17 Essential Painting Hacks to Make DIY Less Stressful in 2023
It’s the first month of the New Year and many of us will be trying to tick off a long list of DIY jobs in, and outside, the house we haven’t yet got around to doing. Although painting can seem like an easy job, once you start, it can soon become very stressful. Everything from prep work to colour choices to the application process, it’s no wonder we procrastinate when it comes to painting projects.
Luckily Michael Rolland, interiors expert and MD of The Paint Shed, has provided some handy painting hacks to make that DIY job slightly less stressful.
1. Choose trade paint
Completing DIY tasks in January means that you want any work you put in to last the year if not longer. It’s a common misconception that trade paint is exclusively for those in the professional decorating industry, when in reality anyone can purchase trade paint and your finished result will thank you for it too.
Trade paint will last longer meaning you won’t have to repaint every few months, which over a period of time will save you a lot of time and money.The Paint Shed has a wide range of affordable trade paint available coming in all sorts of colours.
2. Clean the room thoroughly before you start
It may seem obvious but ensuring your walls are pristine before you start painting will make for a smoother finish and application. Use a damp cloth over the surface of the wall, you can also use sugar soap or a mixture of washing up liquid and water if you need a more thorough clean of high traffic areas or those that have been exposed to grease.
Don’t forget to check hidden areas such as behind the radiators to keep your paintwork as clean as possible. Although you don’t necessarily need to paint this spot, the dust that lingers could make its way out into your paint.
3. Wash brushes in washing up liquid and fabric softener
Before you start painting, wash all your brushes. This will help remove any loose bristles which can ruin your finish should they stick to the wall. Wash them in a mixture of diluted washing up liquid and fabric softener to keep the bristles soft.
4. Use tape to remove roller fluff
Brand new rollers can be fluffy, which can transfer onto the surface you are painting. To avoid this, use packing tape to remove the excess fluff prior to starting your project.
5. Start from top to bottom
A general rule to remember when it comes to painting any room, is to paint in the correct order. You should always start at the top and work your way down. This means ceilings before walls and walls come before skirting boards.
Start by mixing your paint and then on a ladder cut in along the ceiling with a brush. Then using a roller attached to an extension pole you can paint the rest of the ceiling. Repeat this process when painting the walls, use a brush for edges then a roller before working your way down.
Keep a clean damp cloth handy to remove any mistakes quickly, if a drop of paint is heading for the floor over the woodwork you can quickly wipe it away before it dries.
6. Don’t forget about your pets
It is essential that you don’t forget to lock pets out of the room being decorated. Unless part of your plan for the room is to have paw and nose prints over everything within reach, make sure beloved furry family members are kept out of the way of spaces being painted.
Plus, you won’t want wayward fur making its way into the paint and spoiling the smooth finish you prepped so hard for.
7. Protect your hair
Anyone that has had to clean paint out of their hair, particularly those that are hi-sheen, such as gloss, will know it is better to prevent it from getting in there in the first place.
There will be spray from the roller so whether you are doing walls or ceilings which can make its way onto your body and hair.
If you don’t want to buy a specific painter’s cap, a shower cap will do just as good a job of protecting your hair (attractive we know!)
8. Cover your paint trays
This hack will not only save you a huge amount of time washing up but also a money-saver if you find yourself buying a new tray after every paint job. You can use thin plastic liners or simply use tin-foil to line your paint trays.
Once you’re done painting you can simply take off the liner or foil and throw it away.
9. Placing a rubber band to catch excess paint
There is nothing worse than having a messy paint can with paint dripping all around the edges. To avoid this, place a rubber band around your paint can before you begin painting.
This will give you something to remove excess paint on without the paint collecting in the ridge of the opening and getting onto the lid or dripping down the sides of the tin.
10. Remove tape whilst the paint is still wet
Another hack when it comes to painter's/masking tape is to remove the tape whilst the paint is damp for a clean, professional finish. There is nothing worse than working for a clean finish only to pull up the tape and see chunks of your hard work go with it.
Do not wait until the paint is completely dry to remove the tape. Just be careful removing the tape, since there will be wet paint on it.
11. Using a hairdryer to remove tricky tape
If you’re finding it tricky to remove painter’s/masking tape, especially if it has been left on for too long, then this hack will be a lifesaver. Grab your hair dryer and blow hot air onto the tape, doing so will reactivate the adhesive making it easier to remove!
Take your time lifting up the painter's tape, pull it back on itself, removing it at a 45 degree angle.
12. Use cling film to protect your paint
Once you have finished the job in hand, make sure you keep any leftover paint as you never know when you will need to do some quick touch-ups. One hack you can use when it comes to storing left-over paint is using cling film over the top of the can of paint before replacing the lid.
Doing this will prevent dust, dirt and flaky paint from falling into the fresh paint when you next open it, particularly if it has been stored in a shed or garage.
13. Wrap up your brushes and rollers
It is more than likely your painting project will take at least a few hours, so instead of cleaning between painting sessions, wrap rollers and paintbrushes in something plastic, such as cling film or a carrier bag or even Coral seal and save brush and roller wrap.
Ensure the wrap is tight to keep it from drying out.
14. Assess your work in daylight
You might not realise it but lighting can have a huge affect on the look of paint therefore you should avoid painting interior surfaces in dim light. The painted surface may look fine at first, but when you uncover the windows or turn on bright lights you’ll likely see thin patches and other imperfections.
You should always assess the paint in natural daylight and when it is dry before calling it a job well done. Daylight will expose the need for another coat or any missed sections.
15. Use a sweeping brush to paint a decking
If you are looking to spruce up your decking space with a fresh coat of paint ready for the warmer evenings and inevitable barbeques then this is a hack for you. Instead of damaging your back by bending over using a paint brush or risking covering everything in sight using a spray, pour your decking paint into a tray, take an outdoor sweeping brush, dip it into the paint and sweep back and forth over the decking, saving your back and precious time.
Use a broom with nice soft bristles to avoid flicking paint around and to achieve an even finish.
16. Chase the shade
Exterior painting projects should not be carried out in direct sunlight. This will cause the paint to dry too quickly which means that lap marks, drips and imperfections are impossible to avoid.
Make sure you chase the shade, know roughly where the sun is going to be throughout the day, remember it rises in the east and sets in the west. If your garden is a sun trap then make sure to start painting early in the morning and later in the afternoon/early evening when the sun isn’t at its highest.
17. Use hooks on your ladder
This hack is particularly useful if you are painting masonry outside of your house. There is no way that even the fittest among us will want to be climbing up and down a ladder after each stroke and in the interest of safety, holding the paint can handle in one and the brush in the other is not the most sensible idea.
Instead, invest in some ladder hooks, there are specific ones you can purchase for the job, you then hook these on the ladder and hang the paint can off of them. This leaves one hand free to hold onto the ladder preventing falls and a brush in the other.