Beyond Brushes

Look around your home, there are all sorts of everyday items that you can use to give you a cool paint technique and great texture for just about any room.

1. With any technique make sure that you have a nice base coat before you get started painting.

2. First idea, plastic grocery bags. Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Roll your favorite paint color onto the wall. Then, use a crumpled grocery bag to dab off some of the paint, this technique will leave you with a funky mottled effect.

3. Another tool, old clothes. Use them in much the same way that you would a plastic bag. The rags will give you a softer effect.

4. You can also try sponges. Dip a dry sponge into some paint, scrape or dab away the excess and then sponge a random pattern onto the wall. If you want more detail all you need to do is repeat the process with a second complimentary color!

5. Finally, potatoes. Cut a large baking potato in half. Draw a simple pattern onto the white of the potato. Then use a sharp utility knife to carve away anything that doesn’t belong. Blot the potato onto a piece of paper towel to remove excess moisture and then dip the potato in paint, blot it on a paper towel and stamp it onto the wall. The potato will give you a vintage stencil look.

Painting tips & tricks

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.

To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.

When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.

An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.

When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.

To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.

Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.

To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.

When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact colour with you and can match accessories in store.

When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more easily.

When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.

When painting old woodwork fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.