Paint Tips and Tricks

(from the pros) 

 * Check out our Paint Technique page here *

  • Sand away flaws: even the best paint won’t hide rough spots and dried paint drips. 

  • Buy the best supplies: cheap brushes shed bristles and leave streaks. Cheap roller covers eave fuzz balls on your walls in your fresh new paint. Cheap paint streaks, sags, doesn’t cover well, and comes off when you clean it. Just go for the good stuff. That’s what it’s there for. 

  • Cover furniture, rugs, and pets. Or just remove the pets. 

  • Speaking of covering things, press your painter’s tape with a putty knife to get a good seal and avoid bleed. 

  • Tinted primer is your friend, especially if you are painting with red or other really bright or dark colors. Some pigments, like red, take many coats to build. Staring with a primer tinted gray (match the darkness of the gray with the darkness of your color). Primer also prevents flashing (weird chalky spots) over repair spots. 

  • Got a textured ceiling? Scrape a ridge in the groove where your textured ceiling and your wall meet so the wall color won’t transfer to the ceiling bumps. 

  • Use canvas drop cloths. Paint bleeds through bed sheets, it stays wet and slippery on plastic sheeting, but seems to behave itself on canvas. 

  • Finish one wall at a time better blending. 

  • Scrape, don’t tape, glass window panes. It’s easier to scrape paint off glass with a razor after you paint that it is to prevent it from bleeding under tape. Plus it takes forever to tape! 

  • “Box” multiple gallons of the same color paint for consistency. If your project will take 3 gallons of the same color, pour all of them into a 5-gallon bucket and mix them together just in case one of them was mixed a little bit differently. 

  • If your paint has been sitting for more than a few days since you bought it, you’ll have to re-shake it. No paint shaker at home? No worries! Pour your paint back and forth from bucket to bucket instead of stirring because all the solids settle at the bottom and pouring, instead of stirring, distributes them better. 

  • Remove switch plates and doorknobs before painting. They are hard to paint around and it just looks neater. 

  • Get a good ladder. You don’t want to spill... yourself or the paint! 

  • A good work light ensures that you don’t miss a spot. 

  • Prepare surfaces before you paint. Repair, de-gloss, sand, clean. It’s paint, not magic, and it won’t cover every imperfection without some help. 

  • Paint the corners last – and “push” the paint into them to avoid runs. 

  • If you need to take a break, load the roller cover with paint and wrap it in plastic wrap until your next session, but wash the brush! Don’t let paint dry in the bristles, not even a tiny bit, or it will lose its ability to give you good, clean, non-streaky strokes. 

  • Don’t let your paint dry out. A half-empty can of paint will dry out. Drop golf balls into the paint can to fill the air space, or place plastic wrap on the paint surface under the lid, then seal it tightly. 

  • Avoid lap marks caused by rolling over paint that’s already starting to dry, by keeping a wet edge where you are working and then moving over slightly so you can overlap the last stroke with the next. 

  • Figure out what you are painting over. Not sure if a wall’s existing paint is oil or latex? Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub it in a small area across the wall. If the cotton ball has paint residue, the paint is latex. No paint on the cotton ball? That’s an oil-based paint and will want to use an oil-based primer before painting. 

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