Why is it that a DIY paint job hardly ever turns out exactly like a professional paint job? You have after all purchased the best paint and all the best paint brushes money could buy. Well, hate to say this, but it may be that you got a little over zealous with the spending and didn’t pay enough attention to the details. That is why I am about to share with you, my readers, 4 tips, that will make your next DIY paint job turn out as good as, if not better then, the pro’s paint job. Read on to find out, and don’t forget to drop Doc a line if you need any help whatsoever.
1. Have The Right Tools
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean spending an entire week’s paycheck on expensive and very fancy equipment. You would be very surprised at what you can find right at your local Dollar Store and in your own home. Every good painter should have, in his or her personal arsenal of paint tools, a bag of QTips, scissors, a pack of various sized art brushes (The kind kids and artists use to paint pictures with.), a pack of various sized foam brushes, a pack of various sized bristle brushes, painter’s tape in varying widths, painter’s outlet covers, painter’s hinge covers, drop clothes or tarps, roller covers of various naps, a roller frame, a roller handle extender, tons of rags, plastic grocery bags, birds feathers (Such as a Seagull feather.), paper grocery bags, a paint can opener, various sized and shaped sponges, a hammer, nails, paintable wood putty, a small container of wall mud, screws, a few screwdrivers, an electric drill, a few 5 gallon buckets, a soup ladle, roller cleaners, paint stirrers, various scrapers, a barbeque brush, paint thinner, sandpaper, a mixer attachment for your drill, steel wool pads and of course a quality paint stripper.
Sure, some of these tools sound a bit odd for painting but they are actually the best things you can use for any painting job and several cost nothing. Feathers are perfect for veining faux marble, while crumpled grocery bags that are plastic or paper, sponges and/or rags are perfect for creating a textured look on walls. A hammer, drill, wood putty, screws, screwdrivers, nails, sandpaper and wall mud are necessary to fix any imperfections in the surface to be painted. Skip these particular tools and you will end up with a messy finished look that screams amateur paint job. Another batch of important tools are the scrapers, barbeque brush, steel wool pads and paint stripper. These will aid you in creating a nice smooth surface on which to paint. As for the ladle, mixer attachment and 5 gallon buckets, these are perfect for mixing up custom colors and moving paint from its original 5 gallon bucket into a more easily held 1 gallon bucket. Empty 5 gallon buckets not only make great mixing vessels but they also make great soaking pots in which to soak your tools for cleaning.
2. Preparation, Preparation and More Preparation
Once you have your tools it is time to start scraping down the surface to be painted. Use a steel wool pad or a barbeque brush for hard to scrape areas such as the delicate details found on molding. Use various sized scrapers to remove loose paint from flat surfaces. Once the surface is well scraped inspect it thoroughly for flaws. If you are working with wood use a wood putty to fill in scrapes, gouges and nail holes. For sheetrock use the wall mud. Allow this to dry and then use your sandpaper to sand it smooth. If a small divot remains then apply more mud or putty, dry and sand again. Repeat until you have a perfectly smooth and damage free surface.
Once satisfied with the surface’s appearance wipe the surface thoroughly with a damp rag and allow to dry. In the meanwhile cover all hinges and/or outlet covers with your painter’s covers so they are safe from paint splatters. You can also remove the outlet covers completely if you wish but be careful painting around exposed wires to avoid shock. For amateurs this is where you would use your painter’s tape to tape off anything that you don’t want getting painted. For pros you will want to use your painter’s tape here to create stripes, faux wainscoting, cubism cubes, etc. Either way, make sure your painter’s tape is lying flat upon the surface to which it is adhered. Leave any wrinkles or gaps and the paint will bleed through the tape. Another tip, always use a relatively dry brush, against the painter’s tape, on your first coat. On your second coat you can proceed as usual. Doing this helps seal the edge of the paint, minimalizing paint seepage. If your surface has never been painted before, you are painting over a slick surface such as tile or countertop or you need to apply a color over a difficult to hide color, this is the time to apply a good quality primer such as 123 or Gripper. For water stains you will want to use a primer for stains, such as Bin, before proceeding. This special primer seals the stain into the surface being painted so it cannot penetrate your paint job and show up again. This is also a handy tool for priming pine as it will help seal the knots and keep them from showing through as well.
3. Get Painting
For painting anything that must be smooth, such as tiles, countertops, cabinets, doors etc., you will need to use your foam brushes or a foam roller as they will leave less brush strokes then a bristle brush. For painting walls and ceilings you will need to choose a proper roller nap. For popcorn or knockdown textured walls and ceilings you will need a larger nap while un-textured walls will require a smaller nap. When using a roller keep in mind that it does tend to give off small splatters as it rolls up and down the wall. This makes covering furniture and flooring even more necessary. Use bristle brushes to cut in corners, around outlets, windows, doors and against the ceiling and floor.
Be sure to cut in only as close as 1/8″ away from the object not to be painted. Use a small artist brush and a steady hand to get into the remaining 1/8″ inch of space. This is the reason that pros in the know don’t use painter’s tape. An artist brush, held very steady, will create just as crisp a line between the ceiling and wall as the tape would, if not better. Another thing is that painter’s tape takes a long time to apply as well as take down and costs extra money out of your painting budget. Not to mention that, if the paint is still damp on the tape when you take it down, it can accidentally hit areas you didn’t want painted and leave marks. Also, improperly placed painter’s tape will leave imperfections that will need to be fixed later anyhow. Shockingly, paint applied painstakingly with an artist’s brush around areas not to be painted takes about half the time of dealing with painter’s tape.
Once everything is painted step back and drink in your work. Often flaws don’t show up until you are standing at a distance from the wall. Use your artist’s brush to carefully fix up any flaws and fill in any remaining imperfections that show up with wall mud or putty. Remove the outlet and hinge covers and repair any imperfections there with your artist’s brush as well. For detailed work on things, such as signs, use a QTip to work in and around the lettering. For even daintier work, such as the wings on the doctor’s symbol, in the photo, cut the tip off of a QTip and use the tip-less end to work paint into the tiny areas.
4. Get Educated
Want to learn how to do faux treatments? Keep an eye on Doc’s articles and check out your local big box hardware store. Often those stores have free classes on such things as faux texturing, faux wallpaper, and faux marble. They also often have great how to books on creating faux treatments as well as faux treatment kits. As for Doc’s articles, I have one that will get you started and more in the making,http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2631915/wallpaper_removal_and_faux_wallpapering.html?cat=30 .