Wednesday, April 4, 2012

one summer, I painted everything we owned

I love painting! Maybe not every day as, like, a job or something, but I really do feel this weird craving, this need to paint something at least once a year.

I'm kind of weird in that I really enjoy that manual labour stuff. Manual labour and repetitive assembly line work. Yup. I could do that stuff all day every day and I'd enjoy the hell out of every minute.

Painting's one of those things where I can just start and be alone in my little painting world. Zone out, listen to some music (or not), just myself and my brush. It's calming. Almost zen like.

Recently, I decided that the beige was making me sad. I mean, not in a woe-is-me kind of way, it was just bumming me out. So I've now decided it's time for a house makeover. Or not really a makeover (the house is brand new afterall), but more like a house personalization. I'm pretty happy with the colours chosen, but in every. single. room?! That's too much for me to handle.

I started in the master bedroom so the major comforting and relaxing room was finished first. That makes sense right? If any part of the house should come under disarray at any time in the future (and it will) at least we can retreat to bed and sleep in a nicely decorated, painted, and pretty room, right?

While doing it, I thought I'd share some of my painting tips I just kinda thought about while in the process. They're not professional tips (as in I'm not a professional), and maybe some of them aren't even really that handy, but I think they'd help anyone who's never painted anything ever. And you really should paint something at some point in your life. It's fun and it's a pretty easy and cheap way to instantly transform a room. And besides, it's just good house maintenance. You know how you have to clean out your gutters? Think about painting the walls the same way. Things just get grungy over time and (I think) it's just careless not to freshen it up (even if it's the same colour of paint) at least every five years.

{don't bother prepping too much} I have this weird thing where I just want to start my project already and I'll work over and around stuff until it pisses me off so much, I stop halfway through and actually prep. This is true for painting, cooking, crafting... all manners of work I get myself involved in. For instance, I never tape off mouldings -- I'm good at painting around trim. So in the master, I didn't bother until I started cutting in around the baseboards and realized I just couldn't do it cleanly enough. There I was, halfway through, going around taping off the baseboards. But now I know, right? I can cut in like a pro around doors and windows, but these particular baseboards are tricky, so I'll tape them off right away for future projects. The tiny area I screwed up, I went back with my trim paint and cleaned it up after. No biggie. Naturally, I do prep things such as removing pictures and switch plates, patching holes, and moving out little pieces of furniture and scooting larger pieces to the middle of the room and covering with a sheet. I'm not that unpreppy.

{it's cool to just have one small drop cloth} In the old house, I had all the old curtains that I used for drop cloths when painting. When we moved, I only kept a couple of the smaller ones just in case. So now, I don't have enough material to actually cover the whole floor so I move those two half curtains all the way around the room with me as I go. It's more of a hassle on carpeting. And for the love of all things, don't use a plastic drop sheet. It blows up and rustles around and static clings to everything. It'll end up in your paint more than it actually keeps paint off your floor.

{bottom to top} So I don't tire myself out too quickly, I start cutting in around the baseboards so I can sit and scoot my way around the room. Then I do all the cutting in for anything I can reach at standing height. Then I do all the cutting in around the ceiling on a ladder. It just kinda sucks to me to squat then stand then go up a ladder every few feet and I don't think it takes any more or less time either way.

{you dripped? so what} I keep a wet cloth with me at all times. If you drip, you can catch it right away with your cloth. If you didn't catch it, most paint can be scratched right off hard surfaces with your fingernail or a razor blade (especially if you leave it as a drip and don't smoosh it). I'm more wary of drips from too much paint on the wall than I am with getting it on the floor. The floor is easy, but if you let a drip dry on the wall, we're talking sandpaper and repainting to get rid of it, so be mindful of those.

Source: Uploaded by user via Cindy on Pinterest

{a lesson on trays} I have a lot of paint trays, but for some reason, I never ever bother to clean them after a paint job. After cutting in around the main floor living room, I realized I'd have to find a paint tray and clean it out (another example of my preparedness) so I spent about 10 minutes or more chipping the flaking paint out of a tray so I could use it. You'd think I'd have learned that lesson by now, wouldn't you? But the trays are definitely worth keeping around even if they are a pain to clean. You can buy tray liners or you can try the above idea if you're more prepared for it than I was. My foil didn't fit the tray completely (you gotta get those extra long boxes), and the foil kept lifting up with every roll (maybe if you could somehow stick it to the plastic tray it would work better).

{$5 paint brush = $25 paint brush} Yes, the more expensive paint brush is probably better, but I'm not a professional painter. I'm painting a couple times and then I'm probably not gonna paint for another five years so do I really feel the need to invest in a great paint brush? No. I buy those five packs of brushes for $10. You can find them anywhere. Same goes for rollers. I do wash my brushes out (especially the one angled brush I have that I particularly like for cutting in) but if I don't feel like it, I don't feel a tremendous amount of guilt for tossing them either. Once in a while, a cheap brush will screw me over by throwing out a stray bristle or mucking up a clean line, but those are easily pulled off (before they dry) or touched up.

{befriend the paint guy} Find a paint place you like and trust and always use them. I think that every paint store has the ability to match paint now, so you really don't have to get the paint where you found the colour. I like Cloverdale Paint. They deal with all the professional painters so they are mixing serious amounts of paint all day long. They also have a wide range of colours and paint to choose from plus they keep your mixes on file so if you go back to them for more, you don't have to bring a chip with you if they've already mixed it. Plus they know paint, so if you have any questions about what type to use, they'll be able to answer intelligently.

{the actual painting} I have mixed feelings on priming a room now. Definitely prime if it's older, maybe grungier paint you're painting over or if you're painting a light colour over a dark colour. You maybe don't need to bother if it's newer paint (like in my situation) or if the colours are pretty close in tone. I have had problems with using primer and having a darker colour over top because, when nailing a picture in later, the new paint chipped and I could see a startling white spot sticking out from under the darker colour. So if you really have to prime, take some of your new colour and mix it into the primer to avoid that annoying problem.

Generally I have a less is more idea to how much paint should be on the brush, but I also want my second coat of paint to just finish the job and I want my first coat to do most of the work. Do not dry brush or roll. You'll know because the brush will leave streaks and you'll find yourself pushing down on the roller to get more paint out. Always go back for more paint more often than you think you should.

For tight corners, I make sure there's a heavier blob of paint on my brush (not dripping, but not swiped on the side of the can either) and I use the brush to push the paint into the corner. The brush itself doesn't go into the corner (thereby mucking up the ceiling or wherever your corner happens to be), just the blob of paint. Once you know how to push paint where you want it (without getting the brush too involved), cutting in will go that much easier as this is the method I use the most around the ceiling (where taping isn't an option). For corners, blob, then push until covered. For lines, blob, push, then pull the paint blob straight across. It's probably best to practice it under window trim or over the door trim until you get the hang of it.

I would say to roll top to bottom or bottom to top or in big Ws, but I really don't think any of that matters as long as you have sufficient paint on the roller. If you've got enough paint, you shouldn't see lines, just make sure to always overlap where you last rolled. And finally, always use a broom handle or extender for rolling unless there's absolutely no room for it. My hand always cramps up and gets tired faster if I don't have a longer handle attached to the roller handle and there's no sense in tiring yourself out faster than you need to.

I don't think a paint job has ever taken me more than one day to complete, so I hope these pointers help make painting a less daunting task. The most challenging part of it should be picking your paint colour!


danielle and dinosaur toes said...

you don't know how happy it makes me to read that you enjoy painting! i actually thoroghly enjoy it, and whether it's my walls that need painting, or someone else's, i'm always happy to do it! i think that it is sort of relazing, but also, when you can instantly see the change and progress, what's not to like?!

GALaxy said...

Danielle: I know! Painting is so soothing! Yeah the change is really satisfying, too. And it's so rewarding cuz you can look at your room and think, "I did that!" I love anything that has such instant gratification.