How To Put A Paint Tray On A Ladder

Who says you need to hire a professional to paint those hard-to-reach corners of your home? Whether you want to touch up the inside or tackle the exterior of your home, you can save time and energy by attaching a paint tray to your ladder. If you want to know how to do this, you're in luck. After conducting thorough research, we will show you how to put a paint tray on a ladder!

To attach a paint tray to a ladder, you can do one of the following:

  1. Purchase and use a project tray to set your paint tray on.
  2. Use the hooks available on some trays to connect to the ladder's steps.
  3. Purchase and use a jumbo paint ladder tray.
  4. Create a homemade tray holder.
  5. Use a paint bucket hook.

When you attach a paint tray to your ladder, you avoid having to climb up and down for more paint. Plus, you won't need any long rollers to reach high places. Keep reading to learn more about how to attach a tray to your ladder and more important information!

Painting and decorating with a roller and tray on a set of metal step ladders with cans of paint and a dust sheet in the background, How To Put A Paint Tray On A Ladder

Top Methods For Attaching A Paint Tray To A Ladder

A critical part of ladder safety is knowing where and how to use your tools while on it. In the United States, this is especially important because more than 164,000 go to the emergency room with ladder-related accidents each year. Fortunately, there are several effective methods for using a paint tray on a ladder.

1. Use A Project Tool Tray

Stepladder with tools and roller

If you're working near the top of a stepladder, you can place your paint tray on the top flat area. However, this is only useful if you have the right kind of ladder and you're working near the top of it. In most cases, you'll want to be able to store your paint tray in multiple locations on your ladder.

In these cases, you should use a ladder accessory tool. There are several types of project trays you can choose from. The easiest type for holding a paint tray is a flat shelf that you can hook onto the ladder directly. These come in different shapes. They're like shelves with slight indentations that help prevent items from rolling off.

Check out this project tray on Amazon!

To install a ladder accessory, you need to select the rungs that you want it to be on. Then, rest the flat shelf part on a rung. The metal rings will rest on a lower rung. Depending on the type of tray you select, you can also stand on it. Always double-check your model before doing so because many are only suitable for a few pounds of weight.

Take a look at this ladder shelf on Amazon!

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to use!

2. Use the Hooks on the Paint Tray

In many cases, paint trays are designed with storage in mind. Most trays will have a lipped edge or hooks that allow you to hang them from one of the rungs of the ladder.

Test how sturdy your paint tray is before filling it up all the way. You can start by hooking it to one of the rungs. Then start pouring paint into the tray.

Check out this plastic tray with hooks on Amazon!

To ensure you don't damage the tray, you can begin by filling it halfway up. If you feel confident that you won't knock it over and it won't warp, you can fill it up.

Take a look at this tray with hooks on Amazon!

3. Use a Specialty Paint Tray

Closeup of a painter standing on a ladder with a roller dripping paint

Another option is to use a vertical paint tray. These trays look very similar to standard paint trays. However, vertical paint trays have a larger covering at the bottom to prevent paint from spilling.

Check out the jumbo tray on Amazon!

Just like with a standard paint tray, you can use these in multiple ways. They hook easily to most ladders, and you can lay them horizontally on the ground. Since the hooks are so much larger than standard paint trays, the paint will stay gathered together at the bottom, which can make it easier to get all of the paint from the tray.

Take a look at this half-gallon capacity tray on Amazon!

4. DIY Tray Holder

Another option is to create your own hanging tray holder. For this, you'll need a metal paint tray, a lightweight chain, a drill, pliers, and a couple of metal hooks.

The first thing you'll need to do is drill two small holes in the corner of the tray. Next, put your metal hooks into the holes you drilled. Then close one side of each hook so that they stay on the tray. Be sure to leave a piece of metal free. This will allow you to hook it to the hanging chain. Make sure that you have a hook on both sides of the tray.

Next, wrap your chain around one of the higher rungs on the ladder. Then, hook the chain through each side of the ladder hooks. You'll rest the other end of the tray on a ladder rung. 

5. Use A Hook

Another option is to use a hook to hang the entire paint can from a ladder rung. You can buy or make your own simple metal hook or opt for a more intricate hook that can be made from different materials and support more weight.

Check out this hook on Amazon!

In this case, you will need to keep your paint in the paint can instead of transferring it to a tray. While this may seem intimidating, most professional painters skip the roller tray and use a roller screen in conjunction with the paint bucket.

Check out this product on Amazon!

What To Do With A Paint Tray After Painting

Close up portrait of paint roller in paint tray

If you have any extra paint left in your tray after you're done, you should pour it back into the paint can. You can also pour the excess paint from the tray onto the wall. To do this, just hold the tray against the wall and use a paintbrush to spread it around.

Technically, you could skip this part and allow the paint to dry in the tray. Unfortunately, this can make cleaning more difficult later on. Remember that you should always use a clean tray when using new paint. You don't want your colors to get mixed together.

To clean your paint tray, you can use a washcloth to wash away leftover paint. You can also remove dried-off paint with a knife or scraper.

Finally, make sure your tray is completely clean by rinsing it with soap and water. Allow it to dry before using it again.

What Type of Ladder Is Best For Painting?

Painting and decorating with a roller and tray on a set of metal step ladders with cans of paint

What type of ladder you use depends on the area you're painting and how high you have to climb. You can typically get away with using a simple step ladder. These are very versatile. Depending on the size you have, they can also reach higher areas in your home.

If you're painting a multi-story house, then you'll want to select an extension ladder. When selecting a ladder, make sure that it is tall enough for your project.

Contractors state that extension ladders should extend between eight and ten feet higher than the area being painted. With other ladders, you should aim not to stand higher than the fourth rung below the top of the ladder.

Finishing Touches

Keeping your paint tray connected to your ladder can save you time and energy while you paint. Be sure to check the sturdiness of your tray when hanging it from a ladder. Then finish your project by storing your paint and supplies properly!

If you found this article helpful, check out our other great posts!

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