How to paint like a pro step-by-step

– Remove excess paint from the brush by pressing the bristles against the side of tin or paint kettle.

– Paint two parallel strips working along the direction of the grain.

– Draw the brush across the surface to cover the bare patch.

– Brush the paint film lightly along the direction of the grain for a smooth finish.

– Draw the brush out towards the edge of the surface to avoid a build-up of paint.

Once you have decided which paint to use and have prepared the surfaces properly, you will be ready for the transformation act – putting brush to paint, and changing a drab wall or door into a pristine, colourful surface.

Don’t rush at it! First check your measurements, the can or cans, and the Paint Coverage char , to make sure you have enough paint. If you run out halfway through the job, the new colour could be slightly different. If this does happen, use the new paint on a different wall or at an edge — never use paint from a new batch on a partly-painted surface, where the change in colour could be obvious.

Always read the instructions on the can first, to find out whether the paint needs to be stirred – a traditional oil-based gloss needs very thorough stirring, but a thixo-tropic paint should not be stirred. If, when you open the can, there is liquid on top — like curds and whey, this means the binder has separated out, and you will have to stir this in and leave the paint to re-set into its jelly-like consistency.

If painting with oil-based paint, strain it into a paint kettle through a piece of nylon cut from an old pair of tights. It is wise to do this even if the paint is brand new. Then charge the brush by dipping about one-third of the depth of the bristles into the paint. Lift out and squeeze out any excess paint by pressing the bristles against the side of the kettle or can. With non-drip paint there is no need to do this so long as you have not overloaded the brush.

Work with a flexible wrist, holding the paint brush firmly, but not too tightly. Flex the bristles against the surface, so that the paint flows towards the tip of the brush, allowing you to control the spread of the paint.

Apply the paint in parallel strips, a brush-width apart, working along the direction of the grain. Do not reload the brush, but cover the unpainted area between the strips by drawing the bristles across the grain. Now ‘brush out’ by brushing the paint film lightly along the direction of the grain.

Thixotropic paints should not be brushed out too much, so load the brush to about half the depth of the bristles, and apply the paint fairly thickly along the direction of the grain, without leaving the bare-strip – do not ‘brush out’ across the grain.

To paint a door

This should be painted in sequence, and the paint should be drawn out towards the edge so that you don’t get a build up. The easiest way to paint a door is to take it off its hinges and lay it flat across a work bench or table, or suspended between two chairs, but unhinging it may seem a drastic treatment if you are a first-time decorator. If you leave the door in situ, remember to leave a spindle or stick of wood in the handle hole when you have removed the handles and door furniture, or you could shut yourself inside the room. Flush doors are fairly easy: divide them into 3 or 4 horizontal sections in your mind, start at the top and work down. ‘Lay on’ the paint by making two or three separate down strokes and fill in by cross 97 brushing, drawing the paint out towards the edge so you avoid getting a build up. loin up each section with very light, vertical, upward strokes.

If the door is painted both sides, the general rule is to paint the edge with the hinges to match the closing face of the door, and the edge nearest the handle to match the opening face of the door.

Panelled doors are harder to cope with, but if you paint them in the correct sequence it should not be too difficult. Paint any mouldings first ; then paint the recessed panels ; next paint the centre uprights ; the horizontals, working from top to bottom ; side verticals ; side edges. Some people prefer to paint the frames first, while painting the skirtings, etc. -others prefer to paint them at the same time as the door. If you decide to do this, paint the frames last.

Glazed doors: paint the glazing bars first, using a small brush. Then paint the top and bottom rails and lastly the verticals and edges.

To paint a window

As with doors, if you follow the correct sequence you should manage. One of the worst problems with windows is getting paint onto the glass. The paint film should extend about 2 mm onto the glass in a smooth straight edge, to prevent condensation from seeping into the putty. You can use a cutting-in tool , cut a template from card, or use a paint shield, but the paint often gets onto these and still ends up on the glass. Much the easiest way is to use masking tape. It takes time to stick this in place, but is compensated for by the speed with which you can then paint the window, and by the nice neat edges. Stick the masking tape to the face of the glass, parallel to the glazing bars and at least 2 mm away from the patty or glazing bead. Make sure the tape joins at right-angles to form nice neat corners. Paint the window, and leave until the surface is perfectly dry before removing the tape , but do not leave it on any longer or it may become difficult to remove.

If paint does get splashed onto the glass, the best way to remove it is to rub with the edge of a copper coin. You can also use a razor blade, if it is in a protective holder.

Fixed windows should be painted as for glazed doors. Paint the glazing bars first, then the horizontal parts, then the verticals. Paint the frame last.

Casement windows: first paint the glazing bars ; next paint the cross bars ; then the cross rails ; side verticals and edges , and finally the frame.

Sash windows are usually found in older properties. If the sash cord breaks while you are working it could be dangerous, and if it breaks after the window is painted, you will spoil the new decorations to get at the sash cords, so check the cords for fraying before starting to decorate and, if necessary, repair them. Push the bottom sash up and pull the top sash down. Paint the bottom meeting rail and vertical sections of the top sash as far as you can. Push the window back into the normal position. Paint the rest of the top sash ; paint the rest of the bottom sash ; paint the frame. When the window is dry, paint the runners taking care not to paint the sash cords.

Cutting in

Painting up to an angle or a straight line, as when painting windows, is known as ‘cutting in’ and can be difficult. Use a small easy-to-handle brush, possibly one with slightly worn bristles. Dip in the paint, press the bristles on to the surface at an angle, a few millimetres away from the edge, press a little harder and draw the brush down, parallel to the edge. The bristles will spread out, and if you have a steady hand you will obtain a straight line with the paint spread evenly along. Recharge the brush and repeat until the cutting in is complete.

The principles are the same for painting inside and out, and garage and front doors are painted as internal doors.

Painting walls and ceilings

You will almost certainly be using a water-based paint such as emulsion for this job. If you are using one of the multi-purpose paints you can use the same painting technique as for water-based paints. As walls and ceilings are usually much larger areas to cope with than woodwork or metal you will be using a wider brush, but not too wide, a roller or paint pads. There is no need to strain emulsion paint, but it must be stirred — unless it is the non-drip type which is a wise choice for ceilings – and transferred to a paint kettle if you are using a brush or pads or a special tray if you are using a roller.

Ceilings first! Make sure that you can reach the ceiling comfortably. Start painting at a corner nearest to the window and work away from the light. Whether you are going to use a roller, pads or a wide brush, first paint a strip about 5 cm wide all round the edge of the ceiling, since rollers, big brushes and pads won’t get right into the corners.

Do not overload the roller, or paint will drip down onto your head as you work -wear a protective head covering anyway! To load the roller, push it backwards and forwards in the paint in the tray until it is well covered, then run it up to the top of the tray slope to remove excess paint. Work with criss-cross strokes, pushing the roller forwards and backwards across the surface – do not take the roller off the surface suddenly or it will splash. When you recharge the roller, apply it first to an unpainted part, working towards the previous wet edge with criss-cross strokes.

If you are using a brush, work in sections about 5 to 7 cm square, or in long strips, joining up the wet edges as quickly as possible, and ‘feathering’ if necessary so that the two areas 98 blend. The same technique applies to paint pads, except that these are drawn smoothly across the surface – use a small pad for the edges and a larger one for the bulk of the ceiling.

Painting inside walls. The tools, materials and techniques will be similar to those for painting ceilings. If you are right-handed start at the top right-hand corner of the wall. If you are left-handed start at the top left-hand corner and work as previously described. If you are painting over wallpaper or relief wallcovering you may find the paper ‘bubbles up’ a little; do not be too concerned as this should dry back flat to the wall.

Painting outside walls. Basically, painting exterior walls is the same as for painting walls inside, except that you are working on a larger scale, and can use slightly larger tools. You may even decide to hire a paint sprayer if you plan to decorate all the outside walls. If you do this, remember to mask all windows and doors. The most important thing is to make sure your ladders or other access equipment are safe. If you are right-handed, start at the top, on the right-hand side of the house, working across in sections, or on the left-hand side if you are left-handed.

Apply masonry paint generously by means of brush, bannister brush, heavy-duty roller or spray.

Stone paint is another type of masonry paint containing ‘fillers’ to give the surface a rough texture. This has to be applied with a brush or roller, which it tends to wear out! You can use spray equipment, but the filler particles tend to clog up the nozzle even though the spray gun must be fitted with a special one.

Emulsion paint — exterior quality can also be used on external walls, using any of the methods previously described.

Whether you are painting inside or out, or papering the inside walls, you should never try to do too much in one session. If you become tired and irritable, and are half-way through painting a wall, it will seem like weeks before that wall is finished – but it is not wise to stop work half-way through an area like this.

Always clean up after each job, and when you have finished one stage of decorating, clean all tools thoroughly and put them away before starting on the next stage.

How to paint like a pro step-by-step

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