Plenty of crying over spilled paint

Homefront readers are quick to fill a knowledge vacuum, such as the one I explored in a recent column about deciding what to do with extra, barely used cans of latex paint.

Several people e-mailed, some taking me to task for being wasteful and not creative enough, while others commiserated by telling their own redecorating stories.

A reader chided: "Your article was amusing, but please think outside the box. Who needs small amounts of paint? Craft people, artists, art teachers, vacation Bible schools."

One woman wrote: "Instead of disposing of your quarts, have a garage sale, give them to a neighbor, or ask the dealer to resell them for a buck."

Another reader says her painter offered to mix all the test quarts together and paint her closets with the blend. She declined, believing the resulting color would look like mud.

A Toronto man let me know about Para Paints DesignVision software (, which requires digital photo(s) of the room(s) you are painting and then allows a user to "apply" color to the virtual walls. The CD-ROM package will set you back $119, but imagine the savings in labor and paint.

And last, a former Manhattan painting contractor wrote to recommend getting a professional opinion. "Ask any designer, and they'll give you a choice of a few palettes; not eight, just three or four," he says. "They'll include a real clunker to establish a point to work backward from if you're too indecisive." Gee, thanks.

The painter went on, "Sometimes doing it yourself, for all the promotion the idea gets, just [stinks]." I say, amen.

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