4 Easy Ways to Open a Paint Can Like a Pro

updated Dec 6, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Whether you’re dreaming of a blue bedroom, a white kitchen, or a gray living room, your next home makeover project is probably going to start with paint. For new DIYers, visiting the paint aisle can be intimidating, but we promise: Even the most beginner of beginners can learn how to paint a room.

The first lesson? How to open a paint can. Even if you’ve painted a room or two, you might be surprised to know there’s more than one way to tackle opening a can of paint.

Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

In fact, we’ve got four super easy ways, using a putty knife, flathead screwdriver, painter’s 15-in-1, and a paint can opener—all of which will have you cracking open your paint can like a pro.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

1. Use a putty knife

You’ll need one that’s stiff and not too bendy, like this one. Otherwise, you won’t be able to pry the lid off. Slip the front edge of the putty knife under the lip of the can and lift it, moving around the edge of the can until the lid’s fully loosened.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

2. Use a flathead screwdriver

You’re likely to have a flathead screwdriver lying around already. Place the head of the screwdriver in the gap where the lid meets the can and lift up gently. Continue all the way around the can until you can remove the whole lid.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

3. Use a painter’s 15-in-1 tool

The painter’s 15-in-1 tool is an MVP when it comes to painting projects. It can serve as a can opener, a putty knife, a roller scraper, a chisel, a nail puller, and a corner cleaner. For opening a paint can, you’ll use the short, flat part of the tool. Place it in the crack between the lid and the can and lift, rotating the can to move around the entire lid.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

4. Use a paint can opener

A paint can opener is a great little tool to have around, and at less than a dollar a pop, it’s an extremely budget-friendly one, too. Use the flat end to pry the lid from the can, rotating to move around the entire lid. Then, lift the lid away from the can.