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cartoon man painting

Here are a few more "tricks of the trade" which may make life easier and/or quicker when undertaking home decorating:-

Whenever you open a tin of paint always put it into a larger container such as an old plastic 10lt paint tub, if you knock over the paint or spill it, it ends up in the larger container. You can also stand your brushes etc in the space between tin and container whilst you have a cup of tea.

When using anaglypta or woodchip paper always start in the middle of the wall, then work towards the corners. Cut into each corner and then run some decorators caulk down the joint. Looks very professional and makes the job much quicker.

Ray Stone

Rob O'Daniel has sent in this very useful tip -

Thought you might want to know that vinegar also makes a great solvent for wallpaper paste.

Just dilute a cup of white vinegar with 2-3 litres of very warm water - as hot as your hands can tolerate - and apply generously with a sponge.  Once you get an edge or corner of the wallpaper to lift, then start working the vinegar solution behind the paper to break down the adhesive.  This process is most effective when you keep your work area very damp - let the warmth of the water and the chemical properties of the vinegar do the work for you.

Rinse your sponge often and mix a new batch of vinegar/water solution when it becomes cool and/or murky.  You'll notice that the fresh batch of solution is far more effective and you'll quickly get a feel for when an old batch is past its usefulness.

Best part of this is that vinegar is very inexpensive and it will not stain or discolor carpeting or other flooring.

Note that red wine or cider vinegar should be avoided because their coloring may cause staining.

A tip for your DIY page: when painting, particularly when using gloss paint, smear Vaseline or a similar oily substance over your hands -- it makes it much easier to wash your hands afterwards.

Al Cale

If you have forgotten to follow the above tip then Becky Gagen may have the answer.

To remove oil-based paint from your skin, rub with some Vicks VapoRub on a cotton wool pad. this is because it contains paraffin. you will smell like a pharmacy but you will have paint free skin!


E. Rimmer suggests another tip for removing paint from hands is to use butter or any of the butter like spreads that go on bread.

When using gloss paint after a while it starts to go thick and is harder to paint with.  Add a generous squirt of any old washing up liquid (i.e. hand dishwashing liquid) to the paint.  Give it a good stir and it will go further, spread better and will not leave brush marks.

Gloria Sykes sent in this gem.

Cut a piece of wire mesh to fit a paint can, drop in and let sink to the bottom, thereby removing all the lumps. 

Courtesy of www.eieihome.com.

"A useful tip if you are painting that door or gate.  Don't be tempted to paint over any door hardware even if you think that painting over it will improve the door's appearance.  This piece of advice is important if the door is fitted with a barrel bolt because the shoot (the part that you slide when you use the device) moves through a very narrow tube.

Some hardware, notably latches and bolts, will become more difficult to operate if you paint over them because the added paint will get in the way of the device's moving parts.   Eventually, in some cases, the lock, latch or bolt will not work at all and be stuck in the position you last left it in."

Thanks to Simon Mackay for this advice.

When you are painting a room and you can "taste" the paint in your mouth from the smell, drink some fizzy lemonade etc this will make you burp and the taste should disappear.

Ann from Ayr

When rubbing down window frames use wire wool on cross members to prevent scratching the glass with sandpaper.

Put a rubber (elastic) band around the paint brush, under the bristles, this prevents paint running down the handle of the brush.

If you put a rubber (elastic) band around the bristles of a paint brush it makes it easier to "cut in" around windows etc.

Put any dirty turps (turpentine) into a screw top jar and leave somewhere safe in a shed etc.  The colour will eventually drop to the bottom of the container leaving clean turps on the top - this can then be used again.

To paint railings etc. use a car mitten.  Put paint on mitten, take off surplus then grip railing with mitt and run hand up and down railing.  Easy, quick and much less tedious than using a brush.

If you have to paint pipes which are fixed to a wall, cut out a piece of cardboard, place this behind the pipes to be painted and then paint in the usual way.  This will prevent any paint getting onto the wall behind.

To make hands easier to clean - before starting the painting rub hands and nails with Vaseline (petroleum jelly).  When painting is finished wash hands with warm water and they will clean easily.

To get rid of the smell of paint add some vanilla essence or perfume to the paint pot and still well.

If you want to paint a wall with emulsion but have no brush or roller, a normal house sponge can be used instead.

If you are going to use a roller again the next day, stand roller on end, press scraper down from top to bottom all round the roller to force out excess paint then place roller in an old plastic bag and tie shut.

To prevent wasting water and time, cover your paint roller tray in a plastic carrier bag before adding paint.  Between coats peel back the bag over the roller this keeps it wet and saves washing.

Andrew Freeman

When using a ladder against painted masonry, put old socks over the end of the ladder to prevent it damaging the stonework.

When taking paper off a ceiling, first put a bin liner over the back of the step ladder into which the paper can be placed as soon as it is removed.  This saves a lot of cleaning up at the end of the day.

When working on a ladder it is important not to over stretch as this can cause nasty accidents.  Always work from the farthest point from you and work inwards.

When painting up a ladder put paint tin into a larger container, your paint brush can then be put into the space around the smaller tin, leaving your hands free.

Never wear slippery soled shoes when working on a ladder.

Remove air bubbles from wallpaper by cutting into the bubble with a sharp blade, then insert some paste into the hold with a syringe and then flatten to the wall.

If sash windows are stiff to open and shut, put candle wax or soap down the side runners.

When cleaning paint off mouldings use a pumice stone soaked in detergent and water to rub along the moulding.  This will clean it out very effectively and the pumice stone will shape to the moulding.  I have not tried this myself but am assured it works - I must admit I would have thought the pumice stone being very hard, would have flattened the moulding.

If you have to repair a damage in wallpaper, use a piece of paper slightly large than the hole* and with a matching pattern to that which has been damaged.  Paste the new piece over the mark matching the pattern exactly.

*Keith Giles has kindly pointed out that in order to get an invisible join it is best to tear the paper being used for the patch instead of cutting to shape with scissors or a knife. Using knives or scissors gives more prominent edges whereas tearing the paper "feathers" the edges which will be less obvious when pasted to the wall. You can try tearing plain paper first just to get the hang of it.

After cleaning paint brushes, wrap the bristles in a piece of folded kitchen roll and let them dry. This way the 'form' of the bristles is retained, instead of fanning out.

Pip Neal

On the subject of cleaning paint brushes, where better to learn than from the professionals so I was delighted to be given permission to reproduce the following from Greens Decorating Contractors Limited which I am sure you will be very useful.

How to clean paint brushes; tips from decorating professionals





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