I forgot to put the lid on my can of paint and left it open overnight. Looks like there is a little bit of skin on the top but it hasn't completely dried out. Can this paint be saved??

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    I feel your pain. I just did that with a can of 2-part epoxy primer ($90) but it was much too late to catch it. Fortunately there was only about a pint left, so only out $12. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 21 at 2:05
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    Had to restrain myself from flagging for migration to tex.stackexchange – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Jan 21 at 12:28
  • You mean the color package ? I think it's ok with the lid off too. – einpoklum Jan 21 at 12:57

The paint can be saved. Carefully remove all the skin because it will show up on the painted surfaces if you don't. Stir the paint and you're good to go.

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  • And a dribble of latex paint thinner will help too – Kris Jan 21 at 1:48
  • Use a filter (or cheesecloth) or you'll likely miss some chunks. – Ecnerwal Jan 21 at 1:50
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica I sense another Harper rule forming: return lid to can! – JACK Jan 21 at 2:05
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica yes that’s were you will find it. I was in sherwin Williams when someone came in asking for the product. I told the manager he could have sold a bottle of water to this guy for 25 dollars if he had wanted to. – Kris Jan 21 at 2:05
  • @JACK yup. Boy howdy, if that'd been a full one, I'da been in the soup. Sorry I deleted the comment and moved it to OP. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 21 at 2:06

Most old paints can be saved, (albeit at a drop in final quality) as long as you can squish it somehow, and add in more carrier (thinner or water). The final colour is generally a good enough match, but blobs can make it annoying.

I had enough for a touchup, but it was a putty-like consistency. It did take a good half-hour of mashing with various implements and slowly adding water, but the resulting mess worked well enough, and went on thicker than the original paint, which was nice because it helped smooth the underlying blemishes in the wood.

The skin is done-for in your case, but peel it off, and try to wipe the underside on the lip of the can, so the not-dry paint falls back into the can.

Good luck!

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