Words From an Advanced Amateur Painter

I always think that is a funny way to say you’re sort of good at something; “Advanced Amateur” But I am sort of good at something I think, painting. As in painting my house, the whole house, every wall, every piece of trim and many times. Of course I didn’t do it alone, my mom has helped a lot. And she’s who I got a lot of my skills and good solid advice from. So here we go:

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1. Don’t buy cheap paint. It is so not worth it ever. I love Duration Home from Sherwin Williams (a low VOC paint). I love their colors as well, but they color match wonderfully if you find a swatch at another store (I guess they have people at headquarters who figure out the formulas for competitors), or want to match something else.

2. Don’t buy cheap brushes. If you want to pick little tiny hairs off your walls that is your business, but buy a nice brush (I like Purdy, and they are made in Oregon, added bonus) and you won’t have to. The bristles will stay in and you can use your brushes for years, assuming that you:

3. Wash your equipment carefully. Paint should only ever be on the very end of your brush. If it starts traveling up to wear the bristols meet the handle you’re in trouble! Abort and wash your brush. Once paint gets up in there it’s hard to get it out.

4. Never paint in shoes. What? Huh? Just listen, don’t do it! My mom told me this trick. Bare feet or light socks are going to let you know when you’re walking around with a drip on your heel a lot quicker than a shoe. You’ll feel it and you’ll clean it up, with out much damage.

5. Have a wet rag handy. And why not a dry one as well. Cleaning up paint the instant it gets somewhere it’s not supposed to be is the easiest way to go.

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6. Taping is optional. I am putting my fine arts degree to good use here and demonstrating that you do not need to tape off everything. I know some people might disagree, but I don’t think it’s always necessary (I never tape off the ceiling for example).

7. Use a painting ladder. Not a chair, or stools, or a wobbly box.

8. Paint two coats. And prime if you need to. Don’t listen to the advertising that says you don’t need to paint two coats. If you really want nice coverage you’re going to need two coats. And if you’re going from red to white you’re also going to need a primer.

9. In between coats save your roller cover. Another trick from my mom. Don’t even wash it. Just put it in a few plastic bags (old grocery bags or the like) so that it will stay nice and moist.

10. Use a plastic tray liner. Putting paint right into a metal roller tray is so lame. It is way too hard to clean.

11. Paint doesn’t fill in cracks. Also called: do the prep work. Use wood filler, use the plaster, sand it, and get it all ready to go.

12. Take the hardware off. And the light switch covers, the heating vents and anything else. You will be able to paint much quicker. Painting itself is actually quick, the Β prep work is what takes time.

13. Buy enough paint for the whole project. Ask me which rule I did not follow on this project. UGH.

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Any tips from you dear readers?

16 Replies to “Words From an Advanced Amateur Painter”

  1. hi, nice tips.. I enjoy painting my rooms also and I always make a big mess but I enjoy it anyway lol. I just feel sad to see u painting over that green with white.. But I’m sure the room is gonna look good at the end πŸ™‚

  2. Yes I make a big mess too – mostly my stuff everywhere! And it’s not white. It’s a very pretty greyish purple. I’ll get a better picture of it in the daylight.

  3. I never tape either. It doesn’t look as nice as when I freehand. I use a 1 1/2″ angled brush, with just enough paint that it doesn’t streak but not enough to drip. Also, those mini-rollers are great for touch-ups, and I’m guilty of skipping the second coat in favor of generous touching up.

  4. buy and happily use paint edger… please!! then you really dont need to tape πŸ™‚ we just got one for our new house, and i was wondering where it had been my whole life… here’s the link!! you’ll be glad you got one, trust me πŸ˜‰
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=40657-1077-00100C&lpage=none

  5. Grant and I use a paint edger, like Jen, also and NEVER tape anymore–it takes 2 seconds to go around any edge (including the ceiling). Also, we practically never clean brushes anymore. Putting any of your brushes in the ‘fridge wrapped in a plastic bag will keep them moist forever. So whether you’re doing that second coat now or in 2 weeks, you’re set! Happy Painting!

  6. You inspired me, painting just about done! Appreciated painting tips… We have a bit of edging to do so I might have to go down and pick up one of those edgers!

  7. Also wanted to add that they love you over at Sherwin Williams!

  8. TWO DOLLARS AND FORTY NINE CENTS?!?!? I must try this. Great tip.

  9. I’m glad they still do after my pregnant freak out incident last year πŸ™‚

  10. yes… i think it really is the best thing since sliced bread πŸ˜‰ makes painting around the edges FUN!! who ever thought that would be fun?!?!

  11. Granted I am not the painter around these parts (thankfully I married a boy who spent a few summers painting houses while growing up in Oregon) but our one tip would probably be using tinted primer. Especially gray primer when you’re painting red otherwise those darn red shades can take several coats instead of just a couple.
    Oh and I am totally impressed with the tapeless painting…we could never live on the edge like that. πŸ™‚

  12. Yes, tinted primer is great. Forgot about that one since I’ve never had to use it in my house (yet). It’s so funny you brought up Sean, when I was writing this I was totally thinking he was the other “serious” painter I knew!

  13. I just choked on my tea. ‘Bristols’ is british slang for boobs!

  14. I learned all I know about painting from my mom, too. We have painted so many rooms together. We also wrap our rollers in plastic grocery bags or freezer size ziplocks and put them in the refridgerator. I found this was something my husband does, too.

  15. I haven’t tried the refrigerator thing, do you worry about the smell of the paint in there?

  16. LOL that reminds me of walking around Wal Mart with you and seeing you loose it over Jiffy mix.

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