I cannot offer advice to the budding artist, or even professional help to those with household painting projects, but I am offering what I learned. My goal was to paint table-like project made of plywood and 2x4's.

First, make sure to wear junk clothes (or just plain underwear or nothing at all if you don't mind paint on your skin) and use a drop-cloth to cover the floor, walls, furniture and other surrounding objects.

Second, make sure you have the appropriate tools, including a paint-tray, paintbrush, and paint-roller if you will be painting large areas.

I chose to paint the legs first, so I laid the table top-side down (on the drop-cloth of course). I then could sit in the middle and paint the legs (with the brush, because 2x4's are mostly too small for the roller). I made sure to paint the edges of the table-top because the paint helps to seal the wood (which will prevent later warping and slivers.)

I decided to let it dry before turning it over and painting the top side. That was a bad idea. As the paint dried around the edges, all of it that had dripped down served to glue the table to the drop-cloth. When I tried to turn the table over, I found that I had to peel away the paint and drop-cloth that were sticking together. After I eventually got the table turned over, there was a lip of paint running around all of the edges that had seeped underneath while it was still upside down. My sister and I had to use a putty-knife and sand-paper to remove as much as possible of that paint before I could paint the top.

My advice would be to set the table on blocks of wood while it is upside-down so that the paint on the edges will not act as glue on the drop-cloth or bubble unattractively.

It is also very important that any drops of paint (or drips of paint) be smoothed down before they dry. If a drop of paint dries, it will be a bump on your finished project, even if you try to paint over it.

If you are stuck doing a painting job in a garage or other hot area of the house, try to paint early in the morning when it is not too hot. I found that sweat which drips into the paint does not help it's consistency.

Using a fan to beat the heat is not necessarily a good idea as it can blow dust and dirt into the paint, which is difficult to remove without ruining what you have already done.

If you have long hair I definitely recommend pulling it back to keep it out of the way. I got some white paint in my hair and my family kept asking when I had gone grey.

Most people's experiences with painting pictures are brief, and frequently occur at school. Bizarrely popular has been the painting of models, and I confess is something I do myself. Perhaps this is because there are set criterea for what is "good" and "bad" when it comes to miniature painting, whereas canvas painting is intensely subjective. If you're interested in miniature painting, look at the node Miniature Painting Techniques.


Mid-August day, Hudson, Ohio, 35 miles south of downtown Cleveland. One story barn, stalls for five horses, decent size attic or loft or what-have-you. Paintbrush in hand.

I had spent the summer painting houses - long days, lousy conditons... and in the end, lousy pay - and this was different.

The job seemed to be good, or at least to have the potential for good pay, at first, and it was a job. But due to a bit of malice and a lot of incompetence, the checks were less. A lot less. The temperature was hot... too many 90 degree plus days. Painting in too many suburbs without trees. Doing jobs that were mostly detail work but that were supposed to be done fast.

Spraying paint, it hurting your eyes, your lungs, putting the dust mask and goggles on when it could no longer be beared. The dust mask was as annoying, the edges soaking with sweat, fast, and the goggles fogged up so quickly... they had to be taken off just to see.

Spraying spraying spraying, covering aluminum and vinylcide... too much trim, too few jobs acutally requiring the painting of a whole house. Tired, aching, dead at the end of the day. Tired of all the stupidity from the boss, waiting for the week to be over. At least I had my mind. Some of the time.

But the painting needs to be done. Someone must.

So I quit. Tired of the bs, I quit. And began working for my aunt and uncle, painting their new barn.

Thick, heavy, oil-based primer, white, vertical board siding... painting painting painting, my arm, hand, sore at the end of the day. But at least there is shade. Decent food. A radio. Cool water. And honesty from my employer.

Then a coat of white latex. Green for the trim. Mush faster. And the job was, well, very close to completed before school started. Gorgeous white barn, deep green trim. And the paycheck I was told I would recieve.


Hiram College. Most nights, this semester. Eight canvases, four by six feet, to be painted by the end of the semester.

I am painting with oils. I have always liked working big, and for my senior show, in December, I wanted to do a set of oil paintings... really test what I could do with the medium... see if this was something I could actually do. The independent study form says 8-12 paintings... and it looks like the actual number will be closer to six.

Messy clothes, a big studio space, photographs from the college nature preserve on my laptop, paints laid out on a pallette, brush in hand, trying to figure out what to do. Broad, sweeping brushstrokes, more slow, precise, as the painting goes on.

The smell of paint thinner, linseed oil, and paint permeates the space. My things are strewn out over too much space, as they tend to be, and the rags are being used up too fast. I thin the paint a bit, and it flows beautifully. And I have color.

Painting. You either have the skill or you don’t. I’m not talking about painting a picture, a bowl of fruit or something. I’m talking about painting a wall. I can see you laughing, painting a wall or a surface is easy you say. It is though, is it really? Slop a bit of paint onto a brush and put it on a wall but does it end there? You can’t use any old paint or brush it has to be done in a certain way. There are all those tricky corners and edge’s that you never quite get perfect and you end up staring at for hours, days even because they just aren’t right. You know what I mean? You’ve had that problem; I can see it in your eyes. So here is a guide of how to paint, to seek perfection with our painting.

Picking a Brush, Pad or Roller

When picking a brush you need to make sure that it is of good quality to avoid the bristles dropping from the brush during painting and this can be infuriating and less economical in the long run as you will need to buy paintbrushes more often. A brush about 200mm (8inches) wide will give you the quickest coverage, but if you are not used to painting your hand will soon tire so a brush of around 150mm (6inches) may suit you better. You may only need a small brush though if you are only planning on painting windows or you have tricky corners and edges to paint you would need a brush as small as 50mm (2inches) to get the accuracy that you need. The size of the brush you pick depends on how comfortable you feel using the brush; you may chose to use a small brush for the whole job if this makes you feel more relaxed. It is all about choice.

If you are picking a roller you need to first think about the surface you are thinking of covering. The average size of a roller is 225mm (9inches) but there are other smaller sizes for different jobs. The sizes that are available to buy are subject to what the store chooses to sell. There are a number of different sleeves to pick for your roller all depending on the look you are hoping to achieve. Longhaired sheepskin and synthetic-fibre sleeves are excellent if you are hoping to achieve a texture wall or look – these work particularly well with emulsion paint, as it is water-soluble. However, choose a shorter pile if you would like to achieve a smooth surface with a gloss or satin paint. Disposable sleeves are also available if you are thinking of using a specialist paint and do not want it to stain your other sleeves however, they seen lose their resilience and skid across the wall.

Paint pads for large surfaces have flat, rectangular surfaces and are 200mm (8inches) in size. However, the exact size of your pad depends on the brand you choose to buy as different brands vary the size of their pads. Paint pads are generally covered in short mohair giving a smooth, neat finish to your surface. To help you to produce a good finishing look you will need to use a small pad of around 100mm (4inches) or you may choose to use a small brush as this maybe simpler then buying many different sized pads.

Preparing a Brush

The type of brush that you pick to paint with really does depend on the job you are hoping to complete with it. If you are planning on painting walls or ceilings you will need a brush 100mm (4inches) or wider in size, your brush will need to be much smaller for door and window frames at 25 - 75mm (1 – 3inches) in width. Wider brushes are best for larger jobs where the surface is smooth and easy to cover, a small, artist's brush would be more suitable for tricky corners and such tasks.

Flicking Bristles and Loading Your Brush

Flick bristles against your hand to shake any debris of paint that could have been left on the brush from previous painting tasks. If the brush is new this will give the brush chance to lose any lose bristles that could fall into the fresh paint and go directly on to your surface.

Dip the brush straight into the paint covering no more than a third of the brush. Remove the excess paint but dabbing on to the side of the tin of paint or whatever you are holding the paint in during your task. However, do not scrap it over the rim as this will just make the task messier than it actually needs to be.

Using a Roller

Roller sleeves are available in various ranges of widths, textures and materials. Foam and mohair pile sleeves are good for coating large, flat areas whereas deep-pile synthetic and lamb's wool sleeves are ideal for applying paint to textures or rough unprepared surfaces. Before using a roller on the wall you will need to prepare the walls and most of all the edges and corners of windows and doorframes. To prevent the paint from splattering when applying you will need to use thin coats of the colour, this could be eased by only putting a little amount into a roller tray.

Filling Your tray, Loading Your Roller, Applying the Paint and Laying Off

Make that the tray you are intending on using is clean, the same goes for the roller too. Before you start to paint you will need to thoroughly clean both utensils and then dry before pouring the paint into the tray. Emulsion is very suitable to be used with a roller because it is water soluble whereas oil-paint is a little harder as it cannot not be easily removed from the roller or tray when your job is finished.

Slide the sleeve into the cage and rub your hand over it to check that it is clean then dip it into the paint. Roll it up and down the incline of the tray, spreading the paint thoroughly over the sleeve of the roller, covering it all. Push the roller up and down the wall, and from side to side, making sure you are using random strokes and spreading the paint evenly over the wall not letting the roller slide on the surface causing uneven marks on your walls. Lift off on an upward stroke and reload. Move to an adjacent area and roll over the wet areas to blend the paint.

Using a Paint Pad

Paint pads, like rollers, are tools for applying water-based paints to large areas - such as walls. They are available in many different shapes and sizes and can be used on a varied number of surfaces - textured surfaces, wood and metalwork. You can use oil-paints on paint pads but the solvents to clean off oil-paints could damage the sponge on the paint pad.

Loading Pad and Applying Paint

Put the paint into the paint pad trough (or you can use a roller tray), dip the pad into the paint so the tip of the pad is covered in paint. The pad must be fully loaded but not submerged in paint... Check that the pad is not overloaded before apply to the surface, you can always get rid of excess paint on the pad trough. Rub the loaded paint pad in various directions over the wall. You will need to experiment to find out what type of pressure you need to apply the paint without causing a drip. The difference to a roller is that it will need to be reloaded more often, some find this a nuisance but a pad is generally easier to work with when painting a large surface.

Applying Emulsion

Emulsion is easy to use and can be applied with a paintbrush, roller or paint pad. Emulsion provides a water resistant finish and can be bought in both matt and silk finishing. Unlike other paints it is fast drying so it is important to amply the paint quickly to avoid any shading or discolouring on your walls. Work so that a wet edge is maintained, allowing one paint area to emerge dry as the other one is just finished being covered. Painting is all about timing.

Beginning and Laying off

Dust the surface you are set to paint on. You should start your painting near a natural light source, either at the top or corner of the wall near a window as this will give you a clear view of where you are painting and will help you to avoid missing any parts of the wall due to shadows. Grip a large brush around the handle and work in areas of around 60cm in order to paint evenly.

Smooth the already painted area with a light criss-cross action with your paintbrush. Then finish with a gentle upward stroke known as 'laying off' and then move quickly to an adjacent area remembering not to apply the paint to thickly as this could cause the paint to run - which is not the effect we are currently trying to achieve. Wait until the paint is thoroughly dry before applying subsequent coats, you should leave it to dry for at least half a day.

Applying Oil-Based Paint

Oil paints are available to buy in gloss, eggshell and flat finishes and they produce a durable and waterproof coating. They must be applied carefully and in layers, if applying to wood they will need to start with a primer and finish with one or more topcoats. Whilst painting with oils you should keep the room well ventilated, opening windows and closing doors to stop fumes spreading. Oil-Paints have strong and potentially dangerous fumes so ventilation precautions must be taken.

Applying Vertical Strokes, Joining Strokes and Finishing

Begin by applying vertical, parallel lines of paint that are not directly next to each other - leave gaps of around an inch. Work in areas of 30cm (6inches) in order to get accuracy and use a small, pen-like brush and hold steadily. When the brush is out of paint, do not reload it but work quickly across the vertical lines from the top, creating horizontal bands to cover the area. Lightly brush in the vertical movements over the now wet paint and then immediately reload the brush. Move to the next area adjoining the wet edges for a smooth blending of colour all over the painting surface.

With thanks too:

  • The D.I.Y Manual.
  • My Mother and her brilliant painting (or not).
  • My old, weird art teacher. You rocked!
  • If a man's to live in true happiness, he needs above all a home in which he can have pride. ~ Simonides of Ceos

    To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. ~ Sir Winston Churchill

    Painting a room can be daunting even in perfect conditions. The process can be doubly arduous without a clear plan. Here are some supplemental basics should you be undertaking a first serious painting job and you’re not entirely sure where to begin.

    Colour, Shade and Light

    Now clearly picking the right paint is pivotal. Having concluded things want sprucing, you’re about to commit considerable time, treasure and toil. You’ll need to get to your paint store and give all those colour wheels a once over. Swipe as many colour strips as you feel compelled to. Try to stick to the high-end flavours – only because throwing in a few extra bills on this end will save you heartache. Paint quality – how it smells, sticks, looks and lasts – degrades seriously if you cheap out here. You can arguably skimp on all the other gear: use newspapers rather canvas drop cloth, bust out those old mangy brushes, go with vinegar and hot water for washing. Quality paint is non-negotiable.

    Next, you’ll need to bring home those colour strips and see what they look like in your house with your stuff. Gradation of shade and tint can be pretty subtle. Not something you want to guess at or hedge about with a tired hardware clerk under fluorescent lighting. In the room you intend to paint, check the colours against the existing walls, flooring, trim, curtains, etc. and preferably in the lighting conditions that room tends to see most. Baseboards, fixtures or windowsills will need a complimentary shade, typically one lighter than what you’ve selected for the walls (unless you’re just going white).

    Now let us say all this is decided – shades, tints and finishes have been worked out, you’ve actually bought your paint and brought it home. The last hurdle is to test it on the wall. What you do not want is to spend an entire day laying on a mellow tone that looks perfect on paper, only to find for some reason it dries to a headache-inducing glare. Put a nice sized square on one wall and let it dry a few hours. If you return and it’s looking fine, we can get underway.

    Some Thoughts On The Job
    1. If you can, clear the room completely. Ideally, there should be nothing in there but you and your gear with a tarp on the floor. Unless you’ve been graced with tentacles, painting around things like bookcases, televisions and chesterfields will only damage them, strain you and throw off the end result.
    2. Sand your baseboards and trim with some coarse-grain sandpaper. Stay cool and no need for power tools. The goal is not to remove all the paint or expose wood, but simply a degree of roughness for the new coat to glom onto.
    3. Use masking tape sparingly, where it makes sense to get an even line but don’t go overboard. Tape will pull up your nice new coat of paint as often as keeping it straight. Trust your eye, keep steady and you shouldn’t need too much taping.
    4. Painting over dirt or dust will look sloppy, mess up your brush and is just icky on principle. Wash all surfaces well and give some time to drying.
    5. Painting at night or in low light can be tricky as you might miss spots where you roll uneven or the surface isn’t uniform. With a nice high wattage lamp you can pick this out.
    6. Remove all switch and socket plates.
    7. Keep a cloth and bucket handy for drips and streaks.
    8. Paint in clothing you’d burn without thinking twice.
    9. Coffee and chocolate, not beer and chips, are ideal fuel.
    10. Keep the music momentous and so too shall you have. *

    If you’re painting over a darker colour, particularly on trim or baseboards, you’ll likely need a primer coat to get a streak-free, solid look. This is where you’ll want to start.

    Then you’ll want to do the “cutting in” while that dries – that is painting with a brush all the corners, edges and joins that cannot be reached with a roller. Start high, where wall meets ceiling and go all the way around the room. Then work your way down, brighten the corners so to speak, and then end along the trim. Three to four inches bands should give you the clearance you need to use roller with ease. Go smooth but generous with the paint at this stage, with nice even strokes. This way it will blend right in once you roller over most of it. Don’t fuss too much at this stage, as it may need another coat anyway.

    You can then revisit the trim with a second coat if a few drying hours have passed. If conditions are warm and dry when you’re painting, this should be adequate. If it’s cold or humid though, you should allow extra time for drying, other wise you’ll literally peel away your first run when you put on the second.

    If you’re going to be doing the ceiling, the next step in the operation will be to screw the handle of your brook stick and onto a roller and get it done. With a roller you want to be applying 3ft. squares, even and one at a time, to achieve an even look. Don’t press overly hard with the roller or it will leave bubble spots and leave the handle on for the walls as the added leverage and reach will save your arms. If the ceiling looks patchy, give it a few hours then apply another coat.

    A second coat over what you cut in before may also be necessary. This time you should be finicky.

    Once this has all dried well, you’re ready to apply the bulk of your paint with roller and handle. With a good job made of cutting in, this will be quick and painless. Two coats light coats will look better as a rule than one heavy one, as no eye is ever perfect or wall perfectly even. Watch the nostalgic daydreaming* and keep the place well ventilated as we’d sooner not have you or the pets go buggy.

    Now it should just be a matter of your trims, sills and baseboards – though they may not need a second coat if the sanding and priming worked out. Then it’s just a matter of cleaning your brushes while oxygen and gravity finish the job.

    * On Painting Music: I did this for a summer job and people I worked with could never agree upon an ideal tempo when it came to painting. Some favoured a little punk to bop along to, though these were the ones who liked playing with nail guns. Others went in for the glam rock, but then typically ended up goofing off or getting in a forklift accident. Personally, my top five painting a room recommends (in chronological order) are Revolver, Here Come the Warm Jets, Ocean Rain, Now I’m A Cowboy and Building Something Out of Nothing.
    * On Maudlin Painting: This invariably creeps up mid-way through the job as painting evokes thoughts associated with other cities, other apartments and other times – particularly if you’re working alone. It may well be a mnemonic side effect of all those fumes. Just keep it together or you’ll glob on the trim. Use the music to counterbalance.

    Paint"ing, n.


    The act or employment of laying on, or adorning with, paints or colors.

    2. Fine Arts

    The work of the painter; also, any work of art in which objects are represented in color on a flat surface; a colored representation of any object or scene; a picture.


    Color laid on; paint.




    A depicting by words; vivid representation in words.

    Syn. -- See Picture.


    © Webster 1913.

    Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.