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Painting Tips and Tricks 1: Preparation

Updated on May 7, 2014

Painting and Decorating Preparation

Your living room's looking a little tired and could do with a make over, so you decide to redecorate; here's a few painting tips and tricks you may want to consider. One of the first thing you need to consider is probably one of the most expensive parts of any redecoration; the floor; is it carpeted; if so will it go with your new colour scheme, if not you may have to replace it.

If you decide to replace it, leave it down till the end of the job, it will act as a dust sheet when painting.
The day before you start the job check you have all the tools you need.

Decorating Tools

Tape Measure,


2 Sets of Steps,

A Plank,

Internal Filler

2 Scrapers 3” & 11/2 “

Decorators Caulk

Small Hawk for filling

A Float for filling

Sandpaper & Block

Plastic Containers for paint

Sugar Soap

1 Flat Screw Driver

1 Flat Philips Screw Driver

A Bucket

6” Brush for pasting

Pasting Table

Large Shears

Plumb Bob

10” Papering Brush

A 21/2” & 11/2” Paint brush

White Spirits

Dust Brush, the most important tool

A Roller & Roller Tray with spair sleeves

Extension Pole

Stiring stick

Dust sheets

Tool for Each Job

Two sets of steps come in handy. The ones I've suggested from amazon have a tray at the top to hold your paint and tools. The trestle type steps offer more stability so you could have one of each. If you only have one pair, next door may have a pair you can borrow.

A plank will save you a lot of time; the one above is telescopic so you can adjust the length, a great idea that will be my next buy as you can see from the picture our rooms are quite big. As a younger man all we used was an 8" x 21/2" x 8' peace of timber; dose the job and a lot cheaper. On the other hand to save any expense it can be done from the top of your steps, I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done.

The tape measure has a locking device which is handy, but when you release it let it in by hand, they retract quite fast and may trap part of your finger; plus it won't last to long if you let it retract on it's own all the time. I did put a 16ft tape in but on second thoughts I've seen some of the houses in the U.S. so it's a 25 footer. You could buy one at fifty feet for a few more dollars, but it's money you don't need to spend.

Buy the best paint brushes you can get hold of; they should be about 3/4" thick at the stock, which in turn holds more bristles, which holds more paint. The handle should be nice and round for easy grip, flat handles are not that great. Always clean after use and you'll have them for years.

Painting from a full tin of paint is a bad idea; you have no control. When I started as a young apprentice we had what where called paint kettles; made out of steel, and still around today.
The kettle was half filled with paint which enabled you to dip your brush in and tap it on the side of the kettle to force the paint into the brush. The kettle also had a handle attached for easy use. Mainly used for oil based paint; one of the advantages of using a steel kettle is after being used a number of times, to clean it, you'd take it out side, add a little white spirits and set it on fire, burning away all the old paint leaving a clean kettle; which enable you to keep it for years.
The preferred kettle of today is plastic, also with a handle; you can buy them for very little money in any DIY shop. Plastic food containers will do; again there's quit a few out there and if you can find one with a handle even better . I've included wallpaper hanging tools as well, should you need them; you can make up your own 'Plumb Bob' with a set of keys and a 8' piece of string.

Dust Sheets

Ok your ready to start; take down all the light fittings where you can; move as much furniture out of the room as possible and move the larger objects into the centre of the room, making sure you stack it so you can get your plank over the top of the centre of the room and on to the two pair of steps. Put dust sheets over the furniture and carpet to protect them from falling paint.
It's a good idea to buy 4 or 5 large dust sheets; it's amazing how they come in handy and you'll probably have them for the rest of you life; if not old bed sheets, polythene, anything to cover up.
Polythene's ok to cover the furniture but not such a good idea on the floor, if you stand on it at one end of the room it moves the other end; dust sheets for the floor then.

One word of warning at this point; if your painting the celling and a large blob of paint falls off your roller, wipe it off the dust sheet other wise it will soak through; even though it's probably water based if you find the stain under the dust sheet at the end of the job when it's had a couple of days to dry, it's very hard to remove.

That's it your ready to go.

New dust sheet on the block - Updated 07.5.14

As I've mentioned a dust sheet on it's own will not stop large blobs of paint from working there way through the sheet and polythene move's all over the place when you stand on it.

There are now two new types of superior dust sheet. One has a plastic backing and the other is treated with a substance that stops paint penetration.


I'll take you through the whole process of decorating a room through a series of hubs.

Qualifications: It was my first job I served my time from 15 years of age and been at it ever since.

I was lucky in that my peers where Alan Smith & Fred Marshall two old paper hangers who never removed there caps and knew every trade trick in the book. As a kid I would paste the wallpaper as fast as I could; while they put it on the wall from both sides of the room. It was amazing to watch.

The Most Important Tool in this Hub

It's your tape measure, you'll notice that any trades man who comes to price a job for you always as a tape in is hand.
In this group of hubs I hope to be able to give you the confidence to be able to do your own decorating and do other peoples to.

Please let me know your painting tips and tricks

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    • 2Tony profile image

      Tony Casey 3 years ago from Manchester U.K.

      Hi Ivor

      No matter which type of paint your using, if you using white to cover a dark colour you will need two coats of under coat then your top coat.

      Just a word about the painting process. You've rubbed down your surface, you've give it a brush with your dust brush or a wipe down with a little white spirits, just to get rid of the dust after sand down.

      Dip your brush in the paint, just 2.5 cm, tap the brush on the side of the container your paint's in (never the tin it comes in) so the paint go's into the brush. Then with one stroke just draw a line with the paint about 1ft/30cm then without putting any more paint on your brush, brush across the line from side to side. Now put more paint on your brush and leaving about a 2" brush width, draw another line parallel to the first one and again paint across the line only this time run it into the first painted area. Finish off by going up and down over the whole area then cross the whole area and finely with very light strokes 'lay it off', as they say in the trade, by downward stokes with your brush. That's how you paint over the whole area your painting starting at the top and working down to the bottom.

      A little tip, if your up to it, even professionals can get runs (two much paint in one area), You can do two things:

      a) Don't wash your brush as soon as you've finished just take at good look for the next 1/2 hour every 10 minutes, if you see a run, with no paint on your brush just brush it upwards.

      b) For no runs what so ever take the door off and lay it on a couple of work mates.

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.


    • profile image

      Ivor 3 years ago

      Hi. Im using water based gloss in some areas and water based satin in some. Im doing doors which are now blue. Im making them white but it seems even thou im using a tgree inchpurdu brush tge finish is still patchy. You can see where the brush marks end. Please help if you can.

    • shanel profile image

      shanel 8 years ago from Seattle

      Hi Tony --- Thanks for stopping in to check out my link, and I thoroughly enjoyed your discussion on painting. If you do a lot of painting, it is hard to imagine needing any instructions, but there is definitely a right and wrong way to undertake a painting project. Your instructions are the perfect roadmap to follow for a painting project. Nice hub and thanks --- Shanel

    • 2Tony profile image

      Tony Casey 8 years ago from Manchester U.K.

      Thanks Jane

      Will link back to you to.


    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 8 years ago from Oregon

      Nice job! Thanks-- I appreciate you taking my suggestions so well, and I think it really improved the quality of this hub! I will put links to this hub in some of my decorating hubs!


    • 2Tony profile image

      Tony Casey 8 years ago from Manchester U.K.

      Thanks Jane

      I'll give it two coats of looking at and get back.


    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 8 years ago from Oregon

      Hi Tony,

      Great content, and I think it will be very helpful for my readers! However, I'm a little hesitant to link your article to mine at this point because of some typos and grammar/usage inconsistencies in this article, which made it difficult to understand at some points. I'd be happy to put a link to yours from my article if you polish it up a bit!


    • StanBlack profile image

      StanBlack 8 years ago from London

      Pretty good article. Right balance of content in it I think.