From finger painting to painting your home, we can learn from those with more experience. What seemed like a simple question from from one of my handyman customers, identified confusion about the best way to clean paint brushes (read How to Clean Paint Brushes). So I asked my professional painters to share some painting tips starting with how they clean their brushes.
These articles on cleaning paint brushes showed me … that my question was too narrow. How often do you have to reframe your question before Google gives you a satisfactory answer. My painters quickly explained that I needed to expand my research to include cleaning everything used for a painting project (read: Painting Cleanup: Learning from the Pros).
Credit for this article goes to Colin Baird, owner of PlatypusPainting.com in Oakland, CA. He not only answered my questions about cleaning paint brushes, he also gave me some additional painting tips which you'll have to keep reading to learn.
Painting Tips From a Painting Pro
Imagine my surprise when Colin, after giving me feedback on cleaning paint brushes, continued on to say …
Paint Pro Tip #1: Keeping your paint brush cleaner while applying paint is “half the battle when it comes to cleaning the brushes”.
Colin went on to explain “Painting quickly without overloading the brush is a balancing act. If you've got paint dripping off the ferrule and all over your hands, that's a good sign your being a little sloppy.” So for those who aren't sure what the ferrule is, it's the metal strip that holds the bristles of the brush, and attaches to the handle.
So let's look at the other painting tips provided, to help you use your paint more wisely, and make it easier to clean your paint brushes when you're done painting.
- Use a paint pail rather than painting directly out of a paint can.
- Only fill the pail pail up 1/4 to 1/3 to help insure that when you place your brush in the paint pail, the paint won't cover more than half the bristles.
- When reloading your paint brush, dip the brush into the pail about 1/3 of the way up the bristles.
- Brush against the inside of the pail a couple of times, to work the paint into the bristles a bit … as if you were painting the inside of the pail.
- If you find you have a lot of excess paint, draw the bristles out of the pail and across the rim to remove the excess paint.
Watch this video showing all the features of the HANDy Paint Pail. There's an adjustable strap, a magnetic brush holder, disposable liners made from 100% recycle materials … and more but you'll have to watch the video.
If you follow these steps while painting, “… you should be able to keep your paint brush relatively clean which will make cleanup easier” according to our painting pro, Colin Baird. He also said it should only take about 5 minutes to clean your paint brushes with most water based paints so this ought to make your painting projects go much faster.
Paint Pro Tip #2: Think wisely before using oil based paints.
Before you buy oil based paints, you should look for quality acrylic paints that can achieve the same results. If you have to use an oil paint, look for “waterborne alkyds” that only require soap and water to cleanup
When you can't avoid using oil paints, it's best to buy decent throw away brushes. They'll cost around $7 at a hardware store, and then you can throw them away when you've finished your oil painting. It makes a lot more sense to throw a cheaper brush away, than buying an $18 paint brush and spending 20 minutes cleaning it. Using a paint thinner to clean the brush is more complicated than water, according to Colin. You're also stuck with a quart or half gallon of wasted paint thinner that you have to dispose of in an ethical way. Make sense?
We've got lots more painting tips here … covering the following topics:
- Articles on drywall finishes like Matte Paint: Same as Flat Paint?
- Information about colors like Color Trends: Where Do They Come From?
- Different types of paint like Chalkboard Paints: What You Need to Know and Color Wash Paint Perfect for Old Houses.
- Decorating with paint colors like Building a Color Pallet Based on Your Tile.