Insta-Tip: Mini Paint Cans

Instead of a weekend Insta-Style post, I have an Insta-Tip for you.  It is not about style, but a quick and easy DIY tip.

It will be part of the weekend series where I share a simple project for which no tutorial is needed.

I am hoping that the ideas in this series will inspire you to look at everything around you with new eyes and ask yourself…”what if?” to come up with your own Insta-Tip ideas.

Insta-Tip-for DIY decorating

Painting tip making mini paint cans for touch up paint

What do you get when you put a tin can + a pet food lid together?


A simple way to mix and store small amounts of paint for projects.  They become mini paint cans. I use them for mixing DIY chalk paint and they are perfect for storing paint overnight as you wait for paint to dry to add a second coat on a piece. Add a label with the paint color and they become a way to store touch-up paint since the lid seals the can airtight.

I found my lids in the grocery store, but you can find them at pet stores, dollar stores and Walmart. They cover both dog and cat food size cans.

Do you have a clever way to repurpose a tin can?

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  1. Linda Weeks says:

    Any time I can reuse materials that would have been trashed, I am all in! I’m crazy about recycling. This is a very good tip for us painters and can havers.

  2. Tracy Becker says:

    Beware of rust on the bottom if you don’t cover it with paint or something. It can stain things and doesn’t need to sit in a puddle of water to form rings

  3. What a good idea, I’ve never seen those pet food lids before. For small amounts of paint I’ve been reusing Talenti Gelato pint jars. I love that they are lightweight plastic, wide mouth, and have screw-on lids to ensure a tight seal. It’s also a good justification for buying and eating spendy and delicious gelato!

  4. This is a great idea. However, my pets have sensitive stomachs and are currently doing well on dry food. So, I’m wondering if you know if the pet food lids work on canned vegetable cans? I’ve been trying to figure out a better system for storing my paints from my projects.

  5. It’s another “why didn’t I think of that” moment. Thanks for the tip.

  6. Brittney Lockett says:

    This is going to come in handy for my husband and I very soon. We are about to paint our home and I am sure we are going to need to store small amounts of paint. Do you by any chance know how long the paint will last in these cans?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Brittany – If you get pet can lids that are a tight fit and have no cracks in them then the paint will last a long time. Burp the lid if you can to remove any air before storing. Another way to store small amounts of paint is in any type of glass jar with a lid. You do have to be careful of not breaking the glass, but then the color of the paint in each is easy to see at a glance.

  7. Wonderful idea! I just spent the day cleaning out my garage. This will be very helpful. Thanks!

  8. Heather C says:

    Great idea, wished I had thought it, thanks

  9. Sheron Clifton says:

    Great idea on paint cans! Thanks!! Another great use for all size cans; I paint with different colors chalk paint, add some burlap and fill with flowers for use on tables out by our pool. The colors depend on my theme. They look so adorable with zinnias in them.

  10. Tin cans are great for target shooting ;-)

  11. What a fabulous idea. Thank you so much for sharing. Great re-purpose help cut down on waste and buying new products. Love your blog.

  12. Linda Weeks says:

    Very good; any time you can remove something from the waste stream, it’s a good idea! I have old coffee cans holding bunches of paintbrushes , pencils, etc… and since I wash my recycling out anyway, why not do a good job of it and put it back to use? and boy do I have little lids and little containers. When I open that cabinet door, out they fall!

  13. What a great idea!! Why did I never think of this? Thank you for sharing!

  14. Judy C in NC says:

    Thank you for everything you share that makes our lives easier. I like to save small jars for liquid disposal, however, moving into our new home and painting, I started using the jars to save small amounts of paint to touch up. Hanging pictures for me sometimes requires spackling – hee, hee – unfortunately – jars labeled for each room are my go to. I will plan on now using the tin cans for my outside painting jobs. Judy C

  15. I like to use peanut butter jars to put paint into when I’m cutting in the edges, etc. then I just put the lid on to save the leftovers.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sandy – Great idea using the PB jars. I have a lot of cans since I had two pets. They sadly have both passed away and my tin can stash is getting smaller. I will start saving the jars now, too.

  16. Rosie Walsh says:

    I like this idea. I’ve been using baby food jars, which also work well. BUT they’re hard to come by these days. I ask a local day care to save them for me. Seems much baby food is now supplied in plastic pop top containers though.

    I label a lot. Have a box of self adhesive labels that I add the formula I used to custom mix paint, shortened to BR for brown, G for gold, W for white, etc.

    Thanks for what you do to make our lives brighter.


    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rosie – Labels are the best way to keep everything organized. Great idea to write the formulas on each along with the color. I am so happy to be able to share ideas on my blog. It is my passion. Thanks for reading.

  17. Elizabeth @ Pineapples and Polka Dots says:

    Great tip! Paint is definitely best kept in smaller containers, and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing.