Plan to Paint? 14 Pointers for a Hassle-Free Project

If you're starting a project at home, check out these DIY tips that will have you painting like a pro.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read

From dripping brushes to dried-out supplies, painting your home comes with a lot of hurdles. To help minimize the mess and make your job easier, check out these surprising tips.

All-Around Hints

1. Save Time with Tape
Where is the start of that roll of tape? Attach a paper clip or plastic clip from a bread bag to the end to get started much more easily with duct, painter’s, or masking tape.

2. Make a Handy Holder
If you use tape a lot in your household, make the search for rolls a thing of the past. Attach a toilet paper holder or a wall-mounted paper towel holder to the wall, and you have a great storage spot for tape rolls. Don’t want to put out even a little money? Raid your closet for a hanger with a pants bar where the rolls can hang.

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Painting Pointers

3. Make Cleanup Easier
Slather on some hand moisturizer or cooking oil before painting. It will prevent paint from seeping into your skin, making cleanup easier.

4. Revive Old Paintbrushes
Brushes can take a beating after just one painting project. But who can afford to buy new ones all the time? No need! Bring old brushes back to new life by soaking them in hot vinegar for 30 minutes. Afterward, wash them in hot, soapy water, brushing off paint as needed, then rinse and let dry before you put them to work again.

5. Protect While Painting
Before you begin that big painting project, cover doorknobs, drawer pulls, and any other small object you’re worried about catching spills with aluminum foil. The foil easily molds to any shape and comes off when you’re done. Another easy protector: petroleum jelly—it will keep paint from adhering to surfaces such as door hinges. Just paint some on with a small paintbrush, then wipe away any stray paint easily!

6. Old Tape? Don’t Toss It!
If you haven’t used your painter’s tape in a while, it may have dried out a bit. You’ll know if it begins to peel instead of rolling freely. The solution: Soften the adhesive in the microwave for 10 seconds.

7. Better Than a Drop Cloth
The side of a large cardboard box will fit tighter against your baseboards and slides more easily to your next needed location for painting protection.

8. Make the Smell More Pleasant
Many paints have moved to low-odor formulas, but they’re still not no-odor. To make your time painting more pleasant to your nose, add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract per gallon of paint and stir to mix well. It won’t affect the performance of the paint in any way!

9. Create a Painting Carryall
The cardboard that bottled water cases come in make a great organizing tray to hold a can of paint and all of your other painting supplies. The makeshift tray will also keep areas underneath free from paint drips. And you can simply toss when you’re done.

10. Foil Those Fuzzies
Affordable paint roller refills may cost you in another way: little fuzzies that can come off in your first few rolls. Take a second to run a lint roller over your new roller before you start—you’ll be glad you did when you’re not trying to pull little pieces off your wall.

11. Spice Up Your Old White
To tint white paint, add food coloring or a packet of powdered drink mix in the color you’d like directly to the paint and mix well.

12. Get Paint Off Glass
Accidentally paint the edge of your windowpane while doing some remodeling? Hot vinegar can be used to remove paint from glass. Just microwave a cup of vinegar until hot (1 to 2 minutes), then dip a cloth in it and wipe the offending paint away. Next time, just apply lip balm with a cotton swab along the glass next to the trim, and you can wipe away any paint that gets on that portion—it won’t stick to the balm.

13. Make It Stick to Tricky Places
Paint can be stubborn on certain materials. To help paint stick to metal surfaces, rub a soft cloth dampened with vinegar over the surface to be painted. Vinegar also comes to the rescue when painting concrete; apply a coat of white vinegar to the surface before the paint. To help paint stick to plastic surfaces, rub the surface with a fabric-softener sheet before applying.

14. No Cleaning Necessary (for Now)
If you want to avoid cleaning a paint roller (for now), wrap it in foil or a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator. Or if you’re wearing gloves while painting, just hold the brush by the bristles and pull the glove off inside out and over the brush; tie closed at the handle. The covering will keep the roller moist and usable for a few days, so you can finish where you left off later.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.