DIY Painting Tips For Beginners

When painting walls, a good quality paint brush is essential. Choose brushes with nylon bristles for water-based paints and natural-bristled for oil based paints.

Invest in a bright work light to make it easier to see the work area you are doing and to check your progress. Also, buy a couple of extra clean buckets so you can mix same-colour paint from different cans to ensure colour uniformity.

1. Prepare the Surface

No matter how much experience you have with a brush or how many online painting classes you’ve attended, there are some basic painting tips that will always help. Taking the time to properly prep a space is critical, as is knowing how to store paint, cover surfaces and use brushes effectively.

For example, it’s best to cover floors and furniture before beginning any home painting project. Plastic drop cloths are inexpensive and easy to use, or you can buy canvas ones that last a lifetime. Plastic sandwich bags secured with tape can also protect hardware like doorknobs.

It’s also smart to test out the color you plan on using on a poster or small piece of cardboard before applying it to your wall. The color can look different under different light conditions, and a little experimentation will prevent any surprises later on. You can also buy a paint pen that allows you to load it with a drop of your chosen color for touchups later on.

2. Mix the Paint

Before starting to paint, it’s a good idea to mix your paint. This gives it a more uniform consistency and helps the color set. It also helps prevent you from having to shake your paint, which is a common mistake that many beginners make.

It’s also helpful to practice mixing colors on your palette or on a piece of paper. This will help you understand what your painting will look like when it’s finished. For example, you might find that adding red to a yellow creates an orange or that adding white makes it lighter.

When you’re ready to start painting, be sure to cover your floors and furniture with drop cloths. This will save you a lot of cleanup later. It’s also a good idea to have plastic sandwich bags handy, so that you can protect doorknobs and other hardware. It’s also a good idea, when possible, to use acrylic paint instead of craft paint.

3. Apply the Paint

Using paint rollers for walls is fast, but you must be careful not to overdo it. Trying to cover too much wall at one time can cause ridges and make the finish look unnatural. Start at the top and work your way down, covering about a 3- to 4-foot-square area at a time.

Always check the color in different lighting. This will help you see how it will appear once dry, and in the presence of sunlight and shadows. Also, if you can, test the paint on a piece of scrap or white poster board first, rather than directly on your wall.

Stir your paint thoroughly every time you open a can. This helps prevent the colors and additives from separating, making it easier to blend them. Also, be sure to store your paint properly – not with the lid off — as this will degrade its quality over time. Also, storing brushes with their bristles facing down will misshape them and make it difficult to create neat brushstrokes.

4. Wait for the Paint to Dry

A good tip for beginners is to invest in a bright work light to help you see your painting better. This will make it less likely that you miss a spot when applying paint, especially in areas that are hard to reach.

Different types of paint dry at different rates. A latex paint will feel dry to the touch after about an hour and can be re-coated in four hours, while oil paints take six hours or more before they’re ready for a second coat.

Also, cheaper quality paints will darken as they dry, whereas professional grade paint will stay lighter. This is why it’s important to practice your blending skills on scrap paper or inexpensive paints before you try them on your actual painting. This way, you won’t end up with a muddy mess on your final masterpiece! Also, don’t forget to wait the recommended time for recoats as specified on the paint can.

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