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cans of paint in different colors

Painting Tips


Fill nail holes and wall dents with salt and cornstarch. Mix equal parts together and add a few drops of water to make a paste. The stiffer you make the paste, the fewer drips you will get.

Nail holes and wall dents can be filled with a mixture of white carpenter's glue and baking soda. Mix them to make a paste.

Although white toothpaste will fill nail holes just fine, it has been reported to attract ants.

Remove old paint from metal cabinet hinges and handles easily by boiling them in an old pot of water for about 15 minutes. The paint will peel right off.

Remove switchplates before painting. You can use the back of one in each room to record the date you painted and the name of the paint color.


A cheap brush will cost you more in fix-ups, headaches and time than you save over a good brush.

Don't dip your brush too deeply into paint. Getting paint up into the metal area of the handle will shorten the life of the brush. This is also true of the paintbrushes you buy for art supplies.

Switchplates can be painted the same color as the walls so they blend in. But, they should be removed, painted, then put back on or they will be "glued" to the wall. An emergency removal after this could pull paint off the wall.

To make painting along baseboard areas much quicker and easier, sit on a skateboard so you can roll instead of slide or crawl from one spot to another.

You can take a break from painting for an hour or days but keep the paint brushes from getting hard by wrapping them in aluminum foil.

Painting concrete steps outdoors can make them very slippery when wet. Prevent this by adding a little sand to the can of paint, or sprinkle some sand over paint that has been sprayed on, before it dries.


Remove  latex paint  from your hands with shaving cream.

Vegetable oil can be used to remove paint from your hands.

After washing out your brushes, use liquid fabric softener to keep them from hardening. Add a cup of liquid fabric softener (or hair conditioner) to a gallon of warm water, dip the brushes into the mixture, then hang them to dry. Rinse out the brushes when before you start painting.

To soften an old paint brush, soak it in hot vinegar overnight. Or, you can bring vinegar to a boil then simmer it with the paint brush in the pot. Check often for softness. Once the brush is soft, wash it in soapy water, then keep it soft by dipping it into the fabric softener and water mixture. Hang the brush to dry. Rinse out the brush when before you start painting.

After Painting

Paint a popsicle stick for each color you are using. This can be taken to stores to help in choosing the right color of pillows, wallpaper, rugs, etc.

After painting, put some paint into an empty baby food jar. You will have enough paint for small touch-ups without having to re-open the can.

For emergency touch-ups or tiny missed spots, wrap a brush full of paint in aluminum foil. This will stay usable for days.

Create a very tight seal in the paint can when you have finished painting to prevent it from getting hard before you use the paint again. Just apply a light coat of the paint in the groove at the top of the can before adding the lid. The can will then be painted shut but can be opened again easily later.

vanilla for paint odor

No More Paint Odor

The smell of paint is not pleasant, and it can stay in a room for days.

Paint without the terrible odor by simply adding a few drops of vanilla extract to each can when you open it. Or, use lemon extract for white paint.

The smell will be gone before you are done stirring the paint. If you stir your cans outdoors, and add the extract outdoors, your rooms won't get the smell of paint in them in the first place.

prevent paint mess

Prevent Paint Messes

For drip-free painting, cut a slit in a paper plate and slip the brush through. Add tape to the back to prevent the plate from slipping off.

Prevent drips when painting chair or table legs by placing a jar lid under each one before painting.

To prevent a messy paint can and spills on the floor, punch several holes in the rim of the can with a large nail. Paint will drip through the holes instead of down the outside of the can. This also cuts down on wasted paint.

To paint without removing doorknobs or hinges, cover them with masking tape, aluminum foil, or Vaseline before painting.

"Wear" a large garbage bag as an apron to protect your clothes while painting. Make slits for your head and arms, then put it on over your head.

Wear a cap while painting to keep your hair clean, or wear a shower cap.

Keep painted cabinet doors from closing and sticking by pounding in a few teeny nails or pins in around the cabinet opening. These can be removed after everything is dry and touched up easily, although they would not show with the door closed.

choosing a ceiling color

Choosing Colors

To make the ceiling seem the same color as the walls, paint it two shades lighter if the ceilings are normal height, and one shade darker for a very tall ceiling. Simply go up or down on the same paint-swatch card.

Darker colors make a room look and feel smaller. You can accentuate a wall by painting it lighter than the others.

The rug or carpeting should not be the same as the wall color. Instead, use a multi-color rug, with one of the colors being the one on the wall.

Buy a pint of paint and put it on a small board or large piece of white cardboard. With the cardboard, you can tape it high on a wall, and a wood board can be leaned against a wall. See how you like your chosen color in daylight and at night. Put the board next to the drapes or your favorite chair, and hang the cardboard next to your favorite artwork.

Certain color combinations set the tone for a room. Medium or dark blue with yellow says "country" even if your furniture is not.

blue painter's tape


Paint straight lines on a wall or around the room by using blue painter's tape, which works much better than masking tape. Even with painter's tape, lines may not be perfectly straight when you paint inside two pieces of tape because paint may seep under the tape.

Let's say the wall will be sage with pink stripes. Paint the wall sage and let it dry. Apply all your tape, then paint a "stripe" of sage along the inside edge of each piece of tape, painting a little onto the tape itself. Once this has dried, it acts as a seal to prevent the pink stripe color inside the pieces of tape from seeping under the tape edges and getting into the sage. So if there was any seepage under the tape, it would be tiny bits of sage onto the area where you already have sage.

Remove the tape before the pink stripe dries, pulling the tape down and slightly toward the pink.

Vertical stripes make a room feel taller. Horizontal stripes make a room feel wider. Even very thin lines can be used to give the appearance of architectural details and make a room much more interesting in look and feel.

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