Touch up paint with a match

For touching up a small area of painted surface, e.g. for hiding a small scratch, do not use a brush.

If the scratch is at most few mm in size, the best tool for the job is the ordinary match.

If you use a brush, you may, and you almost definitely will, accidentally apply excessive amount of paint, as the large blob of paint contained in the brush will suddenly flood the area.

Instead, take a match and sharpen its tip flat and thin. You may lightly split it, if you want it to hold a little bit more paint, but that is not required. Basically, what you are doing is you are making a tiny wooden quill.

Then dip your “match quill” into the  paint, wipe any excess paint off against walls of the paint container, and very slowly and carefully touch the scratch, letting some of the paint stay on the surface. Several careful touches, leaving microscopic droplets of paint, may be needed for larger scratches. Don’t overdo it!


  1. You can use paint from a spray. Shake the bottle well, then spray some paint into the bottle’s plastic cap. Dip your quill into it.
  2. Apply some rust converter before painting metal surface, if needed.
  3. For touching up a very small area of very dark blue car paint job, glossy black primer can do, unless you have paint of exactly the same color. Human eye can’t precisely distinguish colors of very small objects.

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