I’ve been on a bit of a painting kick lately. I guess I just started painting all the trim for the nursery a few weeks ago, and then I just didn’t stop! I’ll be sharing one project that I’ve done tomorrow, but for today I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips and tricks for making painting a fun, productive, and relatively quick experience rather than the long drawn-out process of time-suckingness that so many people have come to dread.
So here’s how I do it!
#1: Use Disposables
Wherever you can, I highly recommend using disposable foam brushes and rollers. This doesn’t always make sense, but for small projects, or for projects where you really want a smooth finish with no brush strokes, foam is the way to go. We used foam brushes on our DIY wood floors recently and I love to use them any time I’m making a chalkboard. I’ve also started using the mini foam rollers for pretty much every wall I paint too. I find them just as quick to use as the large rollers and so much easier to deal with. I’d much rather accomplish my project and throw out the brush afterwards, than not get anything done because I just don’t want to make a mess that day.
#2: Save the Tape
For most everyday painting jobs, painting tape really isn’t necessary. Try painting around trim and things like that without tape, and you’ll probably be surprised at how easy it really is to get a nice straight line. You may have to pay a little more attention to what you’re doing on a particular section, but that hour of taping everything off that you’ll save will be worth it. For any little mistakes, just carry a damp rag and wipe as you go. Save the painting tape for when you want to do fancy designs or stripes or things like that.
#3: Don’t Be a Perfectionist
That old saying of “If you can’t do something right, don’t do it at all” just doesn’t apply to painting. There isn’t really a right way to paint as long as you manage to get the paint from the can onto whatever surface you want it on, and it looks good in the end. How you get there doesn’t really matter. Small mistakes really are a small thing. Most little mistakes are probably things that you’ll never notice again once the painting job is done. Next time you’re in a public place that was painted by a professional, have a close look around and I guarantee you’ll find a few imperfections here and there. Would you ever have noticed them before? Nope! And you probably never will again. So if you’re waiting until that day when you’re a “good painter” to tackle a project, don’t. If you do mess up bad enough that it continues to bug you, there are always disposable foam brushes for touch ups!
#4: Use Tinfoil (Or Not)
Using a roller is awesome. Dealing with all the rolling equipment is not. If you’re worried about having to clean your paint tray afterwards, cover it in tinfoil before you pour in the paint and then you can just remove the tinfoil and throw it away when you’re done. Or, if you’re a highly evolved lazy painter like I am, don’t. Just let the leftover paint dry right in the tray and pour your next color on top the next time you paint. It works just fine!
#5: Think Small
There’s no rule that says that you have to tackle a big painting project, like painting a whole room, all at once. I love to work in small sections, for small, manageable periods of time. If you’re waiting for that weekend when you have nothing going on and no responsibilities to worry about before you paint that room, well, likely that time is never going to come. You may have to live with a half-painted room for a little bit, but before you know it, that room will be done and will feel fresh and new. I like to work on just one wall of a room, doing the trim and wall color during one afternoon or evening on the weekend, and then put everything back into place and not worry the room again until the next weekend. That way the room’s not all in disarray all week and I can even do things like cook dinner or play a game with Kennedy in between coats. Before I know it, the room is done and I haven’t even skipped a beat.
#6: Clean Your Brushes the Lazy Way
I really hate cleaning brushes. I have a few brushes that I love to use on trim or for cutting in around corners, but I really don’t look forward to having to clean them after I’ve done all the work of painting already. If you don’t know about my super-easy, lazy method of brush cleaning yet, then you’re missing out. Really, it’s changed the way I think about painting and made it so much easier for me to get a little painting done way more often.
So now you’re set! Get to painting! Hey, you could even start that painting project right now if you wanted to. What’s stopping you?
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.