastly, cover the paint with a coat of matte varnish or clear wax for added protection.
Jazz Up Glassware
Use your sample paint pots to add pizzazz to plain glassware, such as clear glass vases. For example, use the eraser on an unused pencil to apply polka-dots around the bottom and up the sides. Let the paint dry and allow it to cure for several days before putting the vase to use. Keep in mind that sample paint is not permanent on a glass surface, so it’s possible to remove the paint when a new look is desired.