How do you Strain Paint without a Strainer? MacGyver-style solutions for smooth strokes

strain paint without a strainer

Have you ever found yourself in a predicament where you need to strain paint, but you don’t have a strainer at hand?

We’ve been there too, and we’re here to help! Straining paint is essential to achieve a smooth and professional finish, as it eliminates lumps, debris, and dried bits of paint that can mar your painted surfaces.

But what can you do when a strainer isn’t available?

Not to worry, we’ve got some makeshift solutions that can save the day.

If you are short on time, To strain paint without a strainer, there are a few methods you can try:

  • One way is to pour the paint into a clean bucket and place a fine-mesh strainer over the top of the bucket.
  • Slowly pour the paint through the strainer into another clean container. Another method is to use wire mesh or window screen over a clean container or bucket.
  • You can also try using a spoon or other object to slowly and carefully pour the paint into the strainer.
methods to strain paint


Before we delve into the different methods, let’s take a moment to appreciate why straining paint is so important. Besides ensuring a smooth finish, straining paint can also extend the life of your paintbrushes and sprayers, as these lumps and debris can cause clogs and subsequent damage.

Additionally, straining paint is an eco-friendly practice as it allows you to revive old paint instead of tossing it out and buying new tins. With these benefits in mind, let’s explore some creative ways to strain paint without using a traditional strainer.

You might be wondering, can a DIY solution really do the job as efficiently as a store-bought strainer?

Well, you’d be surprised at some common household items that can double as paint strainers. Whether it’s using wire mesh, pantyhose, or a fine-mesh sieve, we have tested and found a variety of approaches that will get the job done without breaking the bank. Curious to find out more? Then, let’s dive into the world of improvisation and discover our top techniques for straining paint in the absence of a strainer!

Methods to Strain Paint

Straining paint is essential to ensure a smooth and flawless finish. When your paint has debris or dried bits, you need a technique to remove them without a strainer. Worry not!

Here, we’ll introduce you to three easy-to-find household items that you can use as alternatives to a conventional paint strainer: pantyhose, cheesecloth, and coffee filter.


A pair of old, but clean, pantyhose can be your new best friend when it comes to straining paint. The fine mesh of pantyhose is excellent at catching even the tiniest particles of debris that might be lurking in your paint.

To use, simply stretch the pantyhose over the opening of a clean container, securing it in place. Then, carefully pour the paint through the pantyhose and into the container. This technique is something we swear by it!


Another easily accessible alternative is a cheesecloth. Its loose-woven nature makes it an excellent choice for straining paint.

To use, place a piece of cheesecloth over a clean container, then slowly pour the paint through it. The cheesecloth will catch the lumps and debris, while the strained paint will collect in the container below.

As you can see, even in the culinary world, cheesecloth proves itself a versatile tool, demonstrating its usefulness in the world of paint as well!

Coffee Filter

Did you know that your morning routine can lend a hand in your paint-related endeavours? Yes, a coffee filter can be an efficient tool for straining paint. While it might take a bit more time due to its finer mesh, a coffee filter can catch even the smallest of impurities in your paint.

To use this method, place a funnel over a clean container, and put a coffee filter inside the funnel. Slowly pour the paint through the filter, and watch as it does its magic, leaving you with beautifully strained paint, ready for application!

So, the next time you find yourself in need of a makeshift paint strainer, don’t fret! With these household items at your disposal, you’ve got a winning, and possibly surprisingly enjoyable, solution.

Types of Paint and Strainers

Types of Paint and Strainers

As we dive into the world of paint straining, let’s look at the different types of paint and the corresponding straining methods. In this section, we’ll explore oil-based paints and water-based paints, offering tips and tricks on straining them without a strainer.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints can be quite tricky to work with, especially when you’re trying to get rid of lumps and impurities. Don’t have a proper paint strainer? No problem!

We’ve got a solution for you: try creating a makeshift paint strainer using everyday household items.

For example, you can use a cheap knee-high stocking from the pound shop as a strainer. Stretch it over the opening of a clean container, pour the paint through it, and voila! Say goodbye to those pesky lumps.

Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints can also cause some challenges when it comes to straining. However, we have a creative solution for you. Did you know that you can use the humble tea bag as a paint strainer? That’s right! Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Empty the tea from the bag – drink it if you like, or just toss it away;
  • Rinse the bag and allow it to dry;
  • Stretch the tea bag over the opening of a clean container;
  • Pour the paint through the tea bag, letting it catch any solid bits and debris.

See, who says you can’t be resourceful when straining your paint? There are numerous homemade paint strainer options for both oil-based and water-based paints, so you’re never left stranded without a sparkling paint finish.

In conclusion, straining paint without a dedicated strainer is entirely possible. Keep in mind that it’s essential to choose a straining method that works well with your specific paint type.

By doing so, you too can achieve a smooth, professional paint finish… even if you’re just painting a fence or a garden gnome!

Tools and Techniques strain paint

Tools and Techniques

We know that straining paint can be a right challenge without a proper strainer. But worry not! We have just the solutions you need. Let’s discuss some innovative techniques for straining paint without a strainer, using simple items that you might already have lying around the house.

Rubber Band

One creative way to strain paint is to use a rubber band. Yes, you heard that right, just a plain old rubber band. To do this, simply stretch the rubber band around the rim of your paint can, making sure to leave enough space for the paint to flow through underneath.

The rubber band acts as a makeshift strainer, allowing the paint to seep through but trapping larger debris. Give this a try the next time you find yourself in a pinch and in need of a strainer.

Brushing and Rolling

Ever thought of using your trusted painting tools for straining paint? Well, brushing and rolling can indeed help you out. When you dip your brush or roller into the paint, the bristles or foam can catch any pesky particles or debris that might be lurking in there.

Just make sure you’re using a clean brush or roller and keep an eye out for any bits that are caught, so you can pick them out before they make their way onto your walls.

Stockings and Cone Filters

Last but not least, let’s talk about some of our all-time favourite alternatives to proper paint strainers. First up, an old stocking can be incredibly useful for this task. Simply stretch the stocking over the opening of your paint container and pour the paint through it. The mesh of the stocking will catch any chunks or debris, leaving you with clean and smooth paint.

Next, consider using a cone filter, such as the ones typically used for brewing coffee. These filters can be positioned over a clean container and held in place with your hand, a rubber band, or a purpose-made strainer holder.

Just pour the paint through the filter and watch as it strains out any unwanted bits and bobs.

So there you have it, folks – say goodbye to lumpy paint! We’ve shown you that you don’t always need a fancy strainer to achieve a perfect paint job. After all, who doesn’t love a good bit of DIY ingenuity?

alternatives and resources strain paint

Alternatives and Resources

We understand that sometimes, you might not have a paint strainer on hand, but worry not! We’re here to offer you some ingenious and cost-effective alternatives to strain paint without a strainer.

In this section, we’ll cover a few methods, such as using items from the dollar store and Pinterest, window screens, and the 5-gallon bucket strategy.

Dollar Store and Pinterest

When you need a quick and affordable solution, your local dollar store and Pinterest can come to your rescue. Did you know that you can use cheap knee-highs from the dollar store to strain paint?

It’s a nifty little trick shared by Salvaged Inspirations. All you need to do is stretch two knee-highs over the opening of the container you’re pouring paint into and pour carefully.

No fuss, no mess! Additionally, browsing through the DIY projects on Pinterest can provide you with more creative ideas for straining paint without a strainer.

Window Screens

Did you ever think that a window screen could be your go-to paint strainer? We bet you didn’t! A clean, used window screen can actually serve as a decent makeshift strainer for paint.

Just place it over the top of the container you’re pouring paint into and pour carefully. Ensure that the screen is clean before using it for this purpose; otherwise, you might end up with debris in your freshly strained paint. And nobody wants that, do they?

5-Gallon Bucket Method

Our final alternative for straining paint without a strainer is the 5-gallon bucket method. This method involves using a fine-mesh strainer large enough to fit snugly over the opening of a 5-gallon bucket.

First, pour your paint into the bucket and then slowly pour the paint through the mesh strainer into another clean container. The paint will flow through the fine mesh, leaving behind any clumps or debris.

So remember, even without a paint strainer, there’s no need to panic. With a little ingenuity and resourcefulness, you can achieve perfectly strained paint using these alternative methods. Happy painting!

Paint Straining Benefits

First and foremost, straining paint is essential in ensuring that your painting project goes smoothly, quite literally!

When paint is left sitting for some time, impurities tend to accumulate. These impurities could range from dirt, dust, or even small pieces of dried paint. Straining your paint eliminates these impurities, creating a smooth, debris-free mixture that is much more enjoyable to work with.

What happens when you don’t strain paint? Well, imagine trying to create an immaculate masterpiece only to have lumps and bumps appear out of nowhere!

It’s like being on a first date, and spinach gets stuck between your teeth. Nobody wants that, right?

  • Improved Paintbrush Application: Straining paint improves the application process when using a paintbrush. A debris-free paint not only glides smoothly onto the surface but also ensures that the final result looks both polished and professional.
  • Better Sprayer Performance: For the fans of spraying equipment, straining paint is a must. By removing all those pesky particles, you can maintain optimal performance and prevent blockages in your sprayer. After all, it’s no secret that clean machines require minimal maintenance and last longer!

Ready for some fun facts? Did you know that straining paint isn’t just limited to commercial paint strainers? In fact, some folks have been known to get inventive, using cheap knee-high stockings as a makeshift filter in a pinch. Now, isn’t that a creative approach?

Paint Strainer Materials

When it comes to straining paint without a strainer, there are several materials you can use that are readily available in most households. In this section, we’ll explore three popular alternatives: bag strainers, nylon mesh, and Trimaco products.

Bag Strainer

One thrifty and effective method to strain paint is by using a bag strainer, such as a pair of tights or stockings. The fine mesh of these materials catches lumps and debris while allowing the paint to pass through.

To implement this method, simply stretch the stocking over the opening of a clean container and pour the paint through it. Who knew your old hosiery could come in handy like this, right? Give it a go, and you might be pleasantly surprised!

Nylon Mesh

Another option is to utilise nylon mesh or window screen to strain the paint. Prepare a clean container, position the mesh over its opening, and pour the paint through it.

The fine threads in these materials will filter out unwanted clumps, giving your paint a smooth, consistent texture for various projects. Nylon mesh can prove to be a nimble and accessible straining material found in most households.


If you’re keen on using a more professional product but don’t have any paint strainers on hand, consider using Trimaco paint strainers. These products are specifically designed for straining paints and offer superior filtering capabilities.

Simply position a Trimaco paint strainer over the opening of a clean container and pour the paint through it to achieve the desired smoothness. Although not a DIY solution like the other two options, Trimaco products provide an excellent alternative when you’re in a pinch and need to strain paint professionally. You can order them online or find them at your local hardware store.

So there you have it – three practical alternatives for straining paint without using a traditional paint strainer. Unleash your inner MacGyver and experiment with these methods to find the one that suits you best. Happy painting!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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