10 Things To Do With Leftover Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a great medium you can use to add color to any craft or home improvement project. However, once you’ve finished your project, you might think it’s time to get rid of your leftover paint. 

But that doesn’t have to be the case! Don’t rush to throw away your acrylic paint after your project is done. There are plenty of things you can do with it. 

Here are 10 things to do with your leftover acrylic paint: 

  1. Save it for later. 
  2. Make spray paint art. 
  3. Make a “dirty pour” painting. 
  4. Create splatter art. 
  5. Use the chips to make jewelry. 
  6. Make a collage. 
  7. Let your kids’ imagination run wild. 
  8. Renew some old furniture or decorations. 
  9. Do your own color run. 
  10. Add texture to future art. 

By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll have plenty of ideas of what you can do with leftover acrylic paint. 

Things To Do With Leftover Acrylic Paint

Save It for Later

The first thing you should consider doing with your leftover acrylic paint is simply saving it for later. Whether your leftover paint is still in a tube or can, or you’ve already poured it into a palette, if it’s still wet and one color, save it. You can use it in a future painting project. 

If your leftover paint is still in its original container, most of the work is done for you. Just make sure you cover it properly, so the paint doesn’t come in contact with the air and dry out. 

However, if you’re trying to salvage already poured paint, then all you have to do is transfer it to a container with an airtight lid. A mason jar is perfect — or a plastic kitchen container. 

Make Spray Paint Art

If you’ve diluted your acrylic paint for a project but still have some leftover by the time you’re done, you might be tempted to just throw the rest out. However, don’t do that. Instead, use it to make spray art

Simply add more water to your acrylic paint to dilute it further and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You can even use an empty window cleaner bottle that’s been cleaned out, then spray a canvas or paper with your mixture, and voila, you have new artwork! 

This paint might not be as vibrant as it would be if you used thicker acrylic, but it’s a great way to avoid letting your acrylic paint go to waste.

Make a “Dirty Pour” Painting

In recent years, one popular use for acrylic paint is “pour” painting. This is done by mixing your acrylic paints with alcohol and then pouring them out on canvas — or in a liquid if you want to make an acrylic “skin.” By doing this, you create a marbled pattern as your finished product. 

Though this use for acrylic usually employs new paint, you can accomplish the same result with leftover acrylic. If you’re using paint that you’ve already poured and used or mixed with other colors, your result is called a “dirty” pour because you’re using dirty paint! 

Create Splatter Art 

A fun way to be creative and burn some energy while still using up leftover acrylic is to create splatter art. There are a few ways to do this, depending on the supplies you have, the space you have to work in, and the mess you’re willing to clean up. 

To create splitter art, simply dip a paintbrush in your leftover acrylic and flick it at a canvas or whatever surface you’re painting. The excess will fly off and create a splattering pattern. 

For a more complex method of doing this, fill water balloons with paint and pop them, so the paint spills all over your canvas in a small splash of color. 

Use the Chips To Make Jewelry

Dried acrylic can create gorgeous patterns that feel shameful to throw out. Luckily, you don’t have to do that. You can save dried acrylic and make one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. 

There are multiple ways to do this. Some involve simply pressing your dried acrylic into a jewelry mold and gluing a clear top over them to create a magnified sort of look. 

VIDEO. If you want to see this method at work, check out this YouTube video for some inspiration. WATCH – Easy DIY Paint Skin Jewelry Made From Left Over Paint Pour

Ajs Vintage Designs and Fashion Toppings

Make a Collage

This is another option for you if you’re reluctant to get rid of dried acrylic paint chips. If you like how your paint has mixed together, you can collect the chips to make a collage

Depending on the sizes of your paint chips, you can even use them as your collage background. Alternatively, you could cut specific shapes out of your acrylic paint. Using acrylic paint will add a special touch to your collage art that you wouldn’t be able to recreate with fresh paint. 

Let Your Kids’ Imagination Run Wild

If you’re a parent or have children in your life, the easiest way you can use leftover acrylic paint is to let them help! Depending on the their age, make sure you set down plenty of newspaper or protective sheets in case there’s a mess. Also, get your kids ready with art smocks. 

Then, simply set up paintbrushes, paper, canvases, and your leftover paint and let them use their imagination. Just make sure to keep an eye on them; acrylic paint is water-based, but it’s still toxic if ingested. 

Renew Some Old Furniture or Decorations

Do you have any old pieces of furniture or decor that you’ve been trying to revitalize in some way? Using your leftover acrylic paint might be the best way to do just that. 

Acrylic paint can be used on most surfaces. So if you have leftover paint you don’t want to get rid of, now might be the time to see if there’s a picture frame, side-table, or mirror that would look better with a fresh coat. 

Do Your Own Color Run

If you want to have a little fun while using your leftover paint, why not do your own version of a color run? Color runs are races that involve onlookers throwing color in paint or powder form at the runners. By the time they’re done, everyone who participated looks like a rainbow. 

You can organize one yourself by diluting your acrylic paint and pouring it into water balloons or spray bottles. Then, simply gather all your friends and family and have fun racing. Just make sure not to ingest any paint and wear protective eye gear, so you don’t get any droplets into your eyes. 

Add Texture To Future Art 

The final thing you might want to consider when figuring out what to do with old acrylic paint is using it in future art projects. 

I don’t mean simply saving the paint like in point one. In this case, I mean using your leftover paint to help create texture in your future art pieces. Rather than using painting techniques to create the illusion of depth, you can layer paint or use dried acrylic chips to do the same. Creating depth on your canvas will help take your artwork to the next level. 

Final Words

Acrylic paint isn’t just versatile when it’s brand new and fresh. There are plenty of things you can do with leftover paint as well. This list has just provided ten of the hundreds of possible projects you can do with leftover acrylic paint. 


Was this article helpful?


Ines is a self-taught artist based in the UK. Originally from Caracas, she has dabbled in the world of arts and crafts in a diversity of ways participating in city intervention projects, sustainable practices’ open exhibitions, and her illustrations being featured in anniversary editions of literary magazines.

Recent Posts