11 Painting Tips and Tricks
Before you start your next paint job, check out these ten painting tips and tricks. After all, painting can be an intimidating, but rewarding, process. What’s the best way to maintain your painting tools? What’s the best preparation strategy? How do you make the paint go on smoothly? Painting allows you to completely transform a room, update an old piece of furniture, or add a “new” set of cabinets to your kitchen. Once you’ve mastered these painting tips and tricks, you’ll feel confident enough to tackle every painting home improvement project!
Clean the walls before painting.
A clean wall is high on the list of painting tips and tricks. Dirt and dust can keep paint from sticking or make the paint job bumpy and uneven.
Get savvy about your painting gear.
Have a paint roller covered in dust and fuzzies? Use a lint roller to roll off the fuzzies so nothing gets stuck in the paint. Want to keep your paint tray spic and span? Cover the tray in a plastic bag or aluminum foil to ensure that it can be reused over and over again. Want easy access to paint while you tackle tight corners? Try cutting out part of a milk container for a DIY paint holder! Just put the paint inside the hole and use the handle to carry it with you.
Protect furniture and household appliances.
Drape old sheets or tarps over the sofa. Cover the toilet with plastic wrap. Lay down aluminum foil over the kitchen counter. Dab Vaseline on tiny areas you don’t want painted, like screws or hinges. If you’re painting a piece of furniture, make sure to cover the floor with sheets or newspapers.
Use the “W” technique when painting walls.
Try this painting tip used by professional painters. When you’re painting an entire wall with a paint roller, paint in a “W” pattern. First, brush around the edges of the wall. Then, roll paint over a section of the wall, just trying to cover all the empty space. No need to worry about it looking perfect; that’s where the “W” technique comes in! After you’ve covered the wall section with paint, “backroll” the whole wall. Don’t reload your paint roller with any more paint. Just start in one corner and gently roll the empty paint roller in a “W,” diagonal pattern across the entire wall. This will correct any bumps or bubbles and make the color more even. Keep repeating this on different parts of the wall until the whole thing is done!
Paint trim like a pro.
While you can certainly use painter’s tape to get at that pesky trim, consider using a stiff, angled brush instead. Then just keep a wet rag handy so that you can dab away any messes.
Avoid headache-inducing paint smells.
Just add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to the paint can. Mix well—very well!—and enjoy the sweet smell of vanilla instead of chemical paint fumes.
Prevent the paintbrush from hardening between paint jobs.
The key is to keep air from interacting with the paint on the brush. If you need to take a break or are waiting for the first coat to dry, wrap your paint brush or paint roller in a plastic bag and seal it with a rubber band. This will keep the brush from hardening and make painting a lot easier when you start again!
Renovate old furniture with wood filler.
If you’re painting old furniture with a lot of pits and scratches, use wood filler before you start sanding it down. Then, when you paint, only go in one direction to avoid roller marks.
Paint over old paint properly with a simple test.
It’s important to know whether old paint is latex or oil-based. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub it over a corner of the painted surface. If the cotton ball gets paint on it, then it’s a latex-based paint and you won’t need an oil-based primer. However, if no paint comes off, it’s oil-based paint and you’ll need a coat of oil-based primer before starting.
Use painter’s tape wisely.
Peel the painter’s tape off as soon as the paint dries to avoid chipping. If the paint does start chipping, just run a razor against the edge of the painter’s tape as you pull it up. When you take the tape off, remove it at an angle so that you can get a nice, clean line.
These painting tips and tricks will ensure that your next paint job, whether it’s refurbishing an old table or completely transforming your living room walls, will be easy, fun, and worry-free!