Problematic Paint Caps

Q. The caps on my watercolor tubes often get stuck. Prying and twisting the cap bends and splits the tube. Any ideas on how to get stuck caps off?

A. I’ve tackled stuck paint caps two ways: First, try a pair of pliers. If that doesn’t work, take a cigarette lighter and hold it under the cap for a few seconds (no longer or you’ll melt the cap). Then, protecting your fingers with a paper towel, loosen the cap.

I’m not sure if there is any way to completely prevent this problem—you have to put the cap on tightly or your watercolor tube will dry out. Try thoroughly wiping off the grooves on the tube neck before putting the cap on.

Judi Betts is a painter, writer, instructor and juror. She’s a member of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society and Federation of Canadian Artists. Her most recent book is Painting … a Quest Toward Xtraord!nary. You can see more of her artwork in the August 2001 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

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