Paint is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to give your space a facelift.
Here are three dozen tips to help you start and finish the project like a pro and save money while doing it.
1. Use an old paintbrush to dust baseboards and window seals.
2. Prepare walls for paint by filling holes and sanding rough spots.
People often skip the most important step — prepping your walls! Do this prep before you start painting, and your space will look like it was painted by a pro.
3. Clean walls with a microfiber cloth attached to a push mop.
After filling holes and sanding, clean your walls by attaching a damp microfiber cloth with rubber bands to a mop or broom. It will help you easily reach the highest parts of the wall without getting on a ladder.
4. Don’t fold painter’s tape over baseboards.
Use the side not sticking to the baseboard to guard the floor and board from paint drips.
5. Use a flexible pallet knife to press down tape where it meets the wall.
This ensures a good bond and prevents leaks.
6. Don’t flood the painter’s tape.
Painter’s tape is a precaution, not a guarantee. Once you’ve pressed down the tape with a pallet knife, prevent leaks under your tape by lightly loading your paintbrush and applying it parallel to your trim. Avoid brushing large amounts of paint where the wall and tape meet.
7. Protect wood floors with brown builder’s paper.
This is an inexpensive and easy way to add protection to wood floors. To prevent it from slipping, hold it in place with strips of painter’s tape.
8. Use a dollar store shower curtain as a drop cloth.
Once you’ve covered your floors in brown paper, catch paint drips with a dollar store shower curtain. It can easily be moved around the room.
9. Use a lint roller to remove fuzzies off a new paint roller cover.
10. Lubricate your paint roller hinge with WD-40 to keep it turning smoothly.
11. Keep track of the paint used on your walls by labeling the inside of light switch plates.
When it’s time to touch up the paint, you can reference the color, sheen of paint, and the number of gallons needed.
12. Wear a rag on your waistband to wipe your hands and easily clean up spills.
13. Preserve paint by storing paint cans upside down.
14. Label the lid of each can with the room it belongs to.
This is a huge help when you have similar color schemes in your home and need to easily grab a can for touch-ups.
15. Pull a rubber band across the top of your paint can to easily scrape off extra paint.
16. Use a disposable glove to keep a brush from drying out.
If you like wearing disposable gloves while you paint, keep your brush from drying out when you take a break by pulling the glove over the bristles of the brush and securing it with a rubber band. Don’t leave your brush overnight, as it’s not a permanent solution to washing it.
17. Or seal a wet brush with a vacuum sealer and it’ll be ready to use the next day.
18. Use a broom handle as an extension rod to reach higher places.
If there’s a screw-top for the broom brush, you’ll find that a paint roller will fit quite nicely on top.
19. Put a wet roller in a clean Pringles container and store it in the fridge.
That way it won’t dry out!
20. For easy cleanup, cover exposed switches and outlets with painter’s tape.
When you’re done painting, peel off the tape for a completely clean surface.
21. Buy painting supplies at the dollar store.
Dollar Tree carries pallet knives, sanding sponges, paint buckets and even trays. These are all great items to buy there. But, avoid purchasing brushes and rollers — the quality just isn’t there.
22. Don’t skimp on good brushes and roller covers.
For best results in painting, buy high-quality brushes and roller covers. When cleaned properly, they can be reused for years. With cheap brushes, you’ll be picking bristles out of your paint after each stroke. And with bad roller covers, you’ll find a fuzzy mess and uneven finish.
I recommend a 2-inch Shortcut Polyester Angle Sash Brush. It’s great for cutting edges and getting a clean line.
23. Score the edge of painter’s tape to keep it from pulling paint off.
Paint can easily tear away from your surface when you remove your tape. Prevent this by making sure your paint is completely dry then scoring the edge of the tape with a utility knife and pulling it back at a 45-degree angle.
24. Keep paint in a plastic food container or small paint cup for brush painting.
When painting along the ceiling or cutting in edges with a brush, you don’t want to climb up and down the ladder to get plaint from your tray or large bucket. Holding a small cup with paint makes the process a lot faster and easier.
25. If you want a straight line, work right up to the line.
Don’t worry about getting close on the first pass. If you’re trying to create a straight line without paint spreading to your trim, start by sweeping paint onto the wall with an angled brush, a small distance away from your “line.” Don’t reload your brush. Make a second pass coaxing the paint already on the wall a little closer to the line.
Doing this will help you keep control of the paint and not push too much of it where it’s not wanted. A third pass may be necessary to perfectly cut in your straight line. Move slowly!
26. Make paint cans easier to use with an inexpensive pour-and-store paint can lid.
A big downside of painting can be the mess and the cleanup when you need to take a small break from painting.
A Pour and Store Gallon Paint Can Lid — which can be found for a few dollars at your local hardware store — helps a ton with that! Easily pour paint without the mess, seal up the lid when you need a break, and prevent spills and accidents while you work.
27. For best results, paint in this order: ceiling, baseboards, edges, wall.
Once your ceiling and baseboards are painted, work one wall at a time to avoid creating what is called a “halo.” This occurs when paint around the edges fully dries before rolling the wall. Rolling the paint while your edges are still wet will create a more seamless look.
28. Keep your paintbrush bristles from bending in storage by wrapping them with heavy paper.
When you buy a high-quality brush, it normally comes in a cardboard sleeve to keep the bristles from bending. If you no longer have that sleeve, protect your brush by rolling the bristles in heavy paper and securing it with a rubber band.
29. Hold paint brushes with a pool noodle.
To easily secure brushes while painting, cut a pool noodle to the length of the paint tray. Using scissors, cut along the length of the noodle on one side. On the opposite side, cut slits halfway into the noodle, perpendicular to the long cut. Place the brush handles in the slits.
30. Protect your ceiling with a paint guide.
If your hands are super steady, a paint guide is a great way to avoid getting paint on your ceiling. Just make sure to use the same principle as taping, and don’t flood the guide.
31. Prevent aching knees by kneeling on a dollar store gardening pad.
For $1 your knees with thank you after painting baseboards.
32. Trim dry crusty edges off old paint rollers to make them good as new.
33. Use pantyhose to filter rust and dried paint chunks out of old paint.
Over time paint cans can rust and leave otherwise good paint unusable. To salvage your paint, grab a pair of clearance pantyhose. Stretch them over the top of a new paint can, and secure it with a rubber band. (You can find new cans in the paint supply section at your local hardware store.)
Carefully pour the paint from the old can into the new one, straining out the undesired bits as you do.
34. Don’t tape windows; scrape dripped paint from them instead.
Grab a pack of small razor blade scrapers from the dollar store.
35. Store extra paint in an old laundry detergent bottle.
36. Never pay full price for paint.