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Stretch Your Paint Dollars

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Paint is a staple in any theater. Here are a few tips for making your paint go farther:

Buy the best you can afford - a more expensive paint and better quality rollers and brushes will cover better than the cheap stuff and can sometimes make a second coat unnecessary.
Water it down - even a new can of paint can take a little water and still give good coverage. It spreads easier, too.
Solicit donations - Let the community and your membership know that you'll be more than glad to make a home for leftover paint. Check with local paint and hardware stores to see if they'd be willing to donate paint or give you a discount in exchange for an ad in your program. If you're lucky enough to have a paint manufacturer in your area, check with their corporate or community relations office to see if they'd be willing to support your organization by donating a few cases of white and flat black each season.
Know your space - make a note of how many cans of paint it usually takes to cover an average set, and make that information available to whoever is responsible for buying paint for each production. Buy only what you need.
Save it! - if you've got the space, set aside an area to store leftover paint. You may never again paint an entire set in "Baby Poop Brown," but you can use that leftover half-can for detailing, shading and mixing. Once a year, go through your stored paint and throw out the cans that are no longer useable. (Use the usual safety precautions, especially when storing spray or enamel-based paints - store in a cool non-smoking area.)


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