diy painting

Simone and Nadia tested our paint and the paint lost. There were fingerprints, handprints, smiley faces, smudges, you name it, on every wall in our home. I wanted to hire a professional to do the work, but it was not in the money cards. I had painted the dining room and living room a few years ago, but it was a disaster. Each time I walk in those rooms I see all of the mistakes. What to do? What to do?

I got on the Internet and searched how to paint. I didn’t bother with the information featured in magazines and on television shows. I searched paint chat rooms, and boy, did I learn a few things. For starters, paint store owners won’t tell you some of these tips because they want you to buy and waste more paint. The more paint you buy, the happier they are. As for the professionals, they want to stay in business and don’t share their information with newbies like me. Well, they don’t knowingly do it. A good search can turn up just about anything on the Internet.

Since late last year, I’ve painted Simone and Nadia’s room, their bathroom, a half bath, two hallways, the kitchen, and our master bedroom. If that doesn’t qualify me, I don’t know what does. I’ve got two more rooms to go: the master bathroom and the office. Both are in decent shape. As for the dining room and living room, I think they are jealous of the other rooms. I don’t know whether I’ll ever get around to painting them, but here are the tips I’ll use if I do.

First, buy good paint. There’s a reason it costs more per gallon. The good paint comes in the same gallon can but covers more square footage. I know, I know. I was skeptical at first, but it’s true. I purchased a gallon of the good paint and only needed one coat, saving all kinds of time. The good paint is not found at the big box stores. Ask painters where they get their paint and purchase it there.

Second, buy the lambswool roller. Yes, it’s the most expensive roller on the market, but it’s also the best one. If you take care of it, that $8 roller will last for years and years. It is thicker than most and soaks up a ton of paint. What does that mean to you? You will spend less time dipping into the paint and rolling it on the wall. Lambswool rollers don’t splatter or leave lines of paint, saving you time and money.

Third, use a bucket. Professional painters use five-gallon buckets with a metal mesh because it’s really hard to step in one of those. I haven’t stepped in my bucket, but I’ve stepped in paint trays many times. A bucket also uses gravity to keep the paint in the bottom, making sure you get more paint on the walls. One last tip about the bucket. Pour the paint until it rises about a half inch. That way, in the unlikely event  you knock over the bucket, there’s not a lot of paint to spill and you’re likely to pick up bucket before any can spill.

Fourth, keep a wet cloth nearby at all times. This helps keep the paint job nice and neat. I made a lot of mistakes, but you can’t see them because I wiped them away.

Fifth, use fabric softener to clean your brushes. Water and fabric softener break down the paint, making it easy to clean the brushes.  I don’t measure or anything. Warning: This may make you rethink using fabric softener on your clothes. I’ve never been a huge fan, but I’m definitely not now. If it can breakdown paint, do I really want it on my clothes and touching my skin? No way.

One last thing, if you have children, use eggshell or satin paint. It’s a bit more forgiving than flat paint when little people make a mess. I couldn’t keep this information to myself and hope it helps.