Painting Step-by-Step

Painting Step-by-Step
Make your next paint project easier with these step-by-step instructions for painting a room.

Painting Step-by-Step

You've picked your paint color, gathered your supplies, and are ready to start painting. Follow this step-by-step guide to achieve amazing results in any room. Start by clearing out the room, taping off windows, the ceiling, etc. Then you can begin the painting process: cutting in and painting the walls, followed by a quick and easy cleanup.

Ready the Room

Remove small items from the room, and move large furniture into the center, covering it with a plastic drop cloth. Protect the floor with another drop cloth and tape the edges to the floor to prevent tripping. Use painter¿s tape to mask off window and door frames, ceilings, baseboards, and other trim. Also be sure to remove switchplates and outlet covers. To keep track of all the pieces, tape the screws to the plates and covers, or screw them back into the outlets.

Load Your Brush

Dip a third of the brush's bristles into the paint. Lift the bristles out of the paint and gently tap them (don't wipe) against the rim of the paint can. This gets your brush loaded with paint just short of dripping on the way to the wall.

Cut In

Use a 3-inch flat brush to outline walls and ceilings, a technique known as "cutting in." An angled brush will work better in tricky areas that require more brush control. Leave a loosely brushed edge that allows the trimmed area to blend in when you paint the wall.

Brush in Sections

Apply the paint in long sections, each about as wide as two brush widths. Brush upward to unload the brush, then down to set the paint, then up again to remove the brush marks. Always start painting at the edges, then fill in the center area. Avoid starting a new can of paint in the middle of the wall because there could be variations between batches of paint. To avoid streaks, wrap the ferrule of the brush with painter's tape to catch drips.

If you start brushing on the color and notice an uneven distribution of the paint, try this trick used by professional painters: Decant some paint into a new, smaller paint can (available at hardware stores and home centers). Clip a bit of a wire coat hanger and bend it across the top of the small paint can. Secure the wire by twisting the ends into the rim or wrapping them around the handle. Then, after you dip your brush into the paint, gently wipe the excess off along the wire instead of along the can's curved rim. Your brush will carry an even amount of color across the width of the brush, and you'll get more even results on the wall.

Use a Roller

Load a roller by dipping it into a tray full of paint and rolling it up the tray's ramp until the roller is saturated. Work in small sections (4-foot areas), rolling paint into the wall in an overlapping W motion. Be sure to overlap still-wet areas to prevent roller marks. When applying multiple coats of paint, allow the walls to dry to the touch between applications.

Clean Brushes

Remove excess paint with a wide-tooth comb. Rinse the brush in warm water or soak the brush in a solution of 1/2 cup liquid fabric softener to 1 gallon of warm water for about 15 minutes. Attach your clean brush to a spin-drier tool by pushing the handle into the stiff spring clips, and spin inside a 5-gallon bucket to remove excess moisture.

Store Brushes

Cut a rectangle of heavy kraft paper or grocery bag twice the length of the ferrule and bristles and four times the width of the brush. Crease the paper vertically down the center. Place the brush on the paper edge and fold at the crease. Roll the brush into the paper. Secure it with a rubber band. Hang the brush by the handle or store it flat.

Clean Rollers

Scrape the excess paint out of the roller cover with the curved side of a five-in-one tool. Dump the paint back into the paint can. Rinse the cover in warm water, scraping with the tool until the water runs clean. Attach the cover to the spin drier over the spring clips, and spin inside a 5-gallon bucket. Stand the roller cover on its end to dry completely before storing.

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