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Interior Painting Tips

Let's face it, painting is tedious, messy business but we do it anyway because it protects our walls, cabinets and furniture. Giving the interior of your home a new glossy (or matte) finish is essential to the upkeep and appeal of your home, but properly executed painting projects should be given the time and planning it deserves. So, here are our top tips on surviving a painting project.

Sampling and Testing

Go down to your local paint store and get some small cans of samples, some brushes and and some squares. The store can mix these sample paint colors for you if you ask them. For each room you want to paint, create 5 or 6 closely related but different shades of you color and hold them up on the wall. Invite a friend to come help you by offering a second opinion, because you really really want to get this right the first time. There are fewer things more frustrating than finishing a pain job only to realize that you picked the wrong color. There are various online tools you can use by uploading photos of your room. Obviously this approach won't work with furniture, but it will for cabinets. If you're unsure about it, keep trying new ideas and samples. This isn't a race.

Preparation and More Preparation

They say prep is the most important part of a paining project, and that's be cause it is. You're going to need plastic covers, tape, rollers, brushes, sand paper, scrapers, blades, screw drivers, drills and probably a few other items. Take you time getting your job prepped, you'll thank yourself later. Clean and sand surfaces with a fine sandpaper so that any loose paint or bumps on the surface get smoothed out.

Water or Oil Based?

Opinions on this have changed over the years, and most DIYers like water or latex based paint because it is easier to apply, doesn't give off a strong odor, is easier than oil to clean up, and offers the same level of quality and protection. Water based paint is suitable for general painting for walls and ceilings. Oil or acrylic based paint is messy, smells very strong, is hard to clean if it gets on the wrong surface, is generally more difficult to apply and takes longer to dry. But, many experience decorators and painters will tell you that in some cases, it is worth the trouble to use oil. Those cases are:

  1. When you're applying paint to an older layer of oil paint. A new coat of oil based paint will will adhere better to an existing layer of old oil based paint.
  2. You've got a new piece of wood furniture with no finishing, that requires extra protection and appeal. Oil and acrylic pain will last longer and provide long and better protection over the years.
  3. Any item you really want to paint only once. Oil based paint is more durable than water based paint.

Application

Always choose the right brush or roller for your pain job. While it might not sound very important, the brush and roller you use are key to getting the final finish you want. For walls and ceilings you'll be using water based paint, so use rollers and brushes designed for water based paint. The same principle applies for trim and oil based paint, though you'll pay more for oil paint brushes. Ask your paint store if you have questions about what to use.

Clean-Up

As we mentioned in the beginning of this guide, proper preparation will help you cut down on excessive clean-up. Paint inevitably gets on surfaces where it doesn't belong, and if it's water based, cleaning it up won't be too much trouble. But if you've done your prep work correctly, unwanted drip and marks should be minimal. One of the reason oil paint isn't used much anymore is because of its toxicity and threat to environment. Depending on where you live, there are recycling and disposal options for leftover paint and chemical. Here is more information about the proper disposal of hazardous household waste (HHW) from the EPA. Or, even better donate your excess supplies to a local charity. They'll appreciate the donation and you'll feel better about the impact you project has on landfills and the environment.

Summary

Take your time in planning for and preparing for your indoor painting project. You'll love the results, hopefully stay withing your budget, and enjoy your newly renovated living space.

 

How to Paint Outdoor Pots

Potted flowers add interest and life both indoors and out, but you make them pop even more with this easy DIY paint idea. Here’s how to paint outdoor pots and add some extra charm to your flower displays.

Skill Level: Novice

Time: 24-48 hours (including primer, paint and polyurethane drying times)

Cost: Less than $50

TOOLS AND MATERIALS

  • Norcal 10-inch terracotta flower pot
  • Primer made for terracotta (or another appropriate primer, depending on the material of your pot)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • 1-inch painter’s tape
  • Hobby knife
  • Paint brush
  • Artist’s brush
  • Exterior paint or project paint
  • Exterior water-based polyurethane (if using your pot outside)

 

Step No. 1
Prime the pot with a primer that is appropriate for the material of your pot. Follow the instructions on the primer container. Once the primer has dried, create a harlequin pattern on your pot. Draw the pattern in pencil using measuring tape, or you can purchase ready-made stencils in the paint department of your local home improvement or paint store.

 

Step No. 2
Tape off the lines with painter’s tape. Trim off the excess tape with a hobby knife.

 

Step No. 3
With a paintbrush, paint over the tape to create your diamond pattern. Don’t use too much paint, though, or it will bleed through the tape.

 

Step No. 4
Once the paint is dry, switch the tape to the outside of the pattern, and then fill it in with an artist’s brush.

Step No. 5
Simply remove the tape, touch up any imperfections and enjoy! If you plan to set the pot outside, seal it with water-based, exterior-grade polyurethane. Use two or three coats for extra protection.

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5 Great Ways to Kill Your Houseplants

Poor, innocent houseplants. African violets brighten our tabletops, English ivies freshen the air in our living rooms. And Peace lilies (Spathiphyllums) decorate dark corners.

What do we do in return for the beauty and pleasure they give us? We kill them.

Not intentionally, of course. Sometimes we neglect them. Other times we’re guilty of loving them to death, giving them more attention (usually water) than they require. Still others starve to death from lack of fertilizer, or slowly strangle in outgrown pots.

Death by brown thumb is never a pretty sight. Here are the top five most common way to commit planticide -- and how to avoid it in the future.

Step 1: Overwater.
We mean well when we water that new cactus every single day and twice on Saturdays. Overwatering is an easy trap to fall into, and it’s probably the No. 1 cause of houseplant murder. Few plants can survive constantly soggy roots, so wait until the soil in the pot feels slightly dry before you give your plant a refreshing drink. After the water drains through the pot, dump any excess from the plant’s saucer. If you can’t get the hang of how often you should water, it’s worth investing in an automatic indoor watering system. Bonus: The system will pinch-hit for you while you’re on vacation, so you won’t come home to find a desert landscape on your windowsill. Tumbleweeds aren’t a good look for anyone.

Step 2: Keep Your Plants In Their Original Pots. Forever.
Remember how you kept outgrowing your shoes when you were young? You’re not wearing the same tennis shoes you had in high school, so remember that plants are also living, growing things. After a while, they’ll outgrow the pots they came in. Don’t let them become root bound. Once a year, lift your plants out of their pots and check their roots. Have the roots grown into a tightly wound ball? If so, gently knock off the soil and unwind them. Then replant, using a slightly larger pot and fresh soil. 

Step 3: Give Your Plants Direct Sun.
Plants need light to grow, so the more the better, right? Not quite. It’s not healthy for people to be exposed to direct sunlight all day every day, and it’s not good for most houseplants either. Read the tags that come with your plants. If they need a southern exposure, give them a sunny window, but don’t place them close to the glass, where soaring temperatures can burn them. If your plant likes low light, try a north-facing window. Many other houseplants will enjoy an eastern exposure, where the light is typically bright but cool.

Step 4: Put Up With a Few Pests.
You might have to put up with a pest in the office cubicle next to you, but don’t let things get out of hand at home. A few bugs can multiply quickly and spread to the rest of your indoor plant collection, so go ahead and treat a problem when you spot it. Try knocking the pests off with a gentle spray of water from the kitchen faucet, or check with your local nursery for the right plant spray for your problem.

Step 5: Never Fertilize.
While it’s true that houseplants grow more slowly than most outdoor plants, watering will eventually cause the nutrients to leech out of the soil. Replace them with a houseplant fertilizer made especially for indoor growing conditions. You can use a diluted, water-soluble fertilizer, applied each time you water, or convenient fertilizer stakes that you insert into the soil (check your local plant store).

Easy Project Ideas - What To Do With Leftover Paint

An easy project idea is using a bulk of leftover paint to spruce up your home with some color? These five easy paint project ideas (plus some bonus inspiration) will give your leftover paint some purpose -- and give a room a fresh look to boot. (One gallon = 4 quarts or 8 pints.)




 

Paint project idea No. 1: Use a full gallon of leftover paint to …
Create an interesting wainscoting effect by painting the lower half of the wall around a room with a contrasting or complementary hue. Use painter’s tape to make a clean line, or use a rag or dry brush to blur the edges between the two colors for a funkier, more artistic finish.


 

 

Paint project idea No. 2: Use a couple of quarts of paint to …
Rehab old wooden or metal furniture. Keep an eye out for wood rockers, kitchen chairs, vintage bureaus, washstands or small tables at flea markets and yard sales. With a fresh coat of paint, these pieces can be a simple way to add personality to a room.




Paint project idea No. 3: Use a quart of paint to …

Paint the inside of a cabinet, armoire, closet or even drawers for an unexpected pop of color when the doors are opened. Bonus: Using a light color makes it easier to see into the back corners.


 

Paint project idea No. 4: Use a pint or two of paint to …
With painter’s tape and a ruler, create a graphic mural of squares, rectangles or triangles. Also try painting square wood panels to add a pop art element to any room.


 

Paint project idea No. 5: Use remnants of leftover paint to …
Unleash your inner artist. Use the remnants of a can of paint to make a few bold strokes on craft paper or poster board. Or try your hand at spin art using a spin art machine. Sign and frame!

Want more fun DIY paint project ideas? Try these! If you have …

A gallon of paint:

  • Paint an accent wall to act as a focal point for a room or define a space.
  • Brighten a narrow or dark hallway with a vivid hue.

A quart or two of paint:

  • Paint a 4-inch-wide chair rail around a room to create an accent. (The rule of thumb is to paint it about one-third of the way up from the floor.)
  • Paint a faux headboard for your bed. Keep it simple with a rectangular shape, or add drama with an elegant arched top.

A pint or two of leftover paint:

  • Paint the inside of a metal medicine cabinet with a bright, cheery hue.
  • Paint just the drawer facades of a bureau for an unexpected pop.
  • Paint the edges of a bookcase to add definition and make a bold, visual pattern.
  • Create a simple stencil to make a frame around an inset shelf or niche.
  • Freshen up the frame of an old mirror.
  • Coat the inside of clear glass bottles, vases or jars with paint to make glossy, colorful decorative accessories.

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