Thursday, September 5, 2013

6 Simple Rules.....

First things first, we FINALLY have a winner in the Olive Leaf Stencils Giveaway! Congratulations to Ashley A!! We're all super jealous, well at least I am! :)  

I've painted so many rooms, I'm pretty sure I could do it in my sleep.  Mr. M. and I have a tried and true method, honed over many, many hours spent with paint rollers in our hands.  Here are some of my tips for painting your walls like a (DIY) pro...

1. Prepping the room is key.
Prior to painting, you MUST prep your walls properly if you want to attain a smooth, blemish-free finish.  This includes patching up any holes in the walls.  We use DAP DryDex Spackle, which is nice because it goes on pink and is dry once it turns white.

For small holes,you just need to smear spackle in the hole, making sure that you fill it completely. Larger holes require a wire mesh patch, which you stick to the wall on top of the hole and then use spackle to cover it up. It's best to use a few thin coats, rather than covering it with one huge blob.

Self-adhesive wire mesh patch

Once all holes have been patched and the spackle has dried white, it is time to sand. And sand.  And sand.  Sand the spackled areas until they feel completely smooth with the rest of the wall when you run your hand over theml.  Then, give all of the walls a good once over with the sandpaper block, to smooth out any rough areas.

After you have sanded, there will be a TON of sanding dust everywhere. Using tack cloth (very sticky, cheesecloth-like material), remove all dust from the walls and molding by running the tack cloth over the areas until all dust is removed.  Once you think you have it all, go over it with tack cloth once more, just to make sure!

2. Painter's tape is worth its weight in gold.
Now that your walls are ready to be painted, you should use painter's tape to tape off all surfaces adjoining the areas to be painted.  This includes all doorways, baseboards, windows, and the ceiling (or crown molding) where it meets your walls.  Taping carefully ensures that you have a crisp paint line and that you don't spend hours painting a room that ends up looking awful.  

 Applying painter's tape takes forever and just generally sucks.  Do it anyway.

3. Be smart about opening your paint can.
Mr. M. taught me this trick to opening/pouring/closing paint cans with little mess: when you first open your paint can, use a nail to drive a few small holes in the lip the surrounds the opening of the can.  This way, when the paint gets caught in the lip, it has somewhere to drain.  This keeps the lip of the can from overflowing and creating a mess when you put the lid back on.  It's a quick tip that takes just a moment and and saves a lot of headache later.  Also, write the room you paint on the lid of the paint can with a Sharpie.  That way there won't be any confusion when you need to touch up your paint years down the line.  

4. Cut in THEN roll paint.
Cutting in (edging the corners, windows, top and bottom of the wall) with a paint brush first allows you to roll paint on top of your edging, which eliminates almost all of your brush lines.  Most rollers can get ALMOST into the corner to leave you with walls that have the smooth, even finish of the paint roller, rather than brush strokes from the paint brush.  

I like to pour my paint into a small container (plastic cup or other disposable container) when doing my cutting in, so that my arm doesn't get tired from holding a heavy paint tray.  Brush the paint onto the edges carefully, getting as little as possible onto your painter's tape.  While some paint on the tape is OK, the less overage you have, the less likely it is that the paint will bleed under the tape.  Also, brush away from the tape whenever possible, to reduce bleeding.

5. Use two coats, even if you don't feel like it.
I know, the paint looks pretty good after one coat.  It's tempting to stop there, but the truth is that it really takes two coats to adequately cover the wall and avoid any areas of 'peek through'.  Each and every time I paint, I secretly hope I can do one coat and call it a day.  It never happens.  And I'm always glad I did the second coat.  The color just looks richer and more professional.  Trust me, you need two coats or else a few days down the road you'll start to focus in on areas where the color looks a little thin, where tiny specks of the old color show through.  Sorry to break it to ya, that's just the way it is.  

The good news is, the taping is already done for the second coat!  You just need to cut in and roll again.  After all that taping nonsense the first time around, the second coat goes by in a flash!

6. Remove your painter's tape promptly.
I like to remove my painter's tape as soon as I finish the second coat.  Well to be more accurate, I like to wash all my brushes and clean up my materials (which takes 15-20 minutes) and THEN pull my painters tape.  If I wait until the paint fully dries, some of the paint starts to come off along with the tape, leaving me areas that need touched up.  And I'm not good at fine touch ups, so I try to avoid them.  Or make my husband do them.

Try to create a right angle as you pull the tape, I find that I get my best results that way.  Also be careful not to let the tape touch anything, as the paint on the tape is likely still wet.  

That's it!  Enjoy your walls, if you followed my rules, they should look pretty damn good.

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  1. Another thing that I believe us worth it's weight in gold is low dust spackle. Take it from someone with major OCD about dust & dirt. I cried the first time my husband sanded the regular stuff. Being the amazing guy he is, he immediately bought the low dust stuff. 100% better. It fell off the wall, straight down when he sanded. Not floating all over the room getting into every nook & crany. But I guess if its just a small patch then the regular stuff is fine. :)

    1. Thanks! We'll have to try that. I HATE all that dust as well, and it really bothers my allergies. In fact, I wear a mask when we sand because otherwise I can't paint because I'm sneezing!