How to Minimize Brush Marks

There are four things you can do to help minimize brush marks and leave a smooth surface on your paint job:

1. Set your loaded brush down on a dry section of the wall — or the trim, or siding, or whatever you’re painting – and to lift it from a previously coated, still wet section.

2. Make sure your paint is the right consistency. Thicker paint holds marks more than thinner paint does. If you’ve left paint in a closed can overnight, it will dry out and thicken up a little. Thoroughly stir the paint and, if it seems too thick, add thinner sparingly – you don’t want to get it too thin. Stir it thoroughly and try it again.

3. The right brush and to make sure it is in the best condition. Oil-based paint, shellacs and varnishes should be applied with a china bristle brush.

4. Latex paint and stain should be applied with a good quality nylon/polyester brush. These are often labeled “for use with all paints.” Better synthetic filament brushes have more ‘flags’ – the splits at the end of each filament – and the filaments are round and solid, not flat or hollow. In other words, they more closely mimic real bristles. Good quality nylon/polyester brushes are only slightly less expensive than good china bristle brushes – say $30 for a 4″ sash brush, for example.

There’s also the issue of the cleanness of the brush. If a brush has not been thoroughly cleaned, all the way back into the ferrule, and the bristles and filaments combed straight and wrapped in a cover to dry, they may start to bond together into small spikes.

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.