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Home > Ideas & Tips > Project DIY Paint - Tools You'll Need

Project DIY Paint - Tools You'll Need

Project Paint DIY Do It Yourself Project Paint DIY Do It Yourself

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Picking the Right Products


There are two types of brushes:

Natural bristle - made with animal hair; hog hair is best. Natural bristle brushes are best used with oil-based or alkyd paint.

Synthetic brushes - made with nylon, polyester or a combination. They can be used with oil or latex paint.

For latex paint, you should only use synthetic brushes. For oil-based or alkyd paints, you can use either synthetic or natural bristle but it's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations.

You can accomplish most paint jobs with a larger 4-inch brush for coverage and a smaller 2-inch brush for trim work and cutting in around corners.

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Brush Tips

  • Dampen a synthetic brush before use. Paint will be less likely to dry on the brush.
  • Don't overload a brush with paint. The application will be smoother and less wasteful.
  • Paint with the brush at a 45-degree angle to maximize the bristle's surface area.
  • For a better finish, paint from the area just painted towards the unpainted area. Painters call this "wet to dry".
  • Dip the bristles one-third of the way into the paint; any deeper will waste paint. Tap the side of the brush on the inside of the can to remove excess paint.
  • If you need to stop for an hour or so, position the brush in the paint to cover the bristle tips. For longer interruptions, wrap the brush in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for oil-based paints. If you're using latex, the refrigerator will be fine.
  • Before cleaning, remove remaining paint by stroking the brush back and forth on newspaper. Before storing, remove paint with the proper thinner.

Roller Tips

  • Moisten before use with water or thinner to prevent paint from drying on the roller.
  • Load the roller with paint from the slanted edge of the tray to prevent overloading.
  • Paint in the shape of the letter W. Start by moving the roller away from you. Without lifting the roller from the wall, fill in the open space.
  • Don't try to paint too quickly.
  • To clean a roller cover, roll it back and forth on newspaper. Remove paint with the proper thinner. If you're rinsing out solvent-based paint, wear rubber gloves. Let it dry before storing.
  • Disposable rollers are available. If you don't plan on repainting soon, you may want to use these to avoid cleanup (especially when using oil-based paint).


Rollers are available in two types:

Natural - made with mohair or lambswool; best with oil-based paints.

Synthetic - made with nylon, polyester, or a combination; best with water-based paints.

For latex paint, you should use synthetic materials only. For oil-based or alkyd paints, you can use either synthetic or natural material. As with brushes, it's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations before purchasing.

When purchasing a roller:

Look for beveled edges on the roller for a smooth finish.

Check to make sure the roller has no visible seams.

Give it a squeeze - it should rebound to its original shape.

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Drop Cloths Painter's Tape Cleaners, Thinners & Removers

Make sure you have everything you need before you start your painting project. Keep this handy project checklist with you while shopping online, or print it out and take it with you to your nearest Lowe's store:

Project Checklist

Paint Accessories

Here are a few accessories you'll be glad you picked up:

  • Drop cloths save countless hours of cleanup, not to mention saving things that just aren't meant to be painted, such as sofas and carpet.
  • A tray is a must for a roller, but also good when using a painting pad.
  • Painter's tape should be part of your painting toolbox. Always use painter's tape instead of masking tape. Painter's tape allows you to keep areas covered for up to three days. If you let masking tape stick around that long, you'll end up pulling off part of your finish.
  • The proper step stool or ladder is essential for safety and easier painting.
  • An edger or painter's shield is a simple straightedge with a handle that enables you to make clean cut-ins where walls meet ceilings.
  • Using an extension handle for your roller may be just the trick when you need to extend your reach. Make sure your roller will accept a screw-in extender and that the extender is stiff enough to give you enough leverage to apply the paint.

Clean Up

  • For an effortless clean up, use tinfoil or a plastic bag to line your paint tray. When you're finished painting, simply roll up and toss away.
  • Use vinegar and hot water to clean your paintbrushes. Use a 1/2 and 1/2 solution and soak for 30 minutes to remove paint.
  • Have paint splatters on your acrylic bathtub? Use an ice scraper to remove them without scratching the tub surface. You can also use an ice scraper to remove paint specks from any other nonmetallic surfaces.
  • Place a couple of shallow dishes filled with undiluted white vinegar around a freshly painted room to quickly get rid of the strong paint smell.
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