Essential Painting Tips from Pros and Beginners (& Giveaway)

ECOS 12/03/2014

Like most things in life, whether you're new to painting or you've been doing it for years, there's always something new to learn. And while there are many tips and tricks that are common knowledge to experienced painters, sometimes it's the novice who comes up with a brilliant new idea. You know what they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Either way, the body of knowledge keeps growing and we do our best to stay on top of it and share it with others. Today, we're sharing essential painting tips from pros and beginners – and we have a great giveaway at the end, too.

  • Invest in high quality paint. It’s easier to paint with, it's cleaner to paint with (i.e. it doesn't spatter so much), it covers with fewer coats, and it will keep a “like-new” finish for more years (meaning you have more time before you need to paint again). All in all, it's a VERY smart investment.
  • Prep properly. We know it’s exciting and once you have the color in hand, you just want to see the finished project. But, take the time to really prepare your room (or whatever you’re painting) to save yourself time and unnecessary messes in the long run. Take down fixtures, remove outlet covers, patch holes, move furnishings out of the room, clean the surfaces you’ll be painting, etc.
  • Watch the time on your tape. Painter's tape may take a while to get into place, but it's totally worth the time because painting will go much faster. Still, you don't want the tape in place for too long, so don't tape multiple rooms at a time and remove the tape before the paint dries.
  • Cut in first. You’ll end up with a cleaner finish if you cut, then paint.
  • Don’t clean your brush or painting tray between coats. Go ahead and take a break, your brush, roller or tray will be just fine. Simply keep them wet by covering them tightly in an old plastic shopping bag.
  • Keep a damp rag in arm’s reach. Every painter, no matter how pro, inevitably drips or spatters or flubs. Damp rags or paper towels work better than dry to quickly clean up those little messes.
  • Learn to cut in. It may take a little practice, but it will save you SO much time! And, there are actually some circumstances that free-hand cutting in leads to a far better result than tape ever could. Here’s a short video showing how to do it like a pro.
  • Cut in first. You’ll end up with a cleaner finish if you cut, then paint. 6. Go from top to bottom. Always paint from the high to the low, so you can catch drips and cover spatters. It’s called working with gravity instead of against it!
  • Find a fan. Use a fan in the room while you're painting to make the paint dry more quickly. The quicker it dries, the quicker you're doing a second coat, and the quicker you're back to enjoying the space.
  • Paint using long, continuous strokes. Load up your brush or roller with ample paint (not too much, not too little) and use long, sweeping motions to apply it. Short, brisk strokes are a common mistake of amateur painters; and it makes more work and leaves a patchy finish.
  • When using a roller, spread the paint using a “W” or zig-zag pattern for a smooth, even finish.
  • Don't let your brush or roller get too dry. If you're trying to squish the last ounces of paint out of your brush or roller, it's too dry. Be generous when you load up your brush or roller and visit the paint frequently.

Now it's your turn! Share your tips for a chance to win! [UPDATE: Congratulations to Ashley - she's our lucky winner for December's giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated and be sure to watch the blog for January's giveaway launching soon!]

Here’s how to enter:


Share a painting tip in the comments below. (It can be common knowledge or clever brilliance - it's totally up to you.)


For each additional entry, leave a separate comment letting us know what you’ve done (and what your profile name is where relevant). You can enter up to 7 times by taking all of the actions listed above and the more entries you make, the more chances you have at winning!

One random winner will be selected on December 31st!

Good luck!!!

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and must be U.S. residents. Click through for full sweepstakes rules.

CATEGORIES giveaway|painting tricks