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June 10, 2013

10 Painting Tips & Tricks You Never Knew (Part Two)

10 Paint Secrets: what you never knew about paint. Totally worth checking out before your next project!
 After sharing my paint secrets last month, I was so excited to find out how much ya'll loved them! Your enthusiasm reminded me that many of you are still learning just like I am....and I love that.  I thought I would share a few more tips today, and hopefully answer a few questions that I frequently receive from readers. Some of these you might know, some you might not. Maybe you'll even have a few lightbulb moments like I did when I figured this stuff out. So, here are my 10 paint secrets...round two! 

#1: Make a paint chip key ring
 I recently made my own paint chip key ring, and it's so useful! I wish I would have done this long ago! It's just a simple key ring with all of my paint colors and paint names attached. It really comes in handy when I'm out shopping for fabric, furniture, or decorative accents like pillows, etc. 

10 Paint Secrets: How to make a paint chip key ring with all of your home's paint colors on it!  It's super handy when you're out shopping for fabric, furniture, or decorative accents like pillows, etc.

To make this, I used the paint chips from all my wall colors, a key ring, and some key tags. You can find the key tags in the key department of most home improvement stores or here (Amazon affiliate link).

I cut out a small square off the paint chip, glued it to one side of the tag, and wrote the name of the paint color and room it goes in on the back of the tag.

10 Paint Secrets: How to make a paint chip key ring with all of your home's paint colors on it!  It's super handy when you're out shopping for fabric, furniture, or decorative accents like pillows, etc.

 I have it in my purse and take it with me whenever I go out. You could also do this with popsicle sticks, or even just laminate little pieces of the paint chips and hole punch them.

10 Paint Secrets: How to make a paint chip key ring with all of your home's paint colors on it!  It's super handy when you're out shopping for fabric, furniture, or decorative accents like pillows, etc.

*To see the paint colors we used in our house, go here.

#2. How to choose a paint finish
When you've never painted anything before, that first time to the hardware store is a doozy. Paint comes in a bunch of finishes and it can be really confusing when it comes to which one you're supposed to get for which project.  So, after years of using different paint all over my house and my furniture, here's what type of paint I usually get for different projects:

Flat paint: use for walls in living rooms, bedrooms, ceilings, or furniture
Eggshell: use for walls in hallways, dining rooms, kitchens
Satin: use for walls in bathrooms, or furniture
Semi-gloss: use for windows, trim, doors, and cabinetry

10 Paint Secrets: How to choose the right paint finish! Good to know!

#3. Use Tack Cloth
I love tack cloth. A lot.
 Have you ever sanded down your furniture or wooden trim before painting it and then ended up with a million bits of fuzz and dust in your paint job? It can be so frustrating to paint a piece so perfectly and find out after it's dried that there is a giant tumbleweed stuck right on top. Tack cloth is the solution for that. It's basically like a kinda sticky rag that doesn't get it's stickiness anywhere. You just wipe down the surface of whatever you're painting and it picks up everything. I use it on every single piece of furniture that I paint. 

10 Paint Secrets: why you should be using tack cloth when painting furniture. So good to know!

#4. Furniture touch up pens
These things are definitely on my list of awesome inventions. I am well known around these parts for being heavy handed with a vacuum cleaner and scratching up the legs of all our furniture. Plus, Tootie and Cheese take care of the rest of the furniture with their claws. Once a month or so, I go around the house with one of these Minwax pens and color in the scratches. I have an espresso one for our couch legs, and a black one for our desk and table.  You can find these here (Amazon affiliate link).

10 Paint Secrets: the trick to easily fixing furniture scratches! Check it out!

#5. Save time with artist brushes
While I usually take the time to remove outlet covers, etc., sometimes (if you're like me), you've painted for endless months by yourself and you just run out of steam. This can save you some time, and the brushes are so small that you can really paint a small very precise area. I've done it in a couple rooms, and it truly looks like I took the outlet cover off.

10 Paint Secrets: Use artist brushes to paint around doorknobs, electrical outlets, hinges, and other small areas! Such a time saver!

Not only does this tip work for outlets, but it works for doorknobs and hinges, and for touching up small knicks and marks on your walls, too.

10 Paint Secrets: the secret to saving time when painting your house! Good to know!

#6. Prime before painting wood

I painted a lot of furniture before I learned about primer. It was the MOST annoying learning lesson I've endured yet, as most of those pieces ended up having to be redone. I'm sure it's common knowledge to any of you seasoned furniture painters, but for those of you just starting out (like I was a few years ago!), hopefully this tip will save you from the trauma of peeling furniture. 

10 Paint Secrets: what you never knew about paint. Totally worth checking out before your next project!

Hopefully by now, we all know that you're supposed to sand furniture before painting it. However, unless you sand it down like you have the arms of a powerlifter, your paint won't last forever. This is where primer comes in. If you prime wood before painting, it makes your paint adhere like crazy. Even if you don't sand, primer will still make your paint stick. Ideally, when painting furniture, you would sand and prime. However, if you're short on time, if your piece is already painted, or if it's laminate, you can skip the sanding and just prime, and your paint job will look great and last for a long time. So, the moral of this story is PRIME IT.
See how I paint furniture from start to finish here.

#7. Wax it.
When it comes to finishing furniture, wax is my favorite method.

10 Paint Secrets: How to get the perfect finish when painting furniture! Good to know!

 After painting tons of pieces, I've discovered that my favorite method is to sand, prime, use flat paint, and finish with wax.
If the piece needs to be really durable (like a table or desk), I'll use polycrylic, but if it's just a normal piece that won't be put through a lot, I love the way a flat paint with wax finish looks. Wax isn't as durable, but it looks amazing. All you do is apply it with a rag, rub it on over the paint, let it dry and then buff it with the same rag. I used wax here, and it looks fantastic. My favorite finishing wax is the Minwax paste finishing wax in clear. It can be found here (Amazon affiliate link).

#8. Cheap Sources for Paint Cans
 Did you know you can get empty paint cans of all different sizes at Home Depot for just a few bucks? 
The gallon cans are about $4 and the quart cans are about $2. This may be common knowledge, but I for one was super excited to discover a bunch of empty paint cans for that cheap. I mix and blend a lot of my own paint colors, as well as make my own chalk paint, so this comes in handy often. 

10 Paint Secrets! Check this out!

And there's all sorts of other things you could use them for, too! Just think of all the crafts and organizing ideas you could come up with using these. 

10 Paint Secrets: tips & tricks you never knew about paint! Check this out!

#9.  Gloss spray paint
I'm obviously a huge fan of all types of spray paint. However, my personal fave is high gloss spray paint when it comes to coating small accessories or ceramics. The only problem is that not every spray paint color is sold in a high gloss finish. But did you know that you can buy whatever color spray paint you want in a flat finish and then get a can of clear gloss? It instantly gives anything a glossy, factory-like finish. It's amazing. 

10 paint secrets: how to turn any color spray paint into a high gloss paint! Check this out!

#10. My favorite gold spray paint
There are a million gold spray paints out there, but they are not made equal. Don't get me wrong, they all work just fine. However, if you're looking for that certain gold color that is super trendy right now, yet always classic, my go-to gold spray paint is Rustoleum Metallic Gold. I'm using it on several projects as we speak. You can find this spray paint here (Amazon affiliate link).

10 Paint Secrets: the best gold spray paint and other great tips!

And that's all ya'll! 
Thank you so much for stopping by today! 

For related posts, please check out the following:
 Part 1 

10 Paint Secrets: what you never knew about paint. Good to know! Check this out!

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  1. Thank you so much for the awesome tips. I am new follower of yours, new homeowner and new DIYer. I have had two furniture pieces for YEARS that I have avoided because I didn't know how to pain them. I have 3 questions if you don't mind. 1) When would I used an oil based paint? 2) Do you think it's necessary to use a professional paint sprayer to get a smooth finish or will I get this by using chalk paint alone? 3) When painting wood furniture, brush or roller or both?

    1. Thanks so much, Tonya! To answer your questions, I rarely use oil based paint and usually just use normal interior paint for furniture because it dries quicker and doesn't have strong fumes. I've never used a paint sprayer....I'm sure it would give a fantastic finish, but I don't own one. I'm able to get a smooth finish simply by going over my brush marks while still wet with a small dense foam roller. I brush on the paint first, and then roll over it. I'll be writing an entire post on painting furniture that should be on the blog next week. Make sure to check back then for more details! Thanks again!

    2. Thank you very much for responding to me. This is very helpful. I am taking the leap and going out this weekend to buy supplies so I can get started. I look forward to your future posts regarding painting!

  2. That keyring is GENIUS!!! I just had one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments. There's a pile of paint chips in my kitchen drawer that are going to be getting a wardrobe change.
    Awesome tips yet again. Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much! I felt the exact same way when I first thought of it, too! Such a convenient lil' thing! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I just discovered your blog last week and have scoured every. single. page. LOVE it! You're ingenuity and hilarity in one package. I'm itching to try my very first furniture makeover project (give a new life to a salvaged dresser) but now have your 10 rules of thrift shopping in the back of my mind, namely, don't be a hoarder. I now feel safe to peruse without the guilt of feeling like I have to buy and "rescue" every piece ha! Thank you thank you for your blog and your fun and elegant restylings. I see junk in a whole new light now and love that it doesn't have to go to the dump!

    1. WOW! That is absolutely music to my ears! Thank you so much for taking the time to share that with me! I'm so excited for you to begin your first makeover! And I'm so so so happy to hear you love thrifting, too!!! Thank you again! <3

  4. Great tips Virginia! I've shared this on Facebook :)

  5. I always love your tips.... and your projects! I'm a newbie at this DIY thing, and you make it look so easy! I'm in the process of attempting to paint some small pieces of furniture to get more experience before I really dig into my breakfast area set. Your tips help so much! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much Karen! That's so nice! Good luck painting your first pieces! I know you'll do great at it!!

  6. Have you painted much laminate? I noticed you said you don't need to sand it first-- my heart just did a dance! I have some horrible ikea laminate dressers that I'd love to repaint-- so do you think I can just prime and skip the hand sander? Thanks so much! Love your blog and all your tips!

    1. You absolutely can, Tara! I've painted laminate tons of times, and as long as you prime, the paint will adhere to it just fine! :)

    2. Thanks, Virginia! This would make a good post since there is little info out there and yet so much oak-esque ikea stuff out there! :)

    3. You are so welcome Tara! And you read my mind! I'm actually painting a laminate dresser as we speak (like seriously, right now.) and I'll be doing an entire post about painting laminate & primer & all that jazz probably next week! Hopefully I can get it done...if not, the week after next! It'll be a good one though! :)

    4. Sweet! Thanks, Virginia!

  7. Thank you so much for the wonderful tips! I recently stumbled upon your blog and only wish that I had done so before painting several pieces of furniture within the last couple of months! On a positive note, if they start peeling I get to go through the whole creative process again :)

    1. Thank you Lusine! I've totally been there! I painted so much furniture before figuring out that I should be priming first! :)

  8. Awesome tips!!! White Truffle is the color I use for Antique white, one of my favorites!!!!

  9. This is a really great post! Thanks for sharing ! :D

  10. Virginia,

    These are great tips! I'd love to pin them to the Home Depot All about Paint Pinterest board if you don't mind.

    Senior Editor,

  11. Really great ideas, thank you!

  12. Hi Virginia!
    Just came across your blog a week ago and I've backtracked through all your archives. Really love it and it's given me a kick in the backside to get my home renovations and decorating back on track to make my house my home after a particularly bad breakup (I bought him out of a house that screams "I'm HIS" all over).

    A good tip I have for painting around outlets, switches, anything attached to walls, if you can't be bothered to remove them, is to loosen whatever screws are holding the thing up/in a half to a full turn... it gives just enough leeway to slide a small paintbrush underneath the edges and gives a flawless finish without removing them!

    Quick turn of the screwdriver back after the pain is dried and no one is the wiser :-)

    Especially for light switches, I've found that "painting around" often looks like you've "painted around"... you know what I mean... but if you can slip underneath the cover plate then you have a pro-looking job!

  13. Great tips. Thanks! I love the key ring idea! I have used the small paint brush idea . It saves so much time.

  14. OOO! You could paint the paint cans with charlkboard paint for easy labeling if used for organization! *Genuis*

  15. Hi Virginia! Question for spray painting wooden furniture: I made a side table and sanded it down, I plan on painting it all white and using the gold metalic spray paint on the top surface. I read on the metallic can not to use a gloss finish, but should i use a spray paint primer first?

    PS- I have totally put work on the back burner right now bc im so indulged in your fab blog, obsessed! Thanks for any advice!

  16. Hi Virginia,

    I made the mistake of spray painting some laminate without primer or sanding, and I was wondering if you had any advice on how to recover form this mistake....the paint chips/scratches off easily, but I'd like to avoid sanding off all the already painted surfaces and starting from scratch. Any help would be appreciated!


  17. Virginia, the tips are great, but the best thing about your blog is you humour, and your the fly on the wall being bored. I am in Florida and one year from poor husband quakes at the idea of how many projects will come off the back burner, when I actually have time! thanks for all the ideas

  18. This is an awesome idea! I think I will do this and take pictures of all my furniture fabrics, print, cut, and add as well so I can have all the rooms colors together!

  19. This was so helpful! Thank you so much. I am reupholstering a chair for my teenage daughter. She wants her chair to look like a "princess throne" and I was wondering which gold spray paint was the best choice. This is my first attempt at restoring furniture and I probably would have skipped on the primer had it not been for this article. I also painted the walls in my closet with a flat paint. Now my walls look ashy and dusty all the time, and wish I had chosen a paint finish that could be wiped off. Spraying on a gloss finish would be an easy fix to an otherwise, long process solution. This article was so helpful, I'm so happy I found it.

  20. Hi! I'm just passing through your blog from a quick google seach on the best gold spray paint for an upcoming project and just wanted to let you know that I learned so much from your post! Also, I now have a little more confidence. Thank-you!!!!


  21. Thank you so much for #7! After my husband and I used an eggshell finish paint (very watered down, so it was more like a stain) om a couple of book shelves for my daughter's room, we found that by the time they dried, while we could see the wood grain clearly like we wanted to, they had a very dull and rough appearance. The wax worked PERFECTLY to give us the sheen, texture and finished look we were going for. Thank you!


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