How to Pour From a 5-Gallon Paint Pail

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A 5-gallon bucket of paint is tricky to pour from without causing a mess, especially when it is full. Install a specialty spout on the lid to gain better control over the paint and to greatly cut down on spills. Add the spout and pour the paint once the paint is already mixed, either by a store representative or at home with a drill-operated paint stirrer.


Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tarp

  • Paint spout designed for 5-gallon bucket lid

  • 5-gallon lid with built-in spout (optional)

  • Empty paint container or paint tray

Step 1

Set the plastic tarp on level ground in your work area. Set the paint container on top of the tarp.

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Step 2

Remove the screw cap on the top of the paint lid by turning it counter-clockwise. The screw cap covers a smaller hole, much like a larger version of the cap and spout on an orange juice carton. If the lid has no capped hole, purchase a replacement lid that does.


Some replacement lids feature a pull-out spout that is built into the lid; if you purchase this kind, you do not need to add another spout. The spout can be pushed back down inside the lid afterwards, then covered with a cap.

Step 3

Attach the spout to the threaded hole on the pail lid by turning it clockwise atop the threads. Tighten the spout so that it slopes toward the nearest part of the rim's lid.


Step 4

Tilt the paint pail slightly toward the empty paint container or tray, lining it up so the spout points downward. Twist the spout if necessary to adjust its alignment. Tilt only a little at a time, allowing gravity to pull the paint down the spout.

Step 5

Tip the paint bucket back upright once you've poured the desired amount of paint into the container or tray.


Make sure the lid is secured completely onto the pail before pouring the paint; otherwise, it may come off, spilling much of the paint in the process. Press the lid firmly down around its entire perimeter or tap it gently with a rubber mallet to ensure it is snapped into place.


  • If you do not have a spout or a lid with a hole in it, use a large ladle to scoop some of the paint out at first. Once the paint container is almost half empty, it will be easy enough to pour without making a mess.
  • If you insist on pouring paint right from the container without a spout, keep rags on hand because the paint will spill down the side of the container -- no matter how careful you are.
  • Tape a wide piece of corrugated cardboard, rounded like the bill on a baseball cap, for yet another way to pour directly from the container. Use a strong tape such as duct tape. This method can be messy as well, but the paint is a bit easier to control than when pouring straight out of the bucket.



Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.