DIY Interior Painting

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I love a lot of things about a freshly painted room.  The feeling of clean.  Enjoying the new color and the new mood it brings with it.  Even applying the paint to the walls, I just love painting the interior!  What I don’t love is the work that it took to get me to that point and yes, the clean up.

So, as I embark on painting one of my bedrooms, I decided to talk to the pros and find out the little things that make a room look like it’s been painted professionally not by the amateur that I am.

Paint is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to change up a room.  But I learned that one word makes all the difference – PREP! You spend as much time, if not more, prepping a room for painting as you do actually painting it.  If you don’t skip any of these steps, you’re paint project will come out noticeably different right from the start.

The Prep
Remove or cover – take as much as possible out of the room.  Cover everything left behind – better still – move as much as you can to the center of the room and cover it.  It’s amazing how paint can splatter and spread.  Trust me on this one. 

Use a drop cloth or paper drop cloth to cover the flooring – all the way to the baseboards. 

Now you’re ready to tape off the room.  You’ve absolutely got to get some of the blue painter’s tape – figure that into your budget or don’t paint it.  It costs about $6 for a good size roll.  Now tape around everything in the room where you want a clean line and no paint – windows, doors, again anywhere you don’t want the paint.  This is really important – don’t think you can make a clean line freehand, I’ve tried.

Using any kind of Spackle, fill all nail holes and any small cracks.  They make new formulas that eliminate the sanding step and come in a handy-dandy tube so look for those.  I also learned that in a pinch, you can make a paste out of regular old flour and a dab of your paint.  Fill the hole with that and let it harden so it can be sanded smooth – this really works!

Remove, yes, remove all switch plates.  Don’t be lazy here and paint around them.  This is one of the telltale signs of an amateur paint job.

Color Testing
After the arduous process of picking a color, invest a couple of dollars in the new tester sizes of most paints and a piece of poster board.  Paint on a large square of the color(s) you are thinking about and hang them on the wall for a day or so.  Check out the color at various times of the day to see if you like it in all lighting situations.

The Painting Process
Have all your stuff handy paintbrushes, rollers, paint trays, cups, old rags, a bucket with water available and of course paint.

Here are some tips I learned:

Wet your brush and roller in some water before starting to paint.  This will help with cleanup after it’s all done.

Pain the boarder of a wall area first with about a 4-inch think row of paint.  Sort of like the way you build a jigsaw boarder and fill in   
the center.  Then with a roller, use a criss-cross or “w” formation to apply the paint to the entire wall.

Let the paint dry completely before applying a second coat or removing any of the blue tape.

If you’re not going to complete the project, wrap your tools, brushes, rollers even paint pans in plastic wrap or seal into a zip lock
bag to prevent them from drying out.  Plus, you don’t have to clean them each time you stop for awhile.
If drips are a problem when using a brush, consider taking a small paper plate and sticking the brush handle through it to catch

Clean up
The most important and useful thing I learned about clean up is to take care of those expensive brushes. 

Here’s how a real pro told me he does it.  In a bucket of water, add about 2 tablespoons of dish soap and about 1 tablespoon of ordinary liquid fabric softener.  Now take the paint filled brush and swish it around vigorously in the water for a few minutes.  You can use your fingers to work the paint out but treat it with care; don’t press it into a 90-degree angle against the bottom of the pail or in your hands – just swish.  Now in a separate container of clean water swish it around to rinse.  Then back to the soapy pail until it’s clean.  You can run water over it but never do it with the bristles upwards – only with the bristles facing down.  Wetting the brush before painting helps with clean up because it keeps the paint from drying too fast near the handle.  Dry the brush flat or hanging from the hole in the handle into its natural shape.

So, ready, set, paint! Go paint the town red … or fuchsia … or teal …. or……!!!!

Live and Learn.