Painting Tips for the DIYer
The first time I held a paintbrush, I knew it was meant to be! Well, not really, but I have loved transforming pieces of furniture, enjoyed painting artwork (still need lots of practice!), and don’t necessarily hate painting walls.
While I am definitely not a painting expert (although what really makes you an expert these days?), I do have some experience with painting. And I have gathered a few painting tips and tricks that I wanted to share with you today! These are tried and true tips that I use almost every time I am painting walls, ceilings, furniture, cabinets, and my latest project of painting RV’s too!
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Invest in a good paintbrush
This is my number one tip in painting. Investing in a good paintbrush. This is one of my favorite paint brushes because it has a short handle which is perfect for my smaller hands and has an angled edge.
With a great paintbrush, you can get fewer brush stroke lines, cleaner paint edges, and easier to clean. And I typically do not use painter’s tape when painting unless it is absolutely necessary (to be honest, I just dislike the prep work part!)
If you are using a roller, getting one that is not the bottom of the line is key. I have found that using the cheapest rollers tends to leave lint from the roller on your walls. You can use painter’s tape on your roller before painting to remove the loose pieces of lint. I have never tried this trick, but I am going to remember to use it next time I use a roller.
I also like using foam rollers to get smooth finishes on pieces like tables and cabinets.
And now that I just talked about why you need a good paintbrush, it is also good to keep some cheap chip brushes on hand too! These are great for quick projects that you may not need to worry about brush strokes, and the best part you don’t even need to clean them after using them. Just toss them in the garbage!
Prep Work Before Painting
As I said before, I hate prep work. I just want to get started with the project! But, I have also learned my lesson plenty of times, and sometimes the prep work is very necessary if you don’t want to be fixing it sooner rather than later.
So, cleaning your piece of furniture, cabinets, walls, or whatever you are painting is important. I generally like to use just a multipurpose cleaner and water and wipe down the piece of furniture.
IF your piece is exposed wood, I would recommend using a tack cloth or microfiber cloth and not using water (this can actually pull the grain out of your wood).
When you are painting walls, make sure they are cleaned. If they are newly drywalled (or sheetrock) walls, using a broom or swiffer with a microfiber cloth can help clean those up nicely.
If you are painting ceilings, good luck. 😂. Just kidding, kind of. I don’t like painting ceilings, but if you need to, just make sure they are clean before painting.
Using plastic bags to place your paint brush and paint roller in while you are not using them is an excellent way to keep them from drying out.
If you were leaving them overnight I recommend putting them in the refrigerator to keep them cool. I typically will put a roller in the refrigerator but I do not normally put my paintbrush in there. The reason for this is that I have found my paintbrush becomes crusty with dried paint and I just prefer to wash my paintbrush every night (this is just my personal preference)
Speaking of washing a paintbrush – I wash my paintbrush with warm-to-hot water and Dawn dish soap and lay on a towel to dry. I prefer to wash my brush immediately because if I leave it to soak in a cup of water, I tend to forget about it. And then it takes days to clean the brush, and it is usually right before I need it again!
Paint and Primer
My main tip with paint and primer is to make sure it is mixed well before starting to paint. Use a paint stick to stir well.
If you are painting a piece with some (or lots) of knots in the wood, I would definitely prime at least those spots so the darkness of the wood does not bleed through the paint.
There are also different types of paint that you can use for painting. Here is a blog post that I wrote about what types of paint you can use for painting furniture.
Use a Telescoping Paint Pole
If you’re painting walls or a ceiling I highly recommend investing in a telescoping paint stick. Here is the one that I have, and I used this pole to paint our entire house.
This will make your job so much easier and dare I say somewhat less cringe worthy (at least the ceilings!)
Use Baby Wipes
Baby wipes – who knew that they can be used for so many things!
Since I try to avoid taping at all costs, I use baby wipes to clean up any spots while the paint is still wet. This is also why I like to use a good quality paintbrush. When I do need to clean something up, it is usually a painter error, not a paintbrush error. Here is my favorite paintbrush.
But if you like to use painter’s tape or don’t have a steady hand I highly recommend getting a high-quality painter tape. Here is a painter’s tape that I know comes highly recommended.
Dedicated Painting Clothes
Painting clothes. These are not something that you would normally just buy. These clothes are carefully selected from your drawer or closet.
I am just kidding. Well, not really – but because I am such a messy painter, I really do have dedicated painting clothes. I have a few shirts and pants that I wear for painting because I have tried to paint in my nice clothes and they always get ruined (and just add to my painting clothes collection!)
Tips for the Beginner Painter
I hope these tips have helped you as you begin your painting project. Let me know in the comments below if you have any tips that you would like to add.