Thursday, June 27, 2013
Next time you open an old bottle of craft paint, or water-based or gel stain that appears to have turned into a solid-seeming mass or very thick goop, with or without visible liquid, don't throw it out. Find 1 or 2 small pebbles, glass beads (plastic or wood are too light), ball bearings or even hex nuts or screws. Drop them into the bottle and then push them down through the thick skin and into the goop inside, using a pencil end or similar tool to submerge them. Replace the cap tightly and give the sides of the bottle 5 or 6 hard whacks against the edge of a table or countertop, then shake, shake, shake ......... You should start to hear/feel the objects inside begin to move through the paint, remixing the contents, much like the cans of spray paint that tell you to shake until the metal balls inside move freely (which by the way, is where I came up with this idea a few years ago.) Continue shaking, checking the consistency of the paint as the sounds from the bottle change, until the contents are fully blended. If you find that the paint still is too thick, add 2-3 drops of water and shake again. You may have to add another few drops if it's still too thick, and possibly even more, but I wouldn't add more than 1/2 teaspoon total or it will become too runny. Of course, if after all this, the blob is still a blob, you can always soak off the label and use the bottle as a roller for polymer clay, or cut off the neck at the ring just below where the threads for the lid start, stick 4 beads on the bottom for feet, cut a card stock circle to fill the top and turn it into a hot water tank, water softener, or wood-fired room heating stove (add a card stock or heavy foil door for adding fuel), and appropriately sized bendy straws for any water pipes or the smoke pipe pushed into a hole in the card stock circle.
HINT: From now on, every time you open a bottle of paint, new or partially used, add the pebbles, beads or what's-its before you shake. Eventually, all your bottles will contain these mixing balls, and even that bottle of (name of oddball colour here) you bought in 2006, opened but never used, will be good to go in no time. If you are an SFM (aka "Super Frugal Minimaker" ), you can remove the items once the paint is all used up, wash them off, reuse in another bottle AND follow the hints above for using a bottle you can't revive. It's up to you to come up with a use for the flip-top lid and the part you cut from the neck. :-D