Simple Techniques You Can Use To Create That Professional Looking Finish When Painting Your Home
Acrylic Paints are by far the easiest painting products to work with. Acrylic is easy to clean up, it dries quickly and doesn’t run or sag, unless you apply crazy amounts or unless moisture and cold weather gets to it. It’s really easy to apply, spread out and work with.
So really, how hard can it be?
To be honest, for most who have never been taught the basics it can be really difficult. I often cringe when I see non-qualified people painting. Maybe it’s a pride issue, I don’t know and I don’t mean to be harsh, after all they are trying their best, but some of the techniques they use leave a lot to be desired.
Painting the correct way isn’t hard, it just takes a bit of practice, but first we have to see what bad habits you have picked up and what your application techniques actually are. Then I can show you the correct way.
Once you get a few of these basics down and had a little practice, then painting with acrylic will quickly become easy and you will be applying paint with a professional, quality finish every time.
1) – First things first – To paint acrylic well, you have to paint like you aren’t paying for the paint!
If you want a nice paint finish then you need to apply the right amount of paint. You should never spread paint out thinly because you want to save some money or for any other reason. It simply doesn’t work, it will leave you with a coat of paint that you can see through, looks scratchy, has an uneven finish, or is simply very ordinary looking.
To paint well, forget about the cost of the paint and apply a nice, even, thick coat. Of course not too think or else it will all end up sagging off your wall, but we will get to how much is the right amount as we go.
2) – How to apply acrylic paints correctly using a brush
When I was taught how to paint I was made to do everything with a 3 inch (7mm) brush. This includes cutting in, painting windows, Glossing off wood work, everything.
Now, while I don’t expect you to have the same control over a brush that this exercise taught me, it will help you to understand some of the differences between the over all finish that a DIY person using cheap, little, fiddly brushes will get versus a painter taught the correct way using the correct equipment.
The number one reason for being taught this way is that you can achieve a much nicer finish with a bigger 3 inch brush than what you can with a little brush. The second reason and it is also a big factor is that it’s much quicker once you develop the skill required to cut in with a bigger brush.
Good quality little brushes have their place for fiddly work but the majority of your acrylic painting should be done with a 3 inch brush.
So what is a good quality brush then?
Painting with a bargain shop $2 or $3 brush is going to produce a really crap finish. Use these types of brushes for washing engine parts!
As I have stated before, I favour the Purdy range of brushes. They are fantastically constructed, they narrow down to a thin point for cutting in at the tip of the bristles, they hold their shape extremely well and usually come with a nifty storage cover designed to hold the shape of the bristles during storage. This is so that you don’t set about to start painting, pull out your collection of brushes from the shed to find the bristles are now bent in all directions except a useable one.
But here is the best part about the Purdy’s! With the proper care and correct use these brushes last for years! I have been using one of these 3 inch types just like the one you can see on this page for 8 Years!!! That’s the same brush not different brushes! 8 years, now that’s a good quality brush!!!
Get yourself a decent brush it’s essential for creating a good painting finish.
Method for painting acrylic with a brush:
Now when it comes to applying paint with a brush, I find that most people dip the paint into their pot and then straight away wipe it all off again on the side of the pot??? The next problem is they like to use very short stokes with the brush and go back and forth. Hmm. This is how to do it properly.
Lets presume that you are painting a wall and you have your painting pot, paint and a 3 inch brush ready to go.
1. Fill the pot up with only about 100mm or 4 inches of paint leaving enough room up the side of the pot to “tap” your brush against the side.
2. Next you dip the bristles of your brush no more than 1/2 way into the paint
3. tap both of the flat sides of you brush 2 or 3 times against one side of your pot (this keeps your pot relatively clean.)
4. With either of the thin edges of your bristles as the leading edge( or pointing in the direction you are going to move the brush. Apply straight to the wall about 50mm or 2 inches from the surface you intend to cut into and wipe the bristles about 1 arms length across the surface.
5. Next you are going to spread the paint up towards the line you are going to cut into.
6. Once you have cut in a nice straight line, which just takes practice. Then finish off the entire arms length stroke with a light even pressured stroke. That’s it just one stroke over the whole surface you have just painted two max. This leaves a nice even finish making sure that you haven’t left any “fat” edges or stop start marks, which look horrible when the paint dries. if you have any fat edges left after this, then just wipe over them again with your brush in long strokes.
7. The whole length of your cutting in should be about 100 – 150mm or 4 – 6 inches wide and about one arms length long with no fat edges and a nice even finish free of stop start marks.
8. Important To make sure that you remove all stop/start marks ensure that the finishing stroke goes back in the direction of your previously painted surface, not towards the direction that you are about to paint next. always go back into your work with a long stroke to finish off.
3) – How To Apply Acrylic Paint Using A Roller
Again there are many bad habits when it comes to using a roller to apply acrylic paints and also the tools that you use will make a huge difference too.
These are the tool that I suggest you use for your painting project.
· Thickness of the roller – For interior acrylic paints on a normal wall/ceiling – 11mm nap/pile (that’s the length of the wool – I only use the wool roller sleeves I can’t stand foam or the man made fibres)
· Length of the roller sleeve. – I always use the 270mm roller sleeves which is the largest sleeve and frame combo that you can buy. Why waste time with a smaller one?
· The type of roller tray that you use is a big factor on how easy your job is going to run. many of them are just rubbish and cause you more spillage and headache than anything else. there are a few different one that painters use. My personal favourite, and unfortunately I can’t supply with a photo so you will have to put up with my lame description is a curved well type. From the side on view where you pour the paint into looks a bit like a “C” with a tray coming of the bottom of the “C”. I will take a photo of a nice clean new one and post it here for you to see. This type reduces the spills and accidents immensely plus it has a handle underneath so that when you pick it up all the paint sits in the Well and doesn’t spill everywhere. They are great!!
· Extension Poles – they are a must! Using an extension pole is essential for creating a professional finish to your wall. If you don’t use them it will take you all day to do a 5 – 10 minute job and the finish will be uneven and very amateurish. The bottom line if you want nice even & professional finish to your newly rolled surface get yourself a good twist lock or extendable roller pole.
· The Roller Frame that you use isn’t overly important but there are a few things to keep in mind. With the cheap roller frames often after a bit of use they start to bleed a grease that mixes with the paint and causes grey splatters of tainted grey paint on your nice new wall. While this is really annoying it can be avoided most of the time by getting a better quality roller frame. Apart from that I don’t have a favourite type that I would recommend.
Method for painting acrylic with a roller:
1. Make sure you are wearing old clothing & have remove any nice jewelry that you don’t want spattered with paint, you have a good quality drop cloth down on the floor and covering your furniture. Rollers tend to spray lots of little paint flecks so cover everything up.
2. Now after stirring your paint, pour some into you tray but don’t fill it right up to maximum capacity. You need to have a little bit of room to work with, so just full up the Well of your tray not the flat tray it self.
3. Next rinse the roller sleeve under some cold water and spin out excess water this is just to dampen the wool, which stops the paint from drying hard at the base of the wool fibres.
4. Attach the extension pole and adjust to fit your size. When rolling you want to stand about 1 metre away from the wall and be easily able to reach all the way up to the ceiling without stretching and all the way down to the top of the skirting boards without bending over.
5. Now load up your roller with paint. Start by placing your clean sleve on the flat tray and role into the paint coating smaller amounts of the sleeve at a time until full (should take about 5 or 6 dips to do this) Never just plunge the entire roller sleeve into the paint nor do you roll back towards you on the tray, always roll towards the paint well this will keep the paint from dripping over the edge of the tray and making a big mess.
6. once the roller sleeve is nice and evenly coated all over then apply to the wall. Start about 200mm or 8 inches away from the corner of the wall and about knee height and roll up wards until you get about 3/4 of the way up the wall. leave it for the moment and re fill your roller and apply in the same fashion starting about knee height and about 150mm further across the wall from your last roller full.
7. Next you want to spread it out evenly. After the 2nd applying roll, take your roller off the wall go back to the starting point of your first roll. Applying a firm even pressure roll up towards the cornice but this time roll it a bit closer to the cornice but not up to the final height yet, stay down about 150mm for now. Then roll down and across to the starting point of your second applying roll, again rolling it up to the cornice again staying down about 150mm from it. then roll back down and across to the starting point and down to the skirting board.
8. Now that the majority of your paint is spread out you need to push it out the the edges of your wall. so roll the paint gently out to about 30mm above the skirting board edge of your wall and the same up below the cornice. The trick is to avoid fat edges so lighten the pressure you are applying to the roller as you approach the edges and finish with a very light pressure as you rebound and roll back in the opposite direction. So – As you roll down to the skirting board start lightening your pressure about 300mm or 1ft above the skirting board and as you get to the bottom it should be just the weight of the roller on the wall as you stop your downwards roll and start rolling back up the wall.
9. When spreading the paint to the outside edges or as you are pushing the paint into the corners of your wall you want to make sure you aren’t pushing copious amount o paint into the corners to make fat edges. For the edges of your wall make sure the side of your roller frame that the sleeve slides up against or the side that disappears into the sleeve is facing away from the wall. (you should always lead with the edge. that means have it facing the over all direction that you are painting) Now push gently and tilting the pole away from the edge that you are rolling into (this will lift the pressure on the edge of the roller closest to the internal corner of the wall and reduce the risk of creating a fat edge in that corner). Roll gently taking your time not to get too close to the other wall.
10. Now that the paint is evenly spread across the wall and all the surfaces are covered you need to apply the finishing roll. This is other wise known as “laying it off” with your now emptied roller start about half a roller width from the corner of the wall at about waist height. Again make sure the part of your frame which going inside the roller sleeve is facing towards the direction that you will applying your next roller full to. Now again slightly tilt the roller pole making your trailing edge of the roller sleeve light to avoid leaving a line of paint. Now roll up and into the top corner of your wall then roll down along the wall taking care again not to get it on the other wall. Once at the bottom roll up to the cornice this time slowly moving your roller as you go about half a roller sleeve width away from the internal corner once at the top. Do this movement over the whole rolling stroke don’t lift off and reposition or slide over then start again for this lay of technique your roller should never lift off the surface. Once at the top go back down again moving 1/2 a roller sleeve over on your way down then at the bottom do it again and keep doing this until you have gone over the entire surface you just applied paint to.
11. Have a quick look to see if you left any lines of paint down your wall form uneven pressure or incorrect technique if it all looks good the start with the applying technique again. if not re do the laying off method until you are happy with it.
12. For the rest of the wall it is exactly the same method as before. only you treat the previous laid off surface as the internal corner of the wall, except for when you get to the spreading it out part and when you lay it off. This time you will go back into your previously laid off surface about 1/2 a roller width when spreading it out and 1 full roller width when laying it off. Again with your laying off technique, start away from where your laying off stroke that goes back into your existing work will finish and at waist height roll up to the full 1 roller distance into the previously laid off surface roll straight down and then start the up down 1/2 roller at a time movement across the wall until you cover all the newly applied paint.
For all surfaces that you roll its the exact same technique. on ceilings though it is worth me mentioning that you start against one edge and work across the ceiling walking backwards. but you apply and lay off the paint exactly the same way. put it on spread it out and roll to the edges then lay it off and you’re done!
Painters tip: Remember to lighten the pressure that you are applying on your roller pole when you are about to change directions to avoid leaving a build up of paint where you changed the direction or other wise known as a “fat edge”.
For more painting & decorating ariticles, hints and tips visit www.askthepainternow.com