I am a Painter: how I roll…

As I painted my husband’s office {again} yesterday, I found myself chuckling over the fact (and yes, I talk to myself often… don’t you?) that most of my friends think I’m crazy…

for lots of reasons… but I was thinking about two in particular:

1. I paint all the rooms in my house.  Every house.  Multiple. Times.
2. I find it therapeutic.  Really.

And that got me thinking (I tend to be a little ADD when talking to myself) that there are a lot of people out there who are either intimidated by the idea of painting or don’t experience the enjoyment that I receive when doing so.  And that makes me sad.  So, without further ado, I introduce a little miniseries, if you will, about interior painting.

Tips and techniques for DIY painting

Before I proceed, however, I would like to say YES, loudly and clearly, the pun was intended.  I’m sorry, but I like puns.  You should read my post on Desperate Twines or my clever observation about our master closet solution.  But I digress…

More to the point, I thought I’d offer up some suggestions on how painting should be done how I do things.  Disclosure: this is NOT necessarily the right way to do things.  It is NOT even necessarily safe or non-toxic (though I sure hope it is!), but it is what I do.  And with that and a nickel, you’ve got 5 cents. 😉
Today’s episode will focus on what you need for the job.  So, without further ado, here are my supplies:

Paint – more on choosing that to come in future installments of “I am a Painter”

Old Paint Clothes – These serve three purposes, actually.  1) You don’t ruin new clothes, obviously.  2) A t-shirt is the best material to wipe a clean line if you accidentally run onto your baseboards or crown molding.  3) You are reminded of all your past victories.

Tips and techniques for DIY painting: have a uniform

It sounds silly, but I’m serious.  I have been using the same paint clothes for 10 years (I do wash them, I promise!)  They have paint from all the rooms of all the houses we’ve lived in.  I can see the guacamole green from our first living room, and the butter yellow from the sun room.  It makes me feel both victorious and nostalgic.

A Standard Roller – no special science to this…

A CHEAP roller brush – so I don’t feel guilty throwing it away rather than cleaning it.  Really, tossing this will cut your clean up time in half… need I say more?

A plastic roller tray – I prefer the plastic ones because I think they clean up more easily.  Of course, I also exercise the let-it-dry-and-give-your-tray-a-beautiful-layered-look method.  Really, once a layer of paint is dry in the tray, you can use a different color and just pour it in on top – no problem.

A broom handle – This is a trick I learned within the last few years.  I couldn’t bring myself to spend $30 or whatever it was at the home improvement store for a roller extension, then I read somewhere that any broom handle that screws out will fit onto a standard roller.  Woohoo!  Turns out, I had one that not only unscrews, it’s extendable.  Totally recommend it.

Tips and techniques for DIY painting: use a broom handle for extension


A red Solo cup – I’ve mention that I use these before when I was painting frames, but here’s another plug.  They’re the perfect size for your trim brush; they are easy to hold when you’re on a ladder or crawling along the ground, and they can be thrown away.

Tips and techniques for DIY painting: the red Solo cup


A 2″ or 2 1/2″ angled brush with a fairly long handle – I’ve painted trim with many other types of brushes, but I find this type the most efficient.  2 – 2 1/2 inches holds plenty of paint and covers enough to move quickly but not overwhelm your lines.  The angle helps for corners, and the long handle keeps you from getting as much paint on your hands and from having to move the ladder quite as often. 😉

An old sheet – I love drop clothes.  For curtains.  For pillows.  For crib skirts.  But I find them too stiff when trying to move around furniture.  I used to use plastic sheeting (after all, who doesn’t love disposable?), but I’ve discovered that a sheet is easier to manipulate and it soaks up the little drips you may spill.  Plastic sheets leave spills sitting on top, waiting to be tracked across the floor by you as soon as you step in them.

A roll of paper towels – because spills happen.

A cold diet {cherry} coke – A necessity for three reasons.  1) Everyone works better when she’s happy, right?  Diet cherry coke makes me happy.  2) In Texas, painting is always a hot job, no matter the time of year.  You need a little nice refreshment.  3) When you spill a bit or run over onto your trim, the condensation from the outside of the can is the perfect thing to dampen your paper towel before you clean up.  It works wonders.

A flathead screwdriver – to remove your light and electrical switch covers.

A paint opener thingamabob – imitations just don’t cut it.

Tips and techniques for DIY painting: the paint opener thing-y

I know this may sound ridiculous, but I believe that paint opener thingamabobs are one of those unsung heroes of the tool world.  Though a flathead screwdriver technically does the trick, it just isn’t the same.  I cannot fault my parents at all in their education of us in the DIY arena (as I told you here), but they never used these tools.  It was something I discovered later in life… and I think that allows me to appreciate it all the more.  Really.  You think I jest?  Then you don’t know me very well…

A tall step ladder – this is essential to getting a clean line along your crown molding or ceiling without having to tape it off… make sure you can actually touch your head to the ceiling when standing on your ladder; a shorter one won’t do the trick.

Yikes!  This post got long… I think the future installments will be a bit more concise.  I do hope that this was helpful in some way, though, and I hope you’ll come back for the next two episodes:

I am a Painter: choosing color

I am a Painter: choosing sheen

Before I go, here’s a condensed list of the supplies I recommend:

  • paint (more on choosing that to come in future installments of “I am a Painter”)
  • old paint clothes
  • a standard roller
  • a CHEAP roller brush (so I don’t feel guilty throwing it away rather than cleaning it)
  • a plastic roller tray
  • a broom handle
  • a red Solo cup (or the off-brand equivalent)
  • a 2″ or 2 1/2″ angled brush with a fairly long handle
  • an old sheet
  • a roll of paper towels
  • a cold diet coke (must be cold… see above)
  • a flathead screwdriver
  • a paint opener thingamabob (the technical term, you know)
  • a tall step ladder

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