Thingamabobs. The Paint Stick

There are many things on any given day that I see and think Geez, I wonder what that is.  Often it’s in relation to an outfit on a teenage girl.  As in Well I know that couldn’t be a pair of shorts, and yet it isn’t quite underwear … I wonder what that is. Sometimes it’s as simple as an exotic vegetable in the grocery store.  Like a potato with too many eyes.

I’ll see things in ditches, or in gardens or hurtling towards my windshield and I’ll think Geez, I wonder what that is.  It’s an annoyance not knowing what every SINGLE thing in the world is, but I’ve come to grips with the fact that I can’t possibly know everything.

I know the important things and that’s enough.  Take for example this thing.  I know what it is.  Do you?

Simple enough, right? It’s a paint can.  You dip your brush into it or pour it into a paint tray.

Good! You score one point. Now lets move onto the next thing.

What’s this thingamabob?

O.K., I  know this one’s harder, so I’ll give it to you from another angle.

It’s a paint stick.  Good job if you guessed that one!   Plus the post is titled “The Paint Stick” so … don’t pat yourself on the back too darn hard.  Used for stirring up your paint, right?  Wrong.  Or at least you’re partially wrong.  See that little half-moon cutout in the paint stick?  It has a purpose.  A role in life.  Who knew?  Not me.  Not until one day when I was watching my sister (the painter) using it to it’s full potential.  Take a gander at this little piece of engineering genius at work.

That little half-moon is for scraping all the paint in your roller out when you’re done your painting job.  I had no idea.  Which makes me feel angry and amazed at that little stick of wood all at the same time.  Seriously, things as complicated as a paint stick need to come with some sort of instruction booklet.

So I figured … huh … I wonder who else didn’t even think to ask “Geez, I wonder what that is.  I  mean it’s one thing to not know what something is, it’s something else entirely to believe your whole life you KNEW what something was, only to find out you had no idea.  Or at least you didn’t know the whole truth.  This is just like the time I found out you can both straighten AND curl your hair with a hair straightener.  Sheesh.

A paint roller holds cups and cups of paint.  Even when you think it’s rolled dry, there’s a whole lotta paint in there.  This much I knew.  I just didn’t think there was an actual tool, other than my hands, to get that paint back into the can.

This from the girl who made a beautiful outdoor lantern out of a $1 bathroom basket.  So, for all of you who call me a genius.  Who proclaim you want to be my best friend because I am so clever … I wanted to introduce you to Karen the idiot and her paint stick thingamabob.  Who knew.  I also once ate a whole bowl of meat sauce at my sister’s house thinking it was chili that didn’t have enough beans in it.  See?  Not so smart at all.  Not all the time anyway.

At this moment I could sort of see something awry at the end of my nose.  And I thought to myself … Geez, I wonder what that is.  Yup.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


  1. Susan says:

    Only straight paint sticks at our paint stores, but I bought one of these many years ago and it does the same job, plus has a scraper on the end and a crack cleaner: Very handy tool. I think mine was made by Stanley, but I’ve pretty much seen some version of it in just about every paint department I’ve ever been in.

  2. Karen Young says:

    I was married to a painter and didn’t know about that, but I do know they make good paddles.
    I had three boys so I needed something handy. :)

  3. Elfrieda says:

    That tip has escaped me for years and I am definitely going to share it, I know that if I didn’t know this, neither did my friends. Ha!

  4. elarhy says:

    I have the weird little habit of reading the instructions manuals of everything since i discovered; 5 years after buying it; that i could indeed take photos of/by myself because my camara came with this little mirrow flap in the side (so you can see if you are, in fact, in the picture) when i openend the flap by mistake while cleaning the lens…

    I had seen it before and wondered what the hell was that little mirrow like thing…but never asked… It was explained in the second page of the manual

  5. Raine says:

    OMG who da thunk? I sure didn’t..

  6. Laura M says:

    And I thought I knew a lot about painting! THANK YOU! I always used my hand to squeeze out any leftover roller paint. Messy? d’uh ya!
    You are the Goddess of Thingamabobs!

  7. blake says:

    OK so, No, we in the states have boring old paint sticks that just stir…but we do have this thingy that I, as a painter and designer extraordinaire, use CONSTANTLY! It has a handle, looks like a metal comb missing teeth and on the flip side it has the same circle cut out to strip paint from your roller. The metal teeth clean your paint brushes like nothing else can.
    I am sure you will figure out a way to make one…and I will add to my list to photograph my fav paint tool and send it to you post haste!

  8. Bill Grigg says:

    You know, Windex will clean that right off…

  9. kay says:

    growing up we had a flappydo that looked exactly like a paint stick but with an extra little doohickey inside that half moon part that let you pull the hot rack out of the oven. I thought lazy workers, or broken machinery had omitted this part, but it never stopped me from using it as a hot rack puller…multi function stick……….thanks for clearing that up Karen

  10. Rebecca says:

    Did not know that. Hmm how much paint have I wasted over the years?
    Also, regarding funkyjunk’s comment, I also did not know you could tear duct tape until a few months ago. I saw my husband do it and it blew my mind. He looked at me like I was deficient. How did I not know that?

  11. Didi says:

    Oh dear. i was thinking, mine don’t have the cool cutouts–just handles. Drat. Time to paint something and apply this knowledge. Thanks.

  12. Meghan says:

    …”Often it’s in relation to an outfit on a teenage girl. As in Well I know that couldn’t be a pair of shorts, and yet it isn’t quite underwear … I wonder what that is.” Freakin’ hilarious. And something I often fear as I have two girls ages 2 and 1. If I EVER catch them in something like that…

  13. soph says:

    OMG i’ve used those sticks dozens of times and almost every single time i’ve wondered if the cut-out was some kind of handle or a stirring ‘helper’…. how embarrassing i didn’t figure this out…
    thanks for the revelation!

  14. funkyjunk says:

    hmmm, kind of like discovering at 40 years of age that you can TEAR duct(or duck, never know which) tape!! who knew? I had gone all those years thinking you needed scissors to cut it

  15. shelly says:

    You are just priceless. And precious.

  16. Terri-Lynn says:

    I knew that!! lol

  17. Sparky says:

    Oh wow, the paint sticks in the U.S. of A. have two “cutouts”, one on each side of the stick across from each other—and I always thought it was a hand grip. HA!!!! and DAH!!!!

  18. Jan says:

    The paint sticks I get don’t even have that cute half-moon (though I wouldn’t have known its use either). However, after painting huge numbers of rooms lately, I did spend some time wondering what one could do with bunches of these dohickies (for the uninitiated, dohickies are close cousins of thingamabobs). I even asked at Home Depot, where I just end up recycling my un-needed sticks. They said the Girl Scouts occasionally asked for a dozen, but they didn’t know much else. Oh, the unappreciated life of paint sticks!

  19. Alissa says:

    And here I used to resign myself to squeezing the paint out with my hands. Why don’t those sticks come with instructions?

  20. Tickled Red says:

    I love the morning giggles over coffee that you always seem to be the culprit of :) LOL

  21. Tina says:

    And I just painted my studio this weekend! Bummer…at least I know for the rest of the house. This is fabulous news about the versatile nondescript paint stick.

  22. Langela says:

    I am one who is always saying to myself, “I wonder what that is.” Then my mind goes on to come up with any conceivable answer. “Thingamabob-solving” is one of my favorite pasttimes. The funny thing is when my mind finally settles on the answer and then later I tell my husband who actually knows what the thingamabob is, and he laughs at my conclusion. It sounded so good in my head. I could see it in action, even! So to avoid this embarassment, I now check myself against this brilliant thingamabob called the internet. Have you ever heard of it? It is awesome for thingamabob-solving!

    P.S. I thought I knew your paint stick thingamabob. Then you said it was a paintstick and I thought to myself, “I wonder if that cut out makes the paint stir better. I will have to try it next time I paint.” Then you revealed the real answer. My thingamambob-solving mind got ahead of my reading mind. I’m such a freak.

  23. HeidiRenee says:

    Thank you – I’m in good company – had NO idea but now will tell everyone I know! :)

  24. says:

    Exellent! I am moving in the first week of August & need to paint my new house before we move in. I love tight arse tips like this (paint is expensive dangit!)Now if you can arrange some kind of super moving truck made from discarded matchsticks that packs & moves all your stuff for you we will be in business

  25. Tricia Rose says:

    Entertain the dark thought that perhaps your sister sets you up………. More than once.

    Paint sticks round here don’t have that useful shape anyway – must be an ingenious Canadian thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *