Eight lessons for painting your homestead

Our columnist Claudette Sandecki gives tips she learned when painting her kitchen

Painting my kitchen taught me many things I want to remember in case I paint another time. My redecoration is not yet complete. At the moment a cord of books are stacked along one side of the table until I paint the bookshelf to match the walls. To  make sure I had enough paint to cover all walls I left the shelves until last.

And that is lesson #1. Do things in proper sequence. A few minutes spent figuring the sequence can save moving the ladder back to an area you thought you had finished, keep you from touching a wet painted surface, and lessen the chaos.

#2. Painters’ tape can be used twice if you apply the tape flat from the roll and don’t press down the free edge. You’ll have a wider barrier, flat tape conforms better to corners and curves, and the tape will be easier to remove. Otherwise you might need tweezers to lift and grab a free edge when the time comes to strip the tape.

If you let the paint on the tape dry before you remove it, you can use the clean edge to tape another length of wall or floor.

Should you strip the tape as soon as you’re done painting that space, or leave it longer? Remove the tape immediately if you feel the need to check for any “bleed”. But if you do, you could be handling messy wet paint which will get all over your fingers and may smudge any surface you accidentally touch.

#3. Toothpaste makes a handy filler before you paint if, like me, you can’t find your can of DryDex. I filled two screw holes with toothpaste and my painter covered both repairs without recognizing them. Later, though, when I found the DryDex, I dug out the toothpaste and filled the holes with proper spackling. The DryDex goes on pink, and turns white when it is dry enough to sand smooth.

Toothpaste also makes an excellent glue to hang kids’ drawings. Years ago I put up four of my granddaughters’ drawings  on the wall under the kitchen cupboards. Following a magazine tip, I used a blob of toothpaste on the back of each corner. It held as well as Holdit putty adhesive. When I pulled off the drawings all I had to do was scrub the toothpaste off until no mark was left on the wall. The drawings didn’t tear.

The blobs did soak through on the drawings. In future, I would first glue a two inch square of heavy paper on each back corner of the drawing to prevent the toothpaste showing through. By rounding off the corners of the drawing now I could preserve them if I wish.

#4. Whether to paint in horizontal tiers side to side, or from top to bottom or from bottom to top in stripes, depends. Which will have you moving the ladder the least? Will you touch your hair in the paint when you stoop to fill your brush? Here being bald has an advantage. My mother tied an Aunt Jemima tea towel over her hair.

#5. This has to do with storage A 5 kg. box from Quick Quaker Oats makes a fine filing cabinet insert to hold files upright and spaced for easy retrieval or re-filing.

First use 2” wide clear tape to seal the box closed. With a sharp, 3/4” wide Olfa knife divide the box into halves cutting the widest side from top to bottom. Tape over the cut flaps to hold them together, fitting the tape from one inside edge out over the cut and back down on the outside. This keeps the end flaps of the box smooth so file folders won’t snag sliding in.  You can leave six inches between the boxes for further filing ease.

#6. Before storing any leftover paint, label the can with any mixing recipe. If you must buy more later, you will know the exact shade.

#7. Store all painting equipment together — brushes, rollers, paint tray, roller holder and extender handle,

#8. A small can of DryDex, a metal drywall trowel, and a flat screwdriver to replace the butter knife would make a fine gift for a do-it-yourselfer.