Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tips + Tricks for Painting Walls

  Ok, so this is totally a dog-ate-my-homework-moment: I had said that I would blog about my progress on the living room, and that was over a week ago already! Long story short, we lost our internet connection and it took awhile to get it fixed. We've also been super busy with work and with work on the apartment. The good news is, I have lots to share!

This is what the living room looked like last time I posted:

Fortunately, the room was finally painted. Unfortunately, it was covered in painter's tape, drop cloths, newspapers and lots of paint drips. That morning my goal was to remove all the tape, get the plastic drop cloths up without ruining the furniture underneath and then begin the work of 'touch-ups'. 

Taking the tape off is always a bit scary because it could look like this:

Or it could look like this:

I know, I know. It makes you want to cry. 'Why even tape things in the first place?' You scream in vain....

Let's not get too down trodden, shall we? First here are three tricks to help you avoid this mess in the first place:

1. Apply your tape at least one day in advance. The seal will actually become stronger, not weaker, as a few days go by.

2. Try to avoid painting during humid weather, the dryer the air outside, the better the tape will preform. 

3. Be kind to the tape: the seal is good, it's not uh-MAZ-ing. 

This is just stuff that you buy at Canadian Tire, it was not developed in some NASA lab. When I first used this tape I thought of that green line as some sort of super force-field that NO paint could cross. So, of course, I globbed paint onto the tape, and guess what? It seeped through in many places. 

Try your best to brush lightly near the tape, putting only the minimum amount right next to it and on top of it. Lighter, thinner coats are better for the edges, and will save you time in the long run. 

Okay, I know what your thinking: But, Shayda, didn't you follow your own guidelines? Yes, I did. That is why it is so tragic and gut-wrenching when you still end up with messy edges. It's not a perfect science.

So without further ado, here is my advice on touch-ups:

When it comes to attacking a room full of touch-ups, these are my secret weapons:
(They're not that secret, really, but it just sounds cooler).

Fill two small mason jars with the paint colours you used in the room. Here I have my white satin finish for the trim and my grey flat finish for the walls. (Note: if you used a different paint for the ceiling, say, a flat white, you will also want to have that handy). Grab a few different small paint brushes and you're good to go.

You can attack touch-ups one of two ways: either trust your steady hand and simply use those small brushes to your advantage, or reapply a bit of tape and try again. If you can do it without the tape, I suggest you do, it's much faster. Use the molding and trim as your guide, and remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. It just needs to look nice to the eye, if you gaze around the room and don't see any glaring imperfections, you're done.

Here's a great tip I got from pinterest: keep the paint in the jars and label them. When you scuff a wall and need to fix it, it's a lot less work to open up a jar then it is to go digging around in the closet for that old paint can. 

Now for my favourite touch-up product: Polyfilla for Big Holes. Here's the secret: You're not going to use it for big holes, you're going to use it on the smallest of cracks. This is a super easy trick and makes a BIG difference. 

When you open the container, you'll notice the consistency of this stuff is not thick, wet and heavy like most spackling compounds or fillers. It is light, somewhat dry and very marshmallow-like. You don't need to use a putty knife for this, what you're going to do, is simply scoop it up with your finger. 

This polyfilla is best used for areas that look like this:

Or this....

Use it anywhere that you have small cracks or holes in the trim and where the trim meets the wall. The polyfilla is white, so if your trim is white, you can apply it after painting and it gives a great finished look. Simply dip your finger in the tub and get a dollop of the putty. Then, using your finger, spread it across the cracked area.  So simple!

After you fill the cracks, simply wipe the area with a damp cloth if it looks like there is excess putty.
It should dry in a matter of minutes. Old trim goes from looking, well, old, to looking much more polished. Basically, your gaze won't be drawn to those little imperfections. The room will look much cleaner.

Here's some of my after shots:

The room was finally done! It took me most of the day to work through the removal of tape and drop cloths, the paint touch-ups, and the puttying. It really was worth it, although painting is a big job, committing to these smaller jobs will make the room look truly polished and clean. 

Ok, finally, here are some shots of the living room. The photos aren't great, my apologies for that. Just wanted to give you a small taste of what it looks like so far.