5 Tips for Less Mess During & After Painting

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Paint is one of those things that has a way of getting everywhere despite our best efforts. The last time I painted, I somehow even managed the get paint on the cat. Granted, she looked good in blue, but the goal there was to paint the bedroom walls without accenting any felines. How this happened I will never know, but in the future I have plans to avoid it. Locking the cat out of the room is definitely part of that plan, but here are a few other tips for less mess when painting.



1. For areas around door knobs and electrical outlets, forgo trying to work creatively at extreme angles with big brushes and rollers. Those items have their place and it is not to paint around small objects. For fine detail work, pick up a set of artist paint brushes. You can find these in much smaller sizes than standard paint brushes and it will make less mess if you use them over other, larger brushes in tight spaces.

2. Use a pouring lid on your paint cans to avoid spills and messes. This is quite possibly the best invention ever known to painters. Pouring paint straight out of the gallon can is messy and you can wind up with paint in places you do not want paint to be (ahem, on the cat). Adding a paint pouring lid solves that problem in a flash.



3. Wrap your paint tray in aluminum foil to enable multiple uses. Why buy a bunch of paint trays just to throw them away when they get covered in paint? Take your tray and carefully line it with aluminum foil, being sure not to puncture or tear it in the process. Pour your paint in and dip your roller as usual and when you're done, pull the foil off and properly discard. The paint tray beneath will be nice and clean and ready for another foil-wrapped use.



4. Use vinegar to clean your paint brushes (unless you are using oil-based paint, then see the next step). Rather than buy new brushes time and time again, soak existing brushes in vinegar to remove stuck on paint. In a mixture that is half water, half vinegar, let your brushes soak for about a half an hour. You should see a marked improvement and the paint should be coming off. Some cases are more difficult, however, and for those you might need to turn up the heat, so toss those brushes in a pot and boil that mixture for a few minutes. Upon cooling, the remainder of the paint should wash out of your brushes with a warm water rinse.



5. Invest in some mineral spirits when it comes time to clean oil-based paints from your brushes. Since it is much tougher to remove oil-based paint, you are going to have to step up your game to get brushes clean. Place your brushes in a container with enough mineral spirits to cover the bristles. Dip your brushes and swirl them around until you see the paint begin to loosen. Work the mineral spirits into the bristles until they are clean, then shake the spirits out of your brush and let it dry before using again.

Painting can be messy, but it doesn't have to be. If you are careful in your paint application and the use of your tools, cleanup can be quite easy rather than a tedious task. Try out some of the steps listed above and your painting efforts should go more smoothly. With a little luck, you won't even manage to paint any cats.



(Not my cat, but it could be if this cat were Siamese!)

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