Should Paint be Shaken or Stirred?


Have you recently gotten the ambition to paint? Well, you may be wondering then if paint should be shaken or stirred before you paint. If you do not mix the contents good enough before you start painting, you will likely not get the results that you want.

Should paint be shaken or stirred? Paint needs to be shaken and stirred. Before you leave the store where you purchased the paint, they should shake the paint in a machine to ensure that it is mixed properly. Before you start painting, you should also stir the paint. The longer the paint sits, the more you will need to stir it before you begin painting. 

Knowing how long or when to shake or stir paint is important if you want to have your walls looking great when you finish the job. If you’ve never painted before, knowing how and when to stir or shake your paint can be confusing but don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Continue reading to have all your questions answered.

When to Shake Paint

As a general rule, you’ll want to have the paint you purchase shaken at the store, so the colors and ingredients mix properly. Stores have a special paint shaker that does the job better than you could ever do by hand.

If you forget to have your paint shaken at the store, you might be able to take it back to the store and have them shake it for you. Most stores will do it for free. Why not take advantage of that?

If you tried going back to the store, and for some reason, they aren’t willing to shake it, you may be able to shake it with an attachment called a paint mixing propeller. This device attaches to your drill, and it is fairly easy to use.

Do not shake your paint by hand if it has been sitting for more than a week. Shaking paint that has sat this long by hand does not mix the colors and ingredients well enough. If you use paint that hasn’t been properly shaken, you will have all sorts of different colors on your wall, and it may start peeling. Now, if you’re into that sort of thing, by all means, start shaking, but most of us want the color that we selected from the paint card.

Using a Mixing Propeller to Mix Paint

Using a mixing propeller is the easiest and most effective way to remix your paint at home without taking it to get professionally mixed. But how do you use it if you’ve never done it before? Follow these easy steps, and you’ll be mixing paint by yourself like a pro.

  • Drill a Hole in the Lid: The first thing you’ll do is drill a hole in the lid that is a little bit bigger than the attachment. After you have done this, you will remove the lid. 
  • Place attachment in Can: Put the attachment down into the paint. Don’t turn it on just yet. 
  • Replace Lid: Bring the lid over the attachment using the hole you made and secure it. 
  • Place Towel over edges of Hole: To avoid any splattering, you may want to put a towel or a shop rag over the edges of the can. 
  • Put the attachment on the drill: The last step is to put the attachment on the drill. Then you’re all set to mix the paint.

If you have let your paint sit for a couple of months, you will want to have it shaken as well. As it sits, the paint can and will separate over time. Each time you open the can you should check it. Also, we aware that some paint will go bad if left to sit too long.

When to Stir Paint

Generally, you’ll want to stir paint if you are using it a couple of days after you have gotten it from the store. Yes, it can start separating that fast after you’ve brought it home. That’s the reason you are given a stirring stick at the store.

  • Stir Upon Opening: Simply open the can and use the stirring stick to stir it a couple of times. Even if you have just brought it back from the store, you’ll want to mix the contents of the paint before you use it. Contents of paint settle rather quickly.
  • Stir While Painting: You’ll also want to make sure you’re stirring it in-between uses as well. This ensures optimum color results. Oftentimes when you go into a store and complain about the color you got, that’s one of the first questions you will be asked.
  • Stir Before Opening: You should stir paint are right before usage.
  • If Store In Cooler Temps: If you’ve had it stored in a chilled room. Paint should be stored at room temperature. If it has been stored in a room with a slightly cooler temperature than the rest of the house, like a cellar or a garage, you’ll want to stir it and let it sit to come to room temperature before painting, otherwise, you’ll have thicker coats of discolored paint all over your walls.

Shaking Paint by Hand: An Alternative to Stirring

Shaking paint by hand can also work, rather than stirring. However, do not shake by hand to compensate for professional shaking. But if you lost the stirring stick you were given, or you just feel like shaking the paint, shaking is a good alternative to stirring. But, it will not mix the chemicals that sink to the bottom of the can well enough.

So to make this clear, you want to get it professionally shaken once to mix the initial colors and chemicals. Once you’ve gotten home, and it has sat for a little while you may shake the paint by hand. The mixing propeller will suffice if you can not get it professionally shaken.

The length of time your paint has sat for will determine how long or vigorously you should shake the paint for. A good rule of thumb to follow is same-day usage, lightly stir before usage. If you wait a couple of days, you should give it a good shake with your hands. But, if it has sat for a week or longer, you should get it professionally shaken or use a mixing propeller.

The Right Way To Stir Paint and How Long to Stir By Hand?

Knowing how to stir paint is the most important part of the painting process. Yes, there is a right way to stir paint. It’s fairly straight forward and easy to learn. Here are some tips on the right way to stir paint.

  1. The best way to stir a can of paint by hand is to use the wooden paint stick, dip it in the paint, making sure the stick reaches all the way down to the bottom of the can to make sure you’re getting the stuff that has settled to the bottom of the can.
  1. Next, you’re going to stir it in a circular motion, making sure not to splash any of the contents outside of the can.
  1. Depending on how the paint looking you will want to slowly stir it anywhere from two minutes to five minutes.

Does Paint Need to Be Stirred?

Yes, paint does need to be stirred. It needs to be stirred every time you use it, as well as while you’re painting. This is the reason you are given a stirring stick every time you buy paint from the store.

Generally, you’ll want to stir the paint for a couple of minutes before you start painting. You will determine how long you need to stir the paint by how it looks. Here are some good things to consider to determine stirring time.

  • Color: When you open the can of paint, does the color look like it should? If you’re not sure, select a small space on your wall and test it out. If the color looks close to what it should look like, stir for a couple of minutes. You’ll know if it has separated a lot, and, if it has you should stir for about five minutes.
  • Separation: Has the color separated from the mixture? If this has happened, it means that it has sat for at least a week. You should consider having it professionally shaken again.
  • What’s on Top: If there is a clear coat on top of the paint all you need to do it lightly stir it a couple of times and you’re ready to paint.

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