As we’ve said, we double strain all the paint we mix to remove any lumps and chunks of old paint – or whatever else is in those cans. Occasionally we will find an old paint roller, bits of a foam brush or even painters’ rags in a can; and I swear one time I think there were bacon bits… but I digress.
Our straining process has evolved the most of all our work, and we are quite proud of our current state-of-the-art sieve technology. Those familiar with our business would probably agree that we’ve come a long way from our primitive beginnings.
We started out by covering the cans with old panty hose held in place with a rubber band. Sophisticated? That’s us. This method had some drawbacks, though… such as the fact that the hose could only stretch so far and we frequently had to pour paint from a big heavy bucket down into a much smaller one; and again, this smaller can is covered with panty hose. Know how hard that is? I do. So does my friend Kim, who made the mistake of coming in to visit that day. The blue paint I was pouring out of the big bucket spilled out all over the entire shop and it took three hours to clean it up. We sold the one can of strained paint we salvaged, but if you want to see the color, you can check out our floor. Or you can check out Kim’s cashmere wrap, ‘cause it’s still there, too. I believe I named that batch “Uh Oh Blue.”
Eventually we ran out of both good reusable hose and patience, so we tried cheesecloth, tulle, and lord knows what else that could be cut large enough to fit over a wide-mouthed bucket. The problem with all these strainers was the rubber band. Every time we tried to get it off to remove the filter, the rubber band (covered with paint) would shoot across the room and leave splatter everywhere. We tried taping the filters onto the bucket, but all too often the tape (covered in paint) would get wet and slip off, so the whole filter would end up in the bucket.
Resourceful geniuses that we are, we finally did figure it out. Well, Katharine and Tania did, anyway. We make our own frames from paint sticks or use circular embroidery frames to hold multiple layers of screen. They rest on top of the bucket, so they can be removed easily; they can be smooshed down in the middle so the paint pools into the bucket instead of running off over the top; and they can be washed and used many times, which makes us recyclers happy.
I think we might be filing with the US Patent Office.