Transferring paint from pots to dropper bottles

Hello all!

I haven’t been very active recently because I’ve been rather unwell and dealing with some personal business, but I thought I’d share something I started doing last night since it’s something I’ve seen people ask about before.

I’ve been moving paint into new dropper bottles from some old pots which are not fit for purpose (not air tight, or ridiculously hard to open, or an awkward shape) but still contain paint that I want to keep or, in some cases, can’t replace.

So here’s what I used and how it went,…

I had heard that rather than using funnels, the best way to do this was to use a liquid syringe. Fortunately I have plenty of these to hand because when my house rabbits have gotten sick in the past the medicine has usually come with a couple of different syringes. I also knew from experience that I wanted my dropper bottles to contain an agitator. So here’s the set of tools I started with.

From left to right: 6mm glass beads as agitators, 15ml squeezable LDPE eye dropper bottle with cap and nozzle/tip, 10ml liquid syringe, cheap plastic pipette

The beads I got from ebay and I’m actually very happy with. Some people consider glass to be too light to properly agitate the paint, but they seem to work fine to me. Unlike metal agitators there’s no risk of rust either. I went for the 6mm size because I need them to fit the narrow necks of Vallejo or other dropper bottles.

The LDPE dropper bottle came very cheap from Amazon, around £3 for 10 of them. It’s not the best quality but it’s absolutely fine for my purposes. The top screws on tightly enough and the nozzles are a good width provided the paint is relatively thin.

The syringe was from the veterinarian and the pipette (which I use just for paint thinner) was in a big 50 pack or something from a discount store.


Some people just use water to thin their paints but I prefer to use actual paint thinner. In this process it helps get the right consistency and helps mix the rather old and dried out paint that I’m moving across.


Here’s the first paint I wanted to move over. A very bright orange from The Miniature Painter range which was very good value for money, but suffered from the seal not being tight enough leading to the paint drying out, and from the top often getting stuck and being a total pain to remove if I hadn’t used the paint in a few days. By the time of this transfer to the new bottle the paint was in quite a sorry state.


Some fairly big dried out gobs and encrusted paint and the overall consistency was both far too thick and uneven. So the first thing I did was to pipette in quite a lot of paint thinner and to throw in the 6mm glass agitator bead, then really give the pot a decent amount of shaking by hand. I kept doing this and adding paint thinner until I got the consistency I wanted, which is relatively thin to make the transfer easier.


It takes a bit of practice to avoid covering the outside of the syringe with paint as well, but if you’re a deft hand it’s no problem to hoover it up and squirt it into the new bottle. After a few times doing this and maybe thinning and shaking the original paint again, you should have more than 90% of it moved across.


Remember to take the glass bead out and put it in the new dropper bottle!

I’ve done this with 3 old paints now and it’s worked out surprisingly well. It’s also quite a satisfying thing to do and appeals to my sense of order getting things into roughly the same sort of bottle, or at least reducing the number of bottle/pot types on my paint racks.

2 thoughts on “Transferring paint from pots to dropper bottles”

  1. thats a neat idea, hope you feel better love your heavy gear stuf, such a great game and a top notch lore/setting needs more love glad you’re giveing it!


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