Tips And Tricks On How To Open Paint Bucket Without Making A Mess

As easy as professionals make it seem, it’s not a piece of cake to open a bucket of paint. Among other things that can go wrong, one is making a mess. So, what’s the more convenient thing to do? How to open paint bucket without making a mess?

The easiest way to open a paint bucket is to use a flathead screwdriver. All you have to do is to place the screwdriver head beneath the lid and press the handle downward. You can also find specific tools made for opening paint cans.

Paint bucket lids can also get stuck sometimes, making it more difficult to open them. So, let’s go through what you can do to make opening a paint bucket easier.  

How To Open Paint Bucket?

There are several tools you can use. The process is all the same. Let’s start with the most common and widely used tool.


The most convenient way of opening a paint bucket is to use a screwdriver. It’s also a tool that’s available in all homes. Make sure that the head of the screwdriver is flat.

Let’s go through the process. First, you will have to place the paint can on top of an even surface. This makes sure that the can doesn’t wobble. Hold the screwdriver and place its head beneath the lid.

The screwdriver should be placed between the lid and the can. Now, press the handle down until the lid lifts a bit. Remove the screw, turn the paint can and place the screw at another place of the lid and repeat the process.

Once the lid is completely detached from the can, remove it with your hands and place it on the surface. The inner part of the lid should be facing upwards when you place it.

That’s the simplest and quickest way to remove the lid from a paint bucket without making a mess.

Painter’s Tool

You can also get specialized tools made for opening paint cans. They have a flat head with a convenient handle that allows the user to pry the lid open without making a mess. Painter’s tools are often multipurpose and you can use them for other chores too. So, if you want a tool separately kept for only opening paint cans, you can invest in one.

Other Tools

You can basically use any tool that has a flat end. Nonetheless, make sure that the tool is convenient to hold. If it slips from your hand when you’re prying the lid open, the lid can make a mess. In the worst-case scenario, you may hurt yourself.

Some examples of tools you can use to open a paint bucket are butter knives, metal keys, etc. Avoid using anything that will dent the lid.

Read More- Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Walls?

How To Open A Stuck Paint Bucket Lid?

After you’ve opened your paint can and closed it, it can get stuck. There can be several reasons behind it. Sometimes paint dries near the lid and makes it more difficult to open the lid. If you’ve not closed the lid properly, it can also cause it to get stuck. Luckily, there are solutions for these situations too.

First of all, it’s important to learn how to properly close the paint lid. I’ve explained the process in the next section for your convenience. Closing the lid evenly and properly will facilitate opening it again. Nonetheless, if your paint bucket lid is stuck, you may have to do a few extra steps.

Scrape Off Dry Paint

The most likely reason why the lid gets stuck is dried paint between the lid and the can. So, you can use a razor knife to solve this issue. Scrape off the dried paint between the bucket and the lid and then try to lift the lid using a screwdriver.

Use A Hammer

When the lid gets stuck, direct pressure may not open the lid. In such situations, you can place the screwdriver beneath the blade and use a hammer to put pressure on the handle. Be careful not to hurt yourself and open the lid manually once it starts moving from place.

Soak In Water

Paint cans are sealed shut when you close the lid. So, soaking them in water will not damage the paint or leak inside. Make sure to use warm water, not hot if you want to avoid damaging the paint.

Allow the paint bucket to soak for about ten minutes and then try opening the lid using a screwdriver.


Placing the can under direct sunlight can help the dried paint to melt. Once the bucket has sat under sunlight for about ten minutes, use a screwdriver to open the lid.


As a last resource, you can use needle-nosed pliers. These will certainly work, considering you’re utilizing them correctly. The key is to hold the pliers tightly so that they don’t slip from your hand. You have to make sure that the lid does not get released from the pliers.

The reason why this is a last resource is that it’ll most likely damage the paint can lid. So, make sure to try all other methods before relying on this one if you want to avoid bending the lid.

Read More- How Long Does It Take To Paint A House?

How To Close A Paint Bucket?

Properly closing the paint bucket will save you from struggling the next time you open the bucket. By following a few simple steps, you can avoid the hassle of a stuck lid. So, let’s take a look at what you should do when closing the lid.

The first thing to take care of is to wipe any paint residing on the can’s opening area where the lid sits. Dried paint on that area can make the lid get stuck. So, make sure to wipe any paint off that place.

Place the lid on top of the can and then place a towel on it. Use a hammer to tap on the lid. Hit on all areas around the edges to make sure that the lid is tightly sealed. The towel makes sure that the hammer doesn’t damage the lid. Besides, if the bucket lid has wet paint on it, the towel will prevent it from transferring to the hammer. However, if you have a rubber mallet, the towel is optional.

If you don’t have a hammer, you can use something else. For instance, the handle of your screwdriver is another tool that can put force on the lid and seal it shut.

Some Things To Remember

  • Avoid putting too much pressure when using a screwdriver or similar tools to open a paint bucket. It can cause the lid to dent.
  • Get rid of any paint that’s on the edge of the can. If you close the lid on top of the wet paint, it will get stuck when the paint dries.
  • Make sure that the lid is tightly secure before storing it. Use a hammer to evenly close the lid.
  • Place a towel on top of the lid to make sure that the hammer doesn’t dent the lid.
  • Do not be hasty when dealing with a paint bucket. Regardless of what tool you’re using, if you are doing it the wrong way, you can damage the can and make an unwanted mess.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does the screwdriver get paint on it?

The screwdriver will not get paint on it when you use it for opening a paint bucket. When you open the bucket for the first time, it’s tightly sealed so there’s no chance of leaking the paint outside.

Even when you open the bucket for the second or third time, the gap between the lid and the can will not have any wet paint.

Q. Can I use a screwdriver to open used cans of paint?

Unless the lid is badly stuck, you can open any paint bucket using a screwdriver. Even when the lid is stuck, you can open it by putting pressure on the handle with a hammer. So, it’s safe to say that the screwdriver method will work on all paint buckets.

Q. How to open paint bucket without a screwdriver?

You can use any tool that has a flat side. But the tool has to be convenient to hold. If it’s not, it may get slipped from your hand, causing a mess. It’s also important to ensure that you are not hurting yourself while opening the bucket.  

Before You Go

Tricky tasks like opening a paint can require DIY tricks to avoid mess. Following small details will go a long way in making your life more convenient when you’re dealing with paint. Hopefully, this guide on how to open paint bucket without a mess will help you with your project. 

If you have queries about the paints used for exterior and interior, don’t forget to check- Can You Use Interior Paint Outside?

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