House paint usually keeps for around four years, but I wouldn’t recommend painting your walls with it if it is older than two. Old paint can bubble easily, and often has a strange grainy texture, especially if it has been in a freezing-cold garage for a few winters in a row. Instead of taking the risk and rolling it onto your walls, here are five fun, alternative ways to put leftover paint to use.
1) Pour-over art
Most house paint (especially outdoor paint) has a very high latex content, so it dries thick and rubbery which is ideal for this form of art. Watch a few pour-over art videos on youtube to get yourself prepped. Grab a canvas, fill a cup with a few different colours of paint (never stir!) and go wild. If you don’t have many interesting colours of house paint, acrylic wood paint is cheap, easily available, and can be mixed in with house paint to change the tint.
2) Paint your shelves to match your wall
I have done this in several different houses and it has always produced a crisp, clean, satisfying result. A cheap set of thrifted shelves can be instantly improved with a roller and a can of latex house paint. Shelves that are the same colour as the walls behind them don’t make the room feel as walled-in as contrasting colours do. This is an easy way to improve your storage situation with minimal visual-shrinkage of your living space.
3) Add texture to your costumes
This was one of the most unexpected uses I found for my collection of house paint. Because of the high latex content, house paint can be brushed on to fabric to create a fleshy, organic texture that resembles dinosaur skin or soft tree bark. It is not stretchy once it has dried, so ensure that the garment is in the ideal form while you are applying the paint. This effect is great for creature/ monster costumes. I have made a few cosplays using house paint for texture, most recently for a Venusaur (a scaly, dinosaur like pokemon) costume that was a hit at Fan Expo.
4) Seal your terra-cotta plant pots
Terra-cotta is a highly porous material. Terra-cotta pots are very inexpensive compared to ceramic, but will gradually absorb water, pulling moisture from the soil of whatever is planted in them. For drought-tollerant plants, this effect can be excellent, but for tropical houseplants that love water, it can be detrimental. Coating the outside of your terracotta pots in a few thick layers of latex house paint will seal all the tiny pores and reduce moisture loss. It’s also a nice way to match your plant pots to your walls, if you’re keen on colour coordinated interior design.
5) Make some trendy drift-wood art
Driftwood is an ideal surface for painting because the salt and sun have already done all the work of stripping off bark and surface imperfections. Latex paint is ideal for painting driftwood because it forms a thick, rubbery coating that wont flake and peel as easily as traditional wood paint will. Head down to the beach and grab some choice sticks, use a sponge roller to paint them to match your walls (especially if you can match them to a feature wall), stick them in a large urn and you have yourself a classy piece of colour-coordinated DIY decor.