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3 ways to use up leftover paint

3 Ways To Use Up Leftover Paint

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No matter how careful you are when you’re putting out paint for a project, there will always be some leftover paint. Always.

If I’m painting, I can pretty much guarantee I will underestimate the amount of white I need, and overestimate the amount of the darker colours.

And I REALLY hate to waste any paint that’s left at the end of a painting session.

You know how I’m always telling you to use what you have in the projects and tutorials on the blog?

Well for me, this goes both ways and if I have something left over from a project, I want to find a way to use it up.

And yes, I am one of those people who saves scraps of paper and ribbon “just in case” I can use them somehow in future. (Anyone else?)

So, since I hate having leftover paint and it’s pretty much inevitable unless you’re some kind of magician when it comes to squeezing paint out, I had to come up with a few ways of using it up.

And since I know I’m not the only one who has this problem, I thought I’d share my methods on the blog. And I’ll start with the one I use the most…

Leftover paint used up in my sketchbook

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1. Paint an art journal page background

This is probably my favourite way to use up leftover paint and it gives me a great head start on art journal pages too.

If I’m in a hurry but I have some leftover paint, I’ll flip open my art journal and quickly daub it onto the page.

You could also use a sponge, some old fabric, or some tissue paper to add a different texture when applying the paint to the page.

I’m working through an old notebook at the moment, turning it into an art journal, so each page needs to be covered before I can work on it. This is a great way to do this.

It also means you have some colour on the page when you sit down to art journal. And that really helps to beat blank page paralysis, if this is something you suffer from!

2. Make a collage with your leftover paint

This is a fun way to make a piece of art or something you can use in your art journal for extra texture and visual interest.

All you need to do is randomly paint blocks of colour onto a piece of thick paper. Just make sure the page is full of areas of colour of all different shapes and sizes, and make sure they touch.

You could add to this over time if you only end up with a little leftover paint at a time (that’s the aim, let’s be honest!).

Let it dry, and cut the page up into different shapes — triangles for example.

Rearrange the pieces to make a collage that you can either mount on another piece of paper and frame, or use on an art journal page.

3. Create some abstract art

Maybe you create abstract art anyway. If you don’t, this is a great time to start or to at least try experimenting with it.

Grab a piece of paper thick enough to take your paint and start making some marks on the page. Don’t overthink it, just paint.

Make marks in different directions, and experiment with the thickness and length of each mark. Try using thick paint and thinner paint. And you can also use contrasting colours and shapes.

This experimentation is a really great way to get to know what you can do with the paint and the effects created by various techniques.

Each time you create some abstract art, you might like to try a different technique:

  • Use different sizes and shapes of paintbrushes
  • Grab a house paint brush if you have one, to make some really chunky marks
  • Use a palette knife or a piece of thick card to drag the paint across the page
  • Splatter the paint with an old toothbrush (but cover your table first!)

Or you could combine all of these techniques and see what you end up with!

Do you have any other ideas for using up leftover paint? Let us all know in the comments!

Here I used leftover paint to test different marks

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About Stacey

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I’m Stacey and I’m a blogger, abstract artist and freelance writer. My aim is to help busy people feel inspired and get more creative with tutorials, hints and tips.

I live in Cardiff with my partner and dog, and in my free time you’ll find me hiking, reading, painting or sampling a craft beer or two.

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