Painting / General Painting
  • Reader’s Tip: I’m a painter and I want to share this tip—when using waterbased latex paint you can keep your rollers from drying out day to day by placing them in plastic bags (such as grocery bags) with the handle sticking out. Tie bag around handle and you’ll be ready to go next time. (from Ernest Leonard,

  • Reader’s Tip: Before you begin dipping your paintbrush into the paint can, take a hammer and nail and “punch” holes into the slot where the paint can lid fits. Any paint that begins to fill the slot where the paint can lid fits will drain through the holes back into the can! This works great to keep your clean-up to a minimum. (from Craig Kerwood, Port Orchard, WA)

  • Reader’s Tip: When banging the lid back onto the paint can, if you drape a cloth or newspaper over the lid, it will catch the paint that shoots out between the lid and the can. (I got this tip from a shop teacher in 9th grade! —Colleen Nau, Middleburg, Florida)

  • When painting anything with a hinge attached—such as kitchen cabinets—coat the hinges with rubber cement. When the paint is dry, rub the rubber cement off the hinges with your fingers or a gum eraser.
  • Coat water stained areas with an alcohol-based or alkyd stain killer before painting.
  • Enamel paint can be applied more smoothly if the can is first allowed to stand in a pan of hot water.
  • For a good spray-painted finish, you must keep the paint gun or can approximately the same distance from the surface throughout the spraying. Make this challenge easier by taping to the spray gun or can a stick that’s an inch short of desired working distance from the surface. While you’re spraying, hold the spray gun or can so that this stick remains about an inch away from the surface at all times.
  • Pick a roller with the correct pile for the job. The general rule is the smoother the surface, the thinner the pile. The proper roller will hold the paint, instead of allowing it to dribble down on your work.
  • Your roller cover will last longer if every now and then you reverse it on the roller frame.
  • An empty milk carton is a good container to soak roller pads in. Just cut the top off and put roller inside.
  • Before capping leftover paint, mark the label at the level of the paint inside so you can tell at a glance how much is left in the can.
  • Keep a record of how much paint it takes to cover each room by writing the amount on the back of a light switch plate. You will be removing the switch plate before you paint anyway.
  • Latex paint tends to be difficult to handle in hot weather, while oil based paint tends to be difficult to handle in cold weather. The older the paint and the cheaper the quality, the more likely it is to contain mercury and the harder it will be to handle. The most environmentally correct paint is water-based latex. You can use it in most situations, and the eggshell variety is relatively easy to wipe clean. Oil-base paint gives off toxic fumes. If you must use it, always paint in a well ventilated space.
  • Eliminate drippy cans by driving nail holes into the dip in the rim so the paint can drip inside rather than outside (only if you plan to use up the whole container of paint right away).
  • To prevent paint build up and to make cleanup a lot easier, line the trays with aluminum foil before adding paint or buy a disposable plastic try liner.
  • Rub cream into your hands and arms before you begin a paint or wallpaper job. Paint and paste will come off much easier when you wash up with soap and warm water.
  • Drill several holes down the length of your stirring paddle. Every stroke you make with this customized paddle, will agitate the paint much more extensively. Use 1/4 inch holes in a metal stirrer, but 3/8 inch holes in a wood stirrer because of its greater thickness.
  • Any paint job risks being marred by loose brush bristles stuck in the painted surface. To remove loosened bristles from a brush before painting, use a pocket comb reserved especially for this purpose, or a metal tooth animal comb.
  • A pair of tweezers can be used to pick loose brush bristles off freshly painted surfaces.
  • If you store a partially used can of paint upside down, skin won’t form on the paints surface. (Bang lids on tightly!)
  • If using an oil based paint on an area that has suffered mildew, add mildew inhibitor to the paint (this isn’t necessary with water based paints, which don’t contain the oil that fungus feeds on.)
  • Before painting concrete, coat the area with white vinegar and let dry thoroughly. The paint job will last longer.
  • To save the time needed to touch up new putty around windows, mix in some paint the same color as the window frames before applying.
  • To prepare old wood for paint, it isn’t necessary to remove the old paint. Simply seal all knots with thinned shellac and sand when dry. If the knot is loose, tighten it with wood caulking. After the caulking has dried, coat the spot with shellac and then sand.
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