It can be quite frustrating to open a five-gallon bucket lid without the proper tools. This is why you need the right tools for the job.
Otherwise, you might wind up with paint all over the place due to using too much force without the proper tools.
What follows are instructions to help you open a five-gallon bucket of paint while maintaining the integrity of the lid and not spilling the paint.
The first step before you begin is finding a stable surface on which to place the five-gallon bucket.
Considering that a typical five-gallon bucket of paint may weigh upwards of 50 pounds, you will want a hard, stable surface to place the bucket.
The floor of the garage or driveway is a good place given its hardness, so start with that.
Use a Paint Bucket Opener
You can find a paint bucket opener at your local hardware store.
This is a C-shaped tool that is made from hardened plastic and comes with a built-in handle. Applying this tool is quite easy.
Simply hook the top part of the “C” over the bucket lid and the bottom part of the “C” just under the rim of the lid.
With the tool in place, use the handle as leverage to pry the lid upwards.
If the lid has tabs with a slit or flanges, then you should apply the pressure at the center of the tab or flange.
Instead of trying to pull all the lid up at once, lift enough to break the seal, then move the tool around a few inches and lift enough to break the seal.
Keep going until you have circled the lid a couple of times.
Once the lid of the tub is fully loosened, you should be able to grasp one edge of the lid and lift it up from the bucket.
Removing the Lid without a Bucket Opener
What if a paint bucket opener is not available? You can do the same thing using a screwdriver and pliers.
Again, pry up the tabs or flanges in the same manner as you would using a paint bucket opener.
However, it will be an easier task for buckets with flanges to cut them apart every few inches by using a utility knife first.
Place the screwdriver under the rim or flange and pry upwards.
Workaround the lid until the seal is broken completely. Then use the pliers to pry the lid off the bucket.
The downside of using a screwdriver is that it might damage the bucket itself, so you want to be careful as you pry the lid in an upward direction.
Clean off any paint around the rim of the bucket before putting the lid back on.
This will prevent droplets of paint from squirting out onto the floor. Use an old rag to wipe off the paint around the rim first.
Then, replace the lid using a mallet or hammer to tap down on the lid until it seals to the paint tub/bucket.
Pouring the Paint Out of a Full 5-Gallon Bucket without Opening Lid
Once you have opened your 5-gallon paint bucket lid successfully, pouring out the paint (in a paint tray or a smaller container) without a spill is important.
While there are paint manufacturers that attach a pop-out pour spout on top of their bucket lid, not all of them have this feature available.
So, all you will need is a 5-gallon paint sprout (like here) to make the job easier.
Most of these snap spout comes with an air-tight cap that fits almost all bucket (with both screw top lids and tint plug lids) that comes from popular brands like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, etc.
Here are a few easy steps that will help you pour out the paint without causing a mess.
- Keep the Bucket on the Hard, Level Surface
- Remove the Screw Cap on Top of the Paint Lid
- Attach the Sprout to the Threaded Hole of the Paint Lid: Tighten it properly so it seals
- Line up the Sprout with the Empty Paint Container and Tilt just enough to start Pouring
Once you have enough paint (in your smaller can or a tray), gently tilt the bucket back until it stops pouring.
This will let you pour the paint properly without spillage.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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