Painting is a time-consuming task, no matter what size space you’re dealing with. To make the job go faster, you’ll want to use every hack you can to save time on prep, paint and brush handling, masking, and cleanup. And who knows? Play your cards right, and you’ll only have to do the job once!
Make sure to try out some of these helpful painting tips the next time you’ve got a big project coming up:
Before You Start Painting
Paint Roller Groundwork
Before you start painting, moisten your rollers with warm water. This helps them more easily absorb the paint and ensure a silky finish.
Clean Your Brushes
Clean paintbrushes are always the key to a professional finish. Soak your used brushes in a tall container of white vinegar for 30 minutes, finish them off with warm soap and water, and let them air dry in the draftiest place you can find. That way, you’ll find that they’re looking good as new when it’s time to start.
Clean Walls Matter
Even if your walls look clean, you should always wipe them down with a damp cloth attached to a mop head or Swiffer before painting. This guarantees that no dust or hidden cobwebs will interfere with the application once you start.
Painter’s Tape Perfection
Don’t rely on your visual perception to create straight lines when painting. Line the edges of the section with masking tape instead, using a tape measure as you go to ensure that each strip is perfectly straight. Then use a putty knife to press the tape tightly into place on the edges and corners to stop bleeding paint dead in its tracks. When the job is done and the paint dries, you’ll be amazed at all the perfectly straight borders you’ve made.
Acrylic Spray Paint Savings
Instead of buying a large can of acrylic spray paint for small jobs and having most of it left over, invest in a spray paint kit with several colors in smaller cans. After all, you’re bound to find creative uses for the other colors before long.
Make a Milk Jug Paint Holder
Manipulating a large container when painting small areas is cumbersome. Cut off the top of a plastic milk jug right above the handle to create a small, easy-to-use paint container.
Cracked Paint Prevention
Pre-treating concrete floors with white vinegar before painting keeps the paint from cracking for several years. Just remember to brush the entire floor with the vinegar and let it completely dry before applying any paint.
Steering Clear of Roller Streaks
A little finesse in your application technique avoids streaks in the paint on the finished product. Simply roll the paint in the same direction with every stroke, and you’ll get a smooth finish with no lines. You should also avoid ever having too much paint on the roller.
Rubber Band Brush Control
To get the best finish when painting with a brush, it’s important to use just the right amount of paint for every stroke. The best way to control this is to place a rubber band over the top of the paint can. Every time you dip the brush into the paint, wipe its bristles against the taut rubber band to get rid of excess paint. This also keeps the top and sides of the can from gathering too many unnecessary drips.
A paint spill on a carpet or rug is bad, but it’s not as bad if you scoop it up with a putty knife before blotting the remaining paint up with a clean, wet rag. Never try to wipe it up right away, though, as that will just drive it further into the floor.
Petroleum Jelly Trick
Some painting projects interfere with tiny spaces you don’t want painted but are just too small to mask. In these cases, simply apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) to the area, paint over it, and let it completely dry. Then use a soft cloth and wipe away the Vaseline to reveal a surface free of paint.
Paint is expensive, so chances are you don’t want to waste a single drop. To maximize your savings, use a putty knife to scrape the excess paint on the roller back into the bucket at the end of each session.
After You’ve Painted
Getting Paint Off Your Body
Even if you wear surgical gloves, you’ll probably still smear paint on some part of your body while you’re working. Lucky for us all, the pumice-based cleaners and soaps used by mechanics also work great on getting paint off skin.
Dealing with Stray Lines and Drips
Spying a stray spot on your furniture at the end of a paint job can be traumatic, to say the least. To minimize the damage, you’ll want to heat the dried paint with a heat gun or hair dryer and gently scrape it off with a thin spatula or scraper.
Easy Removal of Masking Tape
Masking tape can be difficult to remove after paint has dried, but pulling it off at an angle is much easier than trying it the same way you applied it.
Several days or even a week after you’re done painting, you may also discover some masking tape that you initially overlooked. Since dried masking tape can be especially tough to remove, you’ll want to use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften it before attempting to pull it off.
Keeping Paint Fresh
To keep paint fresh for future jobs or touch-ups, simply cover the top of the can with plastic food wrap before replacing the lid. The tight seal this creates ensures like-new paint for the next project.
Saving Paint Rollers
If you want to save your paint rollers for later once you’re done painting, try placing them in a large plastic bag. Then place the bag into a Pringles can. This should keep it clean and in good shape for a long time to come.