I’ve been doing quite a bit of painting on our new house, and I’m here to tell you that the root word of ‘paint’ is ‘pain’.
But I’m practically a painting guru now, so as a public service I’m sharing my very best answers to common DIY painting questions:
Q: When using a roller, how much paint should I put in my tray?
A: How much do you want to mop up?
Q: What is ‘cutting in’?
A: ‘Cutting in’ means using a paintbrush to create a sharp accurate edge, which you can then completely wreck with the paint roller.
Q: What is the best technique for cutting in?
A: Inhale, then touch down the brush and slowly exhale while you stroke smoothly down the edge. This steadies your hand, and conveniently conserves your breath for swearing after you get paint all over everything.
Q: Should I apply masking tape before cutting in to keep my edges sharp and clean?
A: Absolutely! There’s nothing more fulfilling than spending hours painstakingly applying masking tape, only to remove it and discover that the paint has seeped under it and dried, and/or the tape has peeled the original paint off the wall.
Q: What is the best way to clean up a small paint spill?
A: There are no small paint spills. Even though it takes a gallon of paint to do a tiny room, a single drop of spilled paint is capable of spreading over a thousand square feet.
Q: So many types of paint! What kind should I buy?
A: Just pick one at random. Whichever you choose, it’s guaranteed to be the wrong type for your project; even if you’ve described your project in detail to a professional paint seller and bought exactly what they recommended.
Q: What is the best cloth for wiping up drips?
A: Whatever you’re wearing at the time. You can try a special clean-up cloth if you want, but your clothes are still going to look like paint rags by the time you’re done.
Q: How can I choose a colour I’ll like from those little paint chips?
A: You can’t. You need to paint three-foot swatches of the colours you’re considering. Then, after agonizing for days over the subtle differences between ten shades of the same colour, you’ll feel confident when you finally choose the perfect one… which will last until you paint the room and discover that it looks entirely different than the chip or the swatch.
Q: How much paint do I need?
A: Half a cup more than you bought.
Q: Design magazines recommend choosing colours from a colour group so they’ll look nice together. What are the colour groups?
A: There are two basic colour groups: “Muted” and “Clear”. Muted colours fade into dismal anonymity and look as though they’ve all been mixed with mud; and clear colours leap off the wall with super-saturated brilliance that hurts your eyes and causes psychotic episodes if you stay in the room too long. All paint colours belong to one group or the other; and you won’t know which you’ve got until it’s too late.
Q: What’s the best way to use a dropcloth?
A: Spread it out in a nice grassy area and anchor it with a cooler full of alcoholic beverages. Recline and enjoy a cold one… or several. Trust me, it’s far better than trying to use the dropcloth to keep paint off your floors and furniture.
What are your best painting tips?