PAINTING AND DECORATING

Painting looks so easy that it hardly seems necessary to proceed on proper lines, but, if success is to be achieved, we must follow the methods employed by professionals. The amateur will probably first wish to paint the doors and windows, following general decorations. If he is wise, he will decide to give the woodwork two coats of colour, one before the new paper goes on and the second when the paper is up. The first coat should be extended well over the walls where they meet the doors and windows; the paper is hung right up to the woodwork, and the last coat need not be carried quite up to the paper. The woodwork must be washed prior to painting. Put soap powder in a pail of hot water and scrub the surface, taking care to dislodge the dirt from all corners, and supplementing this by rubbing with pumice-stone. When scrubbed the wood must be washed in plain water to remove all traces of soap. It should then be allowed to dry a couple of days before applying the first coat of paint.

Paint can be purchased in tins ready mixed. For the first coat, the paint should be used well thinned out with a little turpentine which can be added and mixed in as necessary.

It is advisable to begin work on the doors. First do the panels, using an up and down stroke.

There is no need to hide all the brush marks with the first coat; the chief aim should be to get an even colour over the whole surface. When painting the panels of a door, the centre uprights are taken in hand first and these are followed by the top, bottom and middle horizontal strips. Here the brush is worked from left to right. Lastly, the two vertical outside sections are covered and these are given up and down strokes. Do not forget to paint the shutting edge of the door. After the doors have been disposed of, the window-frames are done. Be careful to paint right up to the glass panels without going on to them, and pull away the sash cords when dealing with the running-lines of the bottom window-frame, so that the paint can be spread under where they rest. Always remember to examine the window from the outside, to see if any little odd places have been missed. The last portion of the work—the skirting-board and picture-rail— calls for no particular comment.

The second coat of paint is applied in the same manner and order as the first, but no turpentine should be added, and greater care must be taken to hide the brush marks. If they are apt to show, run the brush down and up, or from left to right, as the case may require, and then give a light slanting stroke across the piece just covered. This will have the effect of obliterating streaks and pulling the colour together.

When the job is finished, spend a little time in cleaning the brushes. First squeeze them out with paper, and then wash them out in hot water to which a very little soda is added. Rinse them thoroughly, then shake them and hang them up to dry.

REMEMBER that three coats are needed when the woodwork is in a poor state. If you are using ready-made paints, give all the coats but the last in flat paint, and the last in paint that will dry with a shine—if you want a polished finish; otherwise, keep to the flat throughout. If you are mixing your own paints for the first coat use: White lead, and driers (1 oz. to each pound of lead) plus twice as much linseed oil as turpentine, taking sufficient of these to make the paint reasonably workable. For the second coat, use white lead and driers, as before, with equal proportions of linseed oil and turpentine. For the third coat (if required) use white lead and driers as before, plus one portion of oil to two of turpentine. Add varnish to provide a gloss.

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