It’s Just ‘Pain’ With A ‘T’

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:

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Q:  When using a roller, how much paint should I put in my tray?

A:  How much do you want to mop up?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Q:  How much paint do I need?

A:  Half a cup more than you bought.

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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.

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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.

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What are your best painting tips?

60 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

60 responses to “It’s Just ‘Pain’ With A ‘T’

  1. Painting tip #1. Hire it out.

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  2. Pingback: Jusht An Ash Hole | Diane Henders

  3. sandra Saunders

    That just about sums it up. I have a lovely black and white timber frame house, so I get to paint inside and out. The best way to cut in the beams and awkward places , is an artists flat paintbrush. By the time I’ve finished painting inside , its time to paint outside. When I’ve finished that it the annexe ,the stables ,the field shelter and the barn. Its endless

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    • I have enormous respect for anyone who’ll tackle that much painting! My goal is to have a completely paint-free exterior. It hasn’t quite happened the way I’d hoped, but maybe when it comes time to repaint the trim we can get it clad with aluminium instead. 🙂

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  4. Having recently painted my parents’ living/dining area, I can recommend Frog Tape. I don’t usually use tape but my mom had wallpapered the lower part of the rooms and it was the easiest way of keeping the paint off the paper. And it did not seep underneath. A bit more expensive but better than cursing the wayward paint.

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  5. I’ve been placed in drunk tank a substantial number of times for painting the town red. Actually, I painted it red, white AND blue.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. jono51

    Thank goodness you didn’t do any spray painting. There was a couple who called themselves Paint Specialists and they were regular customers at a lumber/hardware/paint place I used to work. They were extremely annoying and we did refer to them as Pain Specialists. Your title brought back bad, but entertaining, memories.

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    • Well, at least your memories were entertaining! I’m sure our builder refers to us as Pain Specialists as well because we spend so much time nagging them. I used to look forward to showing up on site at the end of the day to see the progress. Now I dread it because every day is another round of “What did they screw up today”. Just… let… it… end…!

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  7. I hate painting my house.

    I never use drop cloths or tape. And I’ve found that the cheapest brush for me is the very best quality brush I can find in whatever size i need. I use a two-inch angled brush for edges, but I use an artist brush for the really fine stuff like painting next to wooden trim or ceramic tile. And I’ve had these same two brushes FOR YEARS. My dad told me, “Take care of your stuff, son, and it’ll take care of you.” Yep, even paint brushes.

    I hate painting my house.

    Tape? I discovered the burnished edge trick for myself years ago after dealing with the endless frustration of seeping paint, but I finally just swore off the stuff. Takes ‘way too much time, and the results still require some further attention.

    I hate painting my house.

    Drips? The better the paint one uses, the fewer drips one has to contend with. And really good paint covers in one coat. I don’t use cheap paint.

    I hate painting my house.

    True, my way is very slow compared to others, but the results I get are basically flawless. And for any of the professionals I’ve ever seen to get flawless work, well that would take roughly FOR BLOODY EVER!!!

    I hate painting my house. A lot. More accurately, I despise having to paint my house. But there’s something that I hate even worse than painting my house: I hate PAYING other people to paint my house and finding that they have done it BADLY.

    I hate painting my house.

    So, I do my own work. I do it my way, and there’s never a mess to clean up, and I have to make zero excuses. And no, I won’t hire out. You can’t afford me. Bill Gates can’t afford me.

    And did I mention I hate painting my house?

    Liked by 2 people

    • el Tea

      Do you really hate painting your house? 🙂
      Using the good paint and good brushes, how often does it need re-painting? How often will it need re-painting if you use cheap paint?

      I agree totally with your method, SRG. I find a false economy when cheap paint and cheap tools are used. Which costs more- two or three cans of the cheap stuff or one can of the good paint? When you add in the time factor and double the opportunity to make messes, the cheap comes out very expensive indeed. I will tape a line on a work of fine art, but I can’t be bothered with the extra time and expense of taping around doors, windows, ceilings, or baseboards. Yes, I know how to do it, but I’m happier with my little damp rags.

      Oh, and if you don’t get your quality brush clean enough and don’t mind wasting more time on them, rubbing alcohol from your medicine cabinet will dissolve the polymers in acrylic paint. This is a mindless activity to take on when you plan to spend an hour or two in front of the TV anyhow. Just spend that time agitating the stiff brush in a recycled container that will hold enough rubbing alcohol to submerge the bristles. Agitate for at least an hour. You need to clean not only the exposed bristles, but also the bristles that are under the metal ferrule. If that part of the brush is dirty, the brush will never hold a nice edge and will do nothing but make messes. It is far better to properly clean the brush or else plan to toss it out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for the rubbing alcohol tip. I’ll try that next time. When a good brush finally has gone bad, it’s always been because I couldn’t get to the paint up inside the brush at the ferrule. Thus, I’ve been known to clean my brush three or four times a day even when painting the same color just to help get rid of the buildup at the ferrule before it became permanent. I’ve tried paint thinner and all the paint solvents, but they either did not work for the (non oil based) paints I was using, or they caused more problems than they fixed. Usually by turning the residue into a non-hardening goo of all the colors the brush has ever touched.

        Maybe Pollock would be interested in that tidbit.

        Thanks again for that. I’ll be sure to try it…but not soon, I hope. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • el Tea

          Yup, putting solvents other than soap and water in an acrylic brush is a very bad idea and won’t fix a brush with dried acrylic paint in it. Avoid purchasing any brush cleaner that purports to work equally well with either oil or acrylic dried paint in the brush. Solvents for oil paints and if you failed to fully clean your acrylic brush, rubbing alcohol. SRG, You made an emulsion in that brush that can’t be cleaned out. This is why you can’t go back and forth between oil based paints and water based paint in the same brush. If you use both types of paints you need separate brushes for each type of paint.

          Acrylic paint prefers a synthetic brush because natural bristle brushes soften too much in water-based paint. There is no need to clean your brushes midway through the day to prevent paint from drying in the ferrule. Instead, start painting by first dampening your brush in water to moisten it up in the ferrule, blot it thoroughly to prevent the paint from being too watery, and start painting. If you take a long break for a meal, wrap it in plastic or seal it inside a zipper bag. Acrylic paint won’t dry without airflow around it, so the paint inside the ferrule will be the last to dry and will take days to fully dry since the air is slow to get up in there. The moist bristles will also aid in an easier clean up. Think about it. Acrylic paint will begin to dry upon contact on a dry rag, but take hours to dry upon a damp rag. Same goes for a dry brush vs. a damp brush. – Not too wet or you defeat the purpose of purchasing quality paint and quality brushes. Good luck with the next paint project. I hope everyone’s next paint job goes better.

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          • Wow, I wish I’d written this post long before I started painting. What a treasure trove of expert advice – thanks!

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          • Yes, I always dampen my brushes before painting acrylic. It helps, but I still keep my brushes longer if I clean them multiple times throughout the day. But I’ll remember that alcohol tip. Thanks again!

            For paint, I only use acrylic. But I’ve used urethane (both kinds) on furniture projects and such. For that, I use disposable brushes and just toss ’em. The projects are always small, and if I use a stain, it’s a wipe-on/wipe-off, so I use rags or good, tight paper towels for that, disposable brushes for the clear or satin over the top, and then just toss the whole mess. But that’s just me. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Nailed it! Which reminds me. Nail pops appear as soon as the paint dries. Good luck getting the filled and painted spot to match. CRAP!

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    • Argh! You’re right about that. Despite my other shortcomings as a painter, though, I’ve had remarkably good luck with patching and touching up. I feather the paint with a light rolling in all directions, and it blends right in. (Or maybe I just need new glasses; but either way I’m not bothered by the patch job.) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Done a lot of painting jobs. People expect to pay you by the hour thinking $30 a room. Well I can take 4 years per bedroom but you give a bid per job not per hour. $75 small room, $110 large room and that’s dern cheap. After the first day of work the people say “Hey you have not started painting yet!”. See few understand that painting is only half the work. The first half includes patching picture frame holes, cracks, cleaning cobwebs, dust from baseboards and sanding doors, and trim to flatten out all the numerous drips and such from prior paint jobs. . One also must push all furniture to center of room and take down curtains and drapes and cover floors abutting wall. Then it’s moving everything back. Yes, you are right on “how much paint should I get?” – a cupful more than you bought. I stopped doing outside of houses. In Florida, wasps decide to build their nests about three weeks before one intends to start a job. Then they chase you all over the yard and if they don’t bite you to death, you will be hit by a car running away from them. No more of that. If I was a woman I would not even paint my nails.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! “…you will be hit by a car running away from them.” Ain’t that the truth!

      You’re right about all the prep work, too. I’ve been painting exterior trim, and the priming job is so bad there are giant drips on the surface before I’ve even started painting. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve been ignoring them and painting over top. The trim is textured to start with, and after it’s up high around the windows nobody will ever know. (Except the world, now that I’ve admitted it on the internet. But I’m not bothered enough by that to spend hours prepping the trim.)

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  10. Deanna Estes

    I love the way you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bahahahahaha! *takes breath* bahahahahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. el Tea

    Another tip. Instead of all those fancy edging tools and the miles of masking tape, if I am painting a wall, I have the brush or roller in one hand and a clean damp rag in the other hand to quickly catch all the oopses and drips.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve done that, too; but I’m clearly of the Pigpen school of painting – the clean damp rag only stays clean until the first oops. On the second oops, I manage to transfer the paint from the first oops from the rag onto a formerly clean part of the wall. 😉

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      • el Tea

        Another tip or two: To prevent your used damp and dirty rag from distroying the clean wall, use a one-oops-sized rag. Start the job with a pile of tiny damp rags and a used-rag trash bag next to your paint supply. Using each rag only once is this Pigpen’s ploy to reduce the size of the dust cloud.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Perfect! I’ve taken to carrying around a roll of toilet paper, but the small-rag concept sounds like a better system. (Not to mention it wouldn’t raise as many eyebrows if somebody catches me in the act. There’s something slightly sordid about a dishevelled paint-stained person clutching an unravelling roll of toilet paper.)

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          • el Tea

            The TP has two things wrong about it- it can drop lint and small bits of itself into the wet paint, and secondly, it behaves far worse when damp. Damp rags or paper towels clean drips and overpainted areas flawlessly. Damp, not dripping wet. I will subdivide a paper towel into 6-9 one-use rags, depending on the size of the towel between perforations. If you kept a full-sized damp paper towel for fixing mistakes, I doubt you’d be able to get 6-9 uses before it made more messes than it cleaned. You probably tossed stained or threadbare t-shirts instead of moving them across Canada, but they also make excellent rags when cut down to a size no bigger than the palm of your hand. If you hate cleaning brushes there’s no way that you’d bother to wash paint out of scraps of old shirts for re-use the next day, but it could be done if the rags don’t ever get the chance to dry out. Plus you can dump the whole lot into a utility sink and get most of the paint out with a quick swish and then throw them all into a washer to finish the job and they’d be ready and damp for the next time.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’ve washed out my oopsie rags thoroughly with soap and warm water in the evening, squeezed them out hard, then popped them into a big zip lock freezer bag. All ready to go the next morning. If it’s gonna be a day or two, toss it into the freezer, otherwise mildew will happen. Thaw everything out under warm water again, wring ’em out, rock ‘n’ roll.

              And spending another couple of minutes cleaning a nice brush will extend its life greatly. Even when you think it’s already ‘clean enough.’ Especially then. Two more minutes isn’t all that long, even when your feet are killing you and your arms ache. Find a way to clean your brushes while sitting down if you have to. That’s not a bad idea anyway. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  13. el Tea

    You totally nailed every aspect of painting walls and trim. I laughed so hard! It’s really fun to be up on a ladder with occasional bouts of vertigo and a fear of any height- even a foot or two.

    I find as an art teacher that there are two sorts of people- neatnicks and Pigpens. You may remember Pigpen as a character drawn by Charles Schultz in his Peanuts comic strip. Pigpen was the lad with the dust cloud surrounding him. This is totally me. Even if I am teaching I get covered in paint. Some of my students wear their painting clothes every week to class and keep jackets and purses and other valuables out of harms way around the corner. Other students come in wearing lovely clothes and have flawless manicures and expensive accessories and never get any paint on themselves, not even on their hands. Some pigpens are not satisfied with just painting themselves, they boobytrap their area, guaranteeing you’ll get nailed good too. One woman using oil paints managed to get the most staining color on the floor, and didn’t notice until she had walked it all over the room.

    My students often use masking tape to obtain a very crisp, straight line on their paintings, but this is seldomly any more than a few feet of tape. I have them remove the tape while the paint is wet so at least the wet paint behaves itself. One must use a tool to burnish the side of the tape that the new paint will go. A putty knive made of plastic works well to smack the tape down well and prevent the paint from bleeding under the tape. This extra step works well if the surface under the tape is well cured and you have tons of time and patience. The blue tape’s adhesive deteriorates less quickly than the beige tape, so is best to use blue tape if the job will take months to complete. I’ve not tried the stuff, but I’ve seen ads for Frog Tape which comes in green and another color- either orange or yellow- I can’t remember which. Both tapes don’t need to be burnished down reportedly, because the adhesive contains a barrier against latex paints. You use the green tape on cured surfaces and the other color on uncured, freshly painted, but dry surfaces. That one is labeled “delicate”. If you use the beige tape and burnish one edge, you can tell if it is well burnished because the edge where you burnished will darken slightly. I find 3M is the only manufacturer that makes good blue or beige masking tape. Other brands have been a total waste of money.

    A professional painter showed me a great time and money saving trick for your brushes and rollers. If you’re not finished using the color that’s on your brushes and rollers and you will continue with the same color in the next day or two, just seal your tools up well with plastic cling wrap and store them where they won’t get hot or be disturbed.

    A word about cheap brushes. The cheapest brushes do really poor jobs of allowing you to paint straight lines or allow you to hold the proper amount of paint so it doesn’t drip and splatter. The foam brushes aren’t going to hold up throughout the task unless you’re doing a very small job, the unvarnished, wooden handled natural bristle brushes will drop hairs all over the work and into the paint. A decent brush will taper lengthwise from the ferrule (the metal part) to the tip. If the brush has no taper, don’t waste your money on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you’re a treasure trove of good advice! I’m proud to report that I just (as in last week) figured out the brush taper rule. Boy, does that make a difference! I’ve also wrapped my paintbrush and roller in plastic and put them in the freezer when I know I’ll have a week or two between jobs.

      And now, armed with your knowledge of masking tape, maybe I’ll try masking again – thanks!

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  14. Ok I just read that to Dave, well in between hysterical fits of laughing. Really that may be the funniest thing you have written. I am useless at painting and each thing you describe applies to me. I’ll meet you at the dropcloth. I’ll bring the cooler.

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  15. I don’t do much painting (okay, I don’t do any), but my husband still tapes when he paints rooms. He says it’s the worst part because it takes so long. But he’s not had the trouble with the wood stain coming off. I’ll have to warn him about that. Our new place has white woodwork. I can only imagine how much white paint that tape could take off!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Michelle Applegate

    Husbands need to have written consent forms, signed by their wives, in order to pick paint colors. Wives, if your husband is color blind don’t send him in to pick your paint colors. Sounds like a “well, duh” moment, I know, but trust me it happens all the time!

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    • Yikes! My hubby is ever so slightly colour-blind, and I can’t imagine letting him anywhere near the paint chips until I’ve narrowed the colours down to the point where I can ask him, “Do you like this one or that one better?” It’s only “this one or that one” – no other options!

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  17. Wear goggles. Paint in the eye stings. And if you paint like me, and get the stuff all down your arms and over your hands, and then gently rub the eye to remove said paint, more seeps into the eye. It hurts more than chili peppers do. It hurts more than hay fever. It hurts more than a sharp (or blunt) instrument being forcibly inserted, nay rammed, into the eye, deliberately. And it takes time to was out.
    Or maybe I was just a little unfortunate.
    I’m not a great DIYer, Diane, but I will take your tips on board. Thank you. I especially like the dropcloth one!

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  18. So I was working on a paint job with an older gentleman at our church and it came time to clean the brushes and rollers. We’d bought cheep brushes and rollers and he looks at me, reaches in his pocket, hands over a $10 bill and says, “Let ’em dry and buy new ones tomorrow.” Great time saver…

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    • Yep, I haven’t cleaned a brush or roller in years. When I compare the cost of my time to the cost of a cheapo brush and roller, it’s no contest. And that’s before I factor in the aggravation of cleaning!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Did you ever nail it. “Half a cup more than you bought” was my favourite but they were all very good. So much truth. And masking tape IS a total waste of time.

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    • I kept thinking I was somehow doing the masking tape wrong, but I finally realized there is no way to make masking tape work. Nor the little edging tools with the guide wheels; nor the straightedge painting guide; nor any other gadget “guaranteed to paint a perfect edge”.

      On the up side, I’m getting pretty good at edging freehand with a brush now… usually… kinda sorta…

      Oops.

      Shit.

      Time for a beer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jenny_o

        There’s a thing called painter’s tape which is slightly different from regular masking tape; I’ve heard people swear by that. I think it’s blue in colour. Are you using that kind? I really want to know if it works because I can’t edge worth beans and this blue tape stuff is expensive but it would be worth it if it did the job.

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        • I haven’t tried the blue stuff but I have green Painter’s Mate tape. I still don’t trust it, probably because if I’m going to go to all the time and trouble of masking I want to be able to just swoosh the brush down and then peel off the tape to reveal a perfect edge. But I think my ‘swoosh’ has too much paint in it – I suspect the painter’s tape is designed more to protect against a light ‘swish’, not a goopy ‘swoosh’. Sigh.

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  20. jenny_o

    Hilarious and – unfortunately – true! In my experience, anyhow.

    Which is why my best paint tip is to wallpaper instead 🙂

    Oooh, that’s a whole other blog post!!

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  21. Knott

    When mixing paint with a drill mounted mixer, place the mixer into the paint before turning on the drill.

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  22. Jill

    ROTF😂😂

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