10 Tips to Paint Like a Pro!

Paint is one of those things that can make a huge difference in a remodel! And fortunately, it’s one of those things that can be done by most homeowners. However, just because most people CAN do it, doesn’t mean most people do it WELL. In this project tutorial I’ll share with you my 10 DIY Tips to Paint Like a Pro that can help you knock out your next pain project smoothly and professionally.

Follow along with the video above for more detail on each tip.

This project contains affiliate links to the The Home Depot. All opinions are herein are my own. Visit my disclosure page for more information on affiliate and compensation this site accepts. 

#1. Preparation is Essential

Doing adequate preparation is one of those tasks that is essential to a quality result. However, it’s also one of the easiest things to overlook because it takes quite a bit of time. Adequate prep can and should probably take as long or longer than painting itself.

Preparation involves: Patching nail holes and cracks, caulking gaps, protecting floors & furniture, masking, and using drops cloths or plastic to shield off the room from other areas of the house.

#2. Minimize Plastics or Use Thicker/Larger Pieces

This is more of a personal preference than anything but it drives me nuts to see how much plastic people throw away on a simple painting job. I’m a bit of an environmentalist so if I can minimize waste on a project I tend to try to do whatever I can to make it happen. That means I always use 6 mil or thicker plastic and I always try to use it in large sheets so I can save it after the project. I also try to use drop cloths, cardboard, or tarps as much as possible instead of buying additional plastics.

#3. Get the Right Tools

Just because you are a DIYer doesn’t mean you should do things super cheap. You’re saving a lot of money on labor by tackling your own paint project; however, that doesn’t mean you have to make it hard on yourself. If you don’t already have the right tools for the job, go and get them! Either rent or buy the right tools to make your life easier. You’ll be glad that you spent a little extra to save yourself a headache.

#4: Primer Is Your Friend

A quality primer is your best friend and shouldn’t be skipped. If you’re in an older home you may be going over an oil based (or hopefully not lead) paint. Without a quality primer, a water based paint will peel right off without adhesion. Using primer will help create a secure bond between raw wood, previously painted surfaces, raw drywall, etc. Not to mention that primer is cheaper than paint and adding a coat of primer typically cuts down on the amount of paint you’ll need to apply.

#5: Don’t Cheap Out on Painter’s Tape

I try not to rely heavily on painter’s tapes for a few reasons. #1.) It’s wasteful (and I’m a bit of a hippie) and #2.) It lulls you into a false sense of security and encourages you to get sloppy. When using tapes, I always like to reach for FrogTape over the traditional Blue tape. It adheres better and creates a tight seal on the edges keeping the paint from getting a muddied/blotchiness when you peel it off. If you have to touch up all the edges after you’ve peeled the tape off then it hasn’t saved you any time. Use it sparingly and…

#6: Learn to Cut In Properly

Follow along with the video to see what I mean by this. I place the heel of the brush about an inch from the cut edge and then fan the brush towards the cut edge until I get there. Then I go up and down along the edge with the knife edge of the brush and feather the finish out a few inches away from the cut edge. (Makes more sense if you just watch the video)

#7. Roll Towards the Roller Handle

Always roll in the direction of the roller handle. The handle side applies pressure (and thus paint) to the wall. As it goes outwards towards the end, the pressure is diminished meaning it feathers the finish naturally. This will help you get nice feathered finishes without paint lines. Work in about 24″ sections at a time going up and down the wall.

#8. Label Your Paint Cans

If you have any leftover paint at the end of a job, make sure you label the room you used it for. It’s not always easy to remember which paint is which when you’re digging through paint cans in the shed. Labeling your paint cans helps you keep things organized. You can also take a picture of the label or write down the name of the paint shade on the label as well. Over time the ink from the store labels fades away so if you have to buy more of that shade, it can be hard to remember the name. Writing it down or having a picture reference helps immensely.

#9. Clean Your Brushes (and Rollers) Properly

Follow along with the video to see how I like to clean (and store) my brushes. To do it properly, I like to use a painter’s tool or brush comb and work away from the handle. Tilt the brush away from you in the sink or running water and let the water run towards the bristle ends. Use the comb to work between the fibers until everything runs clear and the brush fibers move freely. Store the brush in the original packaging or make a newspaper sleeve to keep them lasting a long time.

#10. Re-Use Your Materials

Not only am I a bit of a hippie, but I’m also cheap! Re-using materials can save you a lot of money! I like to store all my paint supplies in large tubs so I always have my stuff in one place. If you clean things well you can re-use almost everything from one job to the next which will save you a ton of money in the long run.

So that’s it for this tutorial! I hope you enjoyed these 10 Tips to Paint Like a Pro and hope they help you get a killer result on your next DIY painting project. If you liked it, please leave a comment on the video and let me know. Or feel free to share it with a friend who might find it helpful.

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