15 of my Favorite Painting Tips, Tools and Paint
I have painted almost every room in our home now. Make that almost every room in two homes! You could say that over the years I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade and have acquired quite a few painting tools. But, only a handful are my tried and true gear that get pulled out for every painting job.
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Here they are:
I have to tell you that I’m a bit of a paint snob. When we bought out first house, I got to know our local paint guy because I practically lived at the paint store. He pulled me aside one day and told me that Benjamin Moore Aura was his favorite paint. Since that day, I’ve been a big fan. The price is definitely higher than most, but for the time savings and finished product, it is worth it! I have been able to paint two rooms with only one coat, and let me tell you we never scrimp on coats. Normally we paint two coats regardless, but our dining room and living room honestly didn’t need the second coat because the before color wasn’t too different and there were no spots showing! This year I’ve tried several other brands, but I keep coming back to good ole Benjamin. The Aura paint has really great coverage and a very even finish. Plus, the durability and scrubability (is that a word?) for removing smudges and gook from the walls is unsurpassed. In all fairness, I know several other DIY bloggers that swear by Sherwin Williams — I just haven’t tried it yet.
2. Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo (water-based):
If you have little boys you know how rough they can be on doors, doorways, and all the trim in your house. Our baseboards alone have stood up to many matchbox demolition derbies. When I choose a paint for our trim, I know it has to have superhuman properties. Luckily I’ve found the Impervo paint by Benjamin Moore is up to the challenge and stands up to a lot of abuse.
3. ScotchBlue Tape:
Painter’s tape is a necessity for clean lines AND for securing drop cloths to the floor right up to the baseboard. I’ve been using ScotchBlue for years and I can tell you that the painter’s tape you used 5 years ago has changed. I know 3M is working on improving for better seal with less stick! We always have a supply of ScotchBlue in my tape drawer and we definitely go through it!
4. Pro Masker 2000:
I used to be a taper and taped off every room we painted. (Now, I’ve gotten much better at cutting in with just a brush.) In a desperate attempt to save time, I bought this paint tape dispenser and was thrilled to shave some time off my taping tasks. You can watch a brief video here. I still tape off some edges when I know it will take me more time to be meticulous than to tape off some trim.
5. Metal Paint Tray with Hooking Legs (and Plastic Bags):
I have a no-frills metal paint tray. It has legs that can hook onto a ladder, which comes in handy when painting high on a ladder. This paint tray is the first and last tray I’ll ever need because I like to line it with plastic grocery bags for easy clean up and for protecting the tray from a multitude of layers of paint (did I mention how many rooms I’ve painted in our home?)
6. Paint Mixing Drill Attachment:
Okay, I know you already know how much I love my cordless drill. Which is why you’ll understand why I jumped at buying this paint stirrer drill attachment just to have an excuse to pull out my drill for another project! Honestly, unless you like the slow process of thoroughly mixing old paint or blending colors, you’ll want one of these for your own!
Having a small pail to hold paint for painting trim while balancing on a ladder just makes sense (unless you like step aerobic.) This handheld paint pail has a magnet inside that will hold your paint brush from being completely submersed. I haven’t tried this upgraded version myself, but that seems like a great addition.
8. Rolling Edger:
I’ve tried so many edging gadgets that I could build a wing on my garage just for paint gadgets. I always come back to this basic edger. It is a simple tool that does a great job with a clean edge on inner corners…
…outer corners and around objects. The bristled pad is removable for easy cleaning. We’ve never had to replace ours because I don’t let the paint dry in it. When buying a basic edger, there is one option that you really should consider: a hole to accept an extension pole.
9. Extension Pole:
An extension pole is a necessity for high walls and ceilings in general. The extension pole can screw into any paint roller base and edgers that have a hole for the extension pole. Buy one today, your neck will thank you but your chiropractor will miss you.
10. Drywall Tape Knife:
Painting trim is the final step in painting a room. At this point you see the light at the end of the tunnel and are ready to finish already. I recently gave up taping off the carpet and flooring and use a drywall taping knife as a painting guard instead. It was quick and easy to use. Simply push it under the baseboard, paint and wipe off the blade once in a while.
11: Two Step Stool with Tall Handle:
Unless you are 6’4″, like my brother, you’ll likely need a step stool for painting crown molding and the top of the wall. I have a Cosco brand that has a long handle for grasping at that moment that you realize you leaned too far to one side. (Not that that ever happened to me. No Way!)
12. Lined Drop Cloth:
Have you ever dripped paint? No? Liar!! Have you ever stepped in and tipped over an entire gallon of paint? Ummm, yes, I did do that once. Several years ago we bought a double-sided drop cloth set from Costco. I’ve been thrilled with the security of knowing that I can dip my shoe in paint at any given moment and my floors will be safe. One side is canvas and the back is coated with vinyl. This is the closest match I could find. A double-sided drop cloth may cost a little more, but they are re-useable and never need to be thrown away. 😉 Happy Earth Face!
13. Rustoleum Spray Paint Handle:
Ever have trigger finger? No, not the itchy kind. The kind that cramps up after spray painting a fleet of furniture. That’s the same moment you realize you forgot to wear gloves. Only now it looks like you are wearing a black glove — but you’re not — it’s paint. The Rust-oleum Spray Handle is the best thing since spray paint! It fits on almost all spray paint cans except the ones with the built-in-trigger top like show on the right above.
14. Purdy Brushes:
My love affair with Purdy brushes may be considered a little extreme. I love them so much that I immortalized two as cabinet handles in my garage:
These are seriously good brushes! I’m still using the Purdy brushes I bought when we lived in our old house. (And did I mention how many rooms we’ve painted?) Sure, they cost a little more, but they hold their shape and if you clean them right, you will never have to buy new ones! One 2.5″ and a 1″ brush are all you really need (unless you are good at recruiting friends to help you paint.)
15. The Paintbrush Cover:
The Paint Brush Cover is the newest addition to my painting tool box. Sal emailed me about half a dozen times to try to get my attention about the Paint Brush Cover. (Yup, if you don’t get a reply from me right away, try try again.) I’m so glad he was persistant because I love this painting accessory. When I get interrupted while painting with a phone call (or more likely to break up some brotherly bickering), it is so quick and simple to set the brush in the cover and seal it up. The Paint Brush Cover is like tupperware for your paint brushes. And if you are going to spend money on good brushes, you better make sure that you don’t let the paint dry out in them!
I was truly pleased when after a week with pneumonia, I returned to the room I had to abandon painting, to find that the brush I had stored in the Paint Brush Cover was still wet and the paint was ready to use! I was one happy DIYer!
On my wishlist:
As a big painting enthusiast, I’ve gotten myself into some tight spots while painting. But, none are more awkward than painting over stairs. The edger on a pole works okay, but inevitably I’ll bump the ceiling or the wall that wasn’t supposed to be painted. I tried the Little Giant Ladder at the Southern Ideal Home Show last year. I am definitely very skeptical of infomercial type products, but from what I saw (and witnessed while climbing two stories up) was impressive. The ladder can contort into all types of configuration which makes it ideal for painting stairways.
Unfortunately I didn’t buy one at the show. Which resulted in my attempt at a DIY Ladder Platform:
Why yes, that is a cinderblock; my DIY Aerobic step; and a few other scraps of wood. Although scary looking, it was actually sturdy, as you can see by my stair surfing antics. But, I don’t know that I can endorse my platform.
If you are into making your own, you can check out the platform that Matt & Shari made. It might be a little less risky.
Ready to start painting? Check out these tutorials on painting a room like a pro:
Step 1. 80% of a professional paint job is in the prep work.
Step 3. painting your room and finishing touches
Disclosure: There are several links in the above post. They are affiliate links and I receive a small commission on any purchases made when clicking on the link. You are not charged anything extra.
Perusing your web journal and others on Pinterest simply attempting to get readied for my first paint work. I’m going to endeavor to paint my restroom first… if that goes well then I’ll set out on whatever is left of the house! Here goes nothing!
I haven’t and love to paint in over 8 years I’ve had practice paintwashing walls with paint roller and water is it or would it easy or hard for me to try to remember how to paint again after than many years also I haven’t helped anyone paint I’ve asked and offered no one ever welcomed me anyone have ideas or suggestions whether or not I’ll be able to remember how to paint after over 8 years also I’ve only painted like 3 or 4 times even if i don’t ever get to help or paint for anyone i also have worn paint suits when I have painted I have three of them I even have a vintage painting suit that goes back to either between the 50s and 70s it has a belt on it that hooks its the nicest one i now own for anyone whos doesn’t know whats paintwashing it using a paintroller wetting it and washing walls like your painting only its not paint its rolling water onto the walls i may never get to paint or help anyone again paintwashing may be the closet I’ll ever come to painting if anyone interested my comments please comment back to me thank you
I’ve liked the Paint Brush Cover page on FB.
Reading your blog and others on Pinterest just trying to get prepared for my first paint job. I’m going to attempt to paint my bathroom first…if that goes well then I’ll embark on the rest of the house! Here goes nothing!
Oh I need to get some painting gadgets like that paint brush cover/holder thingy and a spray paint handle! Thanks for posting your tips and tricks – I’ve got this linked to my painting post too today, for DIY advice!
Love this idea! Will be so much neater than the plastic grocery bag that I usually use! Thanks for sharing!
I like your paint brush cover.
I will tell you a funny story without hopes of winning anything.
Keep in mind I am a professional painter who should know better.
Into my 12th hour painting and on my second job of the day. A children’s bathroom. The bath connected to both kid’s bedroom, and it was getting late. I wanted to get the room cut in and rolled by before their bedtime. ( consideration of the client, their home and routines, is always BEFORE any other part of the paint job. ) Anyway, I moved my ladder. I forgot that I had a gallon of paint on top. Paint can not only dumped. It bounced…out the door…into the daughter’s bedroom, paint was flung onto the bed, the furniture, the carpet, the walls painted only two days ago, and onto the ceiling fan. I did not cry. The children did not get to bed by nine.
Anyway, I like your post. It doesn’t claim to say what a pro would do. Painting for yourself and professional painting are not skills requiring the same kind of processes. Professional painters are always in the frame of mind that time is money. There is no reason a home owner has to learn to cut in a ceiling line with a brush. ( and yes, Purdy is the best. But I almost exclusively use a three inch brush. And DO be a paint snob. Cheap paint makes for poor results. )
I don’t have a funny story, but I do love YOUR stories! Thanks for the wonderful giveaway! This little cover would be awesome!