Paint Continued: Brushes, Tips & Tricks

Last week”s teaser about the styrafoam in your fridge absorbing the scent of your oil-based paints and depositing it into your foods.  True!  Let me give you the context…


Everyone hates to rinse out brushes, right?  It just takes forever – the paint never comes out of the brush!  Its worse with oil-based paint because you have to use mineral spirits or paint thinner and that stuff stinks and its brutal on your skin, not to mention that its an environmental hazard to dispose of it improperly!  This by the way includes NOT pouring it down the drain.


Messy Paint Brushes blog

How would you like to clean these brushes?


So when you need to quit for the night or you are waiting on that coat of paint to dry, what do you do with the brushes?  For oil-based paint, you can just tightly wrap the brush in plastic wrap or put the brush in a zip-seal bag.  For latex-based paint, do the same thing, BUT, store the brush in the refrigerator.  You cannot do this with an oil-based paint saturated brush.  Its really quite important that you don”t confuse these facts.  The styrafoam insulation in your refrigerator will absorb the chemical smell of the oil-based paint and you”ll actually taste the paint smell in all the food currently in your fridge.


Brushes & Rollers Tips and Tricks:

  • Oil based paints should never be poured down a drain.  Your local government agencies will have drop off locations, check your local government sites.  Check here for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford.

  • Latex based paints can be dried with cat litter, wood chips, or a paint hardening kit can be purchased at your local home improvement store – one the paint is dry, it can be disposed of in your regular trash.

  • All paints contain chemicals, so wear gloves when tackling large projects to minimize direct skin exposure.

  • If you”re painting a wall or doing some simple effects, reach for latex. If there”s wood involved, you may want to consider oil-based paint.

  • When in doubt, tell the experts at your home center what you”re doing and they will be happy to offer advice. With all the new products out there for latex paint, you can tackle almost any decorative finish!

  • It takes surprisingly little paint thinner to clean the brush. Use about a quarter cup in a jar to clean most of the paint off. If you have a brush spinner, it will help to use it now, or you can pat the wet brush off into a clean bucket. Then use another quarter cup to clean the brush off finally, until it”s totally clean. Spin or pat the brush again, and store it in the same folding piece of cardboard that it came with to protect it and hold its shape.

  • Don”t throw away the used paint thinner! Keep it in a jar with the lid on. After a week or two, all of the paint solids will settle to the bottom and compact. So the next time you need to clean a brush, just decant the clear paint thinner off of the solids. You shouldn”t have to throw away or dump any paint thinner at all.

  • Because the drying time is so slow, it is somewhat easier to cause drips with oil-based paints. Make sure to buy premium quality paint, and use good lighting to monitor how the paint is going on.

  • Don”t under estimate the importance of taping off.  No matter how you start out, you are going to get tired and sloppy.  Its like ordering that exercise machine off an Infomercial.  Sure, you start out strong, but two weeks from now, you”ve pushed it over into the corner so you can see the tv while lying on the couch.  In a month, its a closet.  Same principle for taping the corners and trim.  You get tired, hungry, it gets dark outside and next thing you know, you”ve painted over the glass in the windows.  Spend time taping off.  The tired you who just wants to get the job done will appreciate it!

  • Cover carpet and furniture with plastic or a drop cloth.  Its better to be safe than sorry.  You can trip and step in the paint bucket or worse, knock it off the ladder!  And in spite of your best efforts, sometimes rolling paint can splatter.  Ideally, your paint tray is nearly the same width as the roller so excess paint won’t collect on the ends of the roller.  This excess paint will splatter as you are rolling the wall.     Another important measure to prevent roller splatter – try not to overfill the paint tray.  Only fill the reservoir at the bottom – this will also keep the roller from becoming over-saturated, as that will splatter and possibly cause drips!

The most important thing about painting is remembering to buy the best paint you can afford and preparing your surface and work area might be a little extra work in the beginning, but its truly worth it at the end!

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