While painting a room for the first time may seem daunting, plenty of useful tips and tricks are available to simplify the process, create a smoother finish, reduce messes and preserve your painting supplies for future use. For instance, disposable nitrile gloves can be used to store paint brushes, while push broom handles can attach to your roller if you need to reach high areas. To prepare your walls before beginning a paint job, you may also use a Swiffer rather than wiping down the walls with a rag or feather duster.
To reduce the stress of painting a room in your home for the first time, plenty of other genius hacks are also available. Moreover, many of these hacks can be completed while using regular household supplies such as fabric softener, vanilla extract, lip balm and white vinegar. To explore these first-timer painting hacks in greater detail, review the sections below.
1. Preserve your paint brushes
Many first-time painters are unfamiliar with the proper methods of storing their brushes, often resulting in wasted money and supplies. However, you can easily clean and preserve your paint brushes by:
- Covering the wet brush with a nitrile glove whenever you take a break from painting. To do so, wear disposable gloves while you paint and pull the glove down over the bristles, securing the glove with a twist tie.
- Wrapping your wet paint brushes in rosin paper to keep the bristles from curling and splaying before the next use. To do so, simply wrap your brushes in the cardboard packaging you purchased them in or wrap them in rosin paper and secure them with a rubber band.
- Tossing your dirty brushes in a five-gallon bucket of water at the end of each use. Before you start to paint again, swish the brushes around in the water and use a paintbrush and roller cleaner to remove any excess water.
- Soaking your dirty paint brushes in fabric softener, as doing so removes the smell of paint while also helps to maintain the flexibility of the brush.
- Removing water-based paints from your brush by soaking the brush in cleaning vinegar after each use. After soaking the brush, place the dirty brush and a thin lining of clean vinegar in a pot and boil the water for several minutes. Once cooled, use an old toothbrush to scrub the paint from the brush, rinsing the brush with water as you go.
2. Protect your floors and other objects
While cheap drop cloths can be slippery, messy and prone to tearing, there are plenty of other ways to protect your floors from drips and smudges while you paint a room in a new hue. For instance, you may use:
- Flat, broken down cardboard to protect your floors.
- A plastic table cloth or an old sheet to line your floor and any bulky appliances that may be in the way.
- Plastic wrap to cover any smaller objects that may be in your way, such as toilet tanks or the tops of washer and dryers.
3. Easily clean up messes or prevent unwanted paint jobs
If you accidentally get paint on your floor, appliances or any unwanted spaces, you can easily remove marks or smears with alcohol-containing products. Additionally, Vaseline can be used to remove paint from hinges, doorknobs, screws and other unwanted spaces. For instance:
- You may apply a thick layer of Vaseline or lip balm over any areas you wish to protect from unwanted paint. After the paint dries, you can use a paper towel to easily remove the paint from the area.
- You may use pimple pads or alcohol wipes to remove drips or paint messes from floors or other surfaces.
- A single-sided razor blade or sanding tool can be used to remove dried lines or drips from furnishings.
4. Prep your walls and paint
If you are a first-time painter, you may be tempted to dive right in without prepping the wall. However, you must first prep the wall to ensure a smooth, clean finish. To prep a wall more easily, you may:
- Use a dampened Swiffer to clear the wall of dust, debris or cobwebs.
- Use your hand and a brown paper bag to gently sand down a dry, rough surface.
- Use T.S.P. All Purpose Cleaner to degrease and clean a dirty surface.
- Heat your painter’s tape in the microwave for 10 seconds if the tape is old and will not unroll without tearing.
- Mix a tablespoon of vanilla extract into your paint to lessen the smell of the paint and reduce its hard odor.
- Apply a high-quality primer before painting your walls. To prime new drywall, use a water-based paint. To prime damaged or stained walls, use an oil-based primer.
5. Apply a smooth coat
While painting is not a difficult task for many, it does take some practice. However, you can increase your chances of applying a clean, smooth finish by keeping the following painting hacks in mind:
- Use an angled brush to “cut in” the paint near the ceiling, corners of the wall, and around trim, as these areas are harder to reach with a roller or larger brush.
- Prep your paint roller by running warm water over your hand. Then, brush the roller over your hand, as doing so will help the roller to absorb paint more easily.
- To load your roller with paint, gradually move your paint roller back and forth in a pan until you cover the roller with a base level of paint. For easier tray cleanup, line your pan with a layer of aluminum foil before you pour in the paint.
- Avoid rolling the brush in an upward and downward motion. Instead, paint a “W” pattern onto the wall, as doing so helps to reduce lines and create a smoother finish. To use this technique, bring your roller to the corner of the wall and roll on a three-foot by three-foot “W.” Without lifting the roller, fill in the section and repeat until finished.
- To ensure a clean line of paint, remove your painter’s tape at an angle when you are done painting the space. To reduce the risk of chipping, remove the tape as soon as possible after the paint dries.