In this packet you’ll find all the resources and how-to's you need to take your DIY interior painting project from start to finish! We’ve compiled links, videos, and expert tips organized stage-by-stage of the painting process, from choosing the right materials, prepping the room, tips on painting windows and trim, and more!
General How-To Guides
If you’re looking for a general overview to get you started, or have a pretty good idea of what you’re doing but are looking for some guidelines, “THE MANUAL” from Back Drop provides a bare-bones, easy to read and to-the-point breakdown.
For a more detailed step-by-step walk through, Budget Dumpster has published a “DIY Painting” guide that includes tips from experts and how to choose certain materials.
If you’re ready to get deep into the details, professional painter and author of Watching Paint Dry, John Burbidge, has written this extensive, paragraph-form 5-step guide including videos at each step.
STEP 1: Prepping the Room
To get an overall idea of how it’s done, watch this 2-minute video by FrogTape. When you’re ready to get to it, Better Home & Gardens breaks room prep down to six steps with these tips to help you get started properly on your painting project. Both of these encourage you to use painters tape, which is a “hot debate” in the paint world.
TO TAPE OR NOT TO TAPE? There are definitely two schools of thought on using painter’s tape. It can help with straight lines, but often it can also have leak-through creating a problem you don’t realize until you peel the tape off and it’s already dry. If the paint you have taped over hasn’t cured yet, it can also peel off the paint it’s covering. Instead of taping, many painters instead recommend very careful “cut-ins” using a brush. Purdy defines “cutting-in” as “the art of drawing a straight line, separating two colors using only the paint brush - no masking tape or other aid. You often see it at the edge where a wall color is cut into a different ceiling color.” Check here for tips on “cutting-in”, and for a demonstration, Check out Rosetown Painting’s Rose Mazzola who is a pro with edges.
Pro-Tip: “You'll find that paint goes on better and operations run more smoothly when you put in time upfront to prep the room. The three key steps are to start with a clean slate, allow plenty of elbow room, and create perfectly patched surfaces.” - Better Home & Gardens, How to Prep A Room for Paint
WHAT TO DO WITH WALLPAPER: If the room you’re painting has wallpaper, make sure you’re making an informed decision about whether to remove or paint over it by checking out this article by How Stuff Works. Removing wallpaper can be a tedious, messy job, but if you do decide to strip it, check out this overview video by For Dummies, then Family Handyman has this guide with tips and videos to make the process a little simpler.
Pro Tip: When removing wallpaper backing, “use an old, very flexible metal spatula or putty knife with rounded corners to scrape the backing and remaining facing off the wall. Don’t use the spatula too aggressively—the drywall might be soft in spots and scraping too hard can easily gouge it.” - How to Remove Wallpaper, Family Handyman
STEP 2: Choosing Primer, Paint, & Brushes
Choosing the right materials is essential to making sure your painting project is both professional-looking and durable. Hunker can help you determine whether or not it’s necessary to prime your walls first, and this article by Family Handyman will help you decide which kind of primer is best for you based on your wall’s issues and needs.
Next, it’s time to decide what kind of paint you’ll be using, and choose between oil & latex-based paints, as well as between flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss finishes. House Beautiful gives this run-down of the pros and cons of different finishes, and you can find a photo gallery comparison of them here at HGTV.
Finally, for the best results, be conscious of the brushes you use for each job and part of a wall. Sherwin-Williams breaks down the differences between the cut, angle, size, and material of different brushes and their uses here.
Pro Tip: “A good-quality brush holds more paint and applies it more evenly, which can save you time and help you get the results you want.” - Sherwin-Williams, Choosing the Right Brush
STEP 3: Calculate How Much Paint You’ll Need
Use and compare results between the online calculators below to determine just how much paint to buy. You’ll need the measurements of each of the walls you plan to paint, as well as a count of the number of windows and doorways.
STEP 4: Painting!
Finally, now that your room is prepared and you’ve got all the materials you need, you’re ready to get started painting! You’ll be primarily painting with a roller, but you will need brushes for edges and corners.
First, look to This Old House for tips on proper paint brush technique. Then, If you’re painting the entire room including the ceiling, it’s best to start with the ceiling; you can find great tips for painting ceilings here by Dunn-Edwards Paint. It tends to be easier for beginners to move on to the walls before the trim and after the ceiling; you can find a walkthrough with Howcast’s tips for wall painting here. Finally, tackle your windows and trim by following this sequence and guide by This Old House.
If you’ve decided to forgo the painter’s tape and hand paint the edges, Chris Berry “the Idaho Painter” shares some tips and how-to’s in this video on the LRN2DIY channel.
Where to Purchase Paint:
Right now, if you’ve got paint on hand at home, that’s the best paint to use!
Many stores are closed or have adjusted hours during this COVID-19 Pandemic. We recommend carefully following safety guidelines to ensure you are not spreading the virus, and making sure you are abiding by any orders or procedures in place. As of April 9th, Michigan’s new stay-at-home order has required retail stores like Home Depot to close their paint section, flooring section, and outdoor gardening centers, however some of these
The Spruce has compiled a list of the ten top interior paint brands with rankings, pros and cons, and reviews.
When it becomes safe to hire out for non-essential home renovation and if after reading all this you aren’t planning on painting yourself, check out our online list of painting contractors!
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