Can You Restore the Dried Wall Paint in a Can? (Here’s How)

ways to soften dried wall paint

You’re in the middle of painting your living room when you realize you’re out of paint.

You head to the store and find the perfect color, but it’s only available in a can that’s been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long. Can you use it?

Consider another scenario – You have a can of dried-up wall paint sitting in your garage; you want to use that for a project but don’t know if it’s still good to restore it.

Well, Fear not!

You may be able to revive the old dried paints for reuse, depending on the type of paint you have.

  • If it’s an old dried oil-based paint you want to use for touch-ups of the wood surfaces, you can fix it for reuse.
  • If it’s a dried acrylic paint you want to use for your craft project, there is still the chance to get it revived.
  • But if it’s a dried latex water-based paint, you are not lucky enough! Dried latex paints can’t be fixed, so they should be disposed of.

Keep in mind that – it is quite likely that the new softened-up paint will be of lesser quality than the old, but it can still be used for touch-ups or as a base coat if you apply many applications.

How to Soften Dried Oil-Based Paint?

If you need to restore dried oil paint, here’s what you need to do…

Step 1. Place the can of old paint in a pot of warm water for about an hour until you see the paint starting to soften.

Step 2. Pour the old paint into a new can, discarding any lumps that don’t dissolve.

Step 3. Add a paint thinner to the new can of paint and stir well. The resulting paint should have the consistency of heavy cream.

Step 4. Use the paint as usual, applying it with a brush or roller. Thinned oil-based paint takes longer to dry than unthinned paint, so allow extra time for it to cure before adding a second coat.

Tips and warnings:

  • If you don’t have any paint thinner on hand, you can use mineral spirits or naphtha.
  • A thinned oil-based paint gives off harmful fumes, so make sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use a drop cloth or a tarp to protect the floor when working with oil-based paints, as they can be difficult to clean up.
ways to soften dried acrylic paint

Dried Acrylic Paint – How to Make It Usable Again?

Acrylic paints are generally used by hobbyists and crafters.

If you have old solidified acrylic paint in an old can, you can rehydrate it by using thinning mediums, making it usable for your smaller, less important project.

Acrylic paint may be thinned with water, thinner medium, and flow improver. The paint and medium can be stirred together or shaken using an agitator in the paint container.

Just follow these simple steps to liquefy the dried paint…

Step 1. Open the can and check the paint inside. If it has any lumps, discard them.

Step 2. Add an equal amount of water, or a thinner medium to the paint can and stir gently with a stir stick.

Step 3. If the paint is still too thick, add more water or thinner until you achieve the desired consistency.

Step 4. Use the paint as normal, and enjoy your project.

Latex Water-Based Paint – How to Fix or Get Rid of It?

If you have a can of dried latex water-based paint, unfortunately, there is no way to revive it.

You will need to discard it properly according to your local regulations.

However, if the paint is in good condition but has just separated, you can try to mix it again.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1. Pour the paint into a large container and add an equal amount of water.

Step 2. Stir the mixture vigorously with a paint stirrer until the paint is completely dissolved.

Step 3. Pour the mixture back into the original can and seal it tightly.

Step 4. Shake the can vigorously for a few minutes to distribute the paint evenly.

Step 5. Use the paint, as usual, applying it with a brush or roller.

Now that you know how to deal with different types of dried paints, go ahead and finish your painting project.

If it’s for painting the surfaces like your kitchen walls, it’s good to use the restored enamel as a base coat and apply a top coat of paint over it. This will give a good grip on the new paint, and also, the old one will get an extra layer of protection.

You can also use the old revived oil-based paint for touch-ups. It will give a good color match, and you won’t have to worry about the paint chipping off easily.

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