I would never profess to be a painter, but I am not afraid to open a paint can and dab away at a boring room or an old piece of furniture. The lack of fear doesn’t necessarily make me do a good job, it just means that I am not afraid to try, and if I mess up, it is my own home, and I’ll try my best to fix it.
From small picture frames to bedrooms and countertops, I have learned that painting is an unpredictable process (and there is a lot of “p’s” in this sentence). Just when I think I have it all figured out, the color will not be as expected, a paint can will rust without warning, or I will accidentally spray sunshine yellow all over my new, black shoes.
Some things are best left to the professionals, but before you make the call there are a few DIY paint repairs and ideas that you really (really) can do yourself.
FRESHEN UP BIKES, LIGHT FIXTURES, PICTURE FRAMES, CANDLESTICKS, DECORATIVE DISHES, CHAIRS ETC
Spray paint is a great, fun fix for old and dated items. Just remember to practice a bit first; give it light, slow sweeping coats (too heavy and saturated will make it drip) and I find that it is best to always do it outside (the mist can reach much further than you can ever imagine) wear old clothes and shoes, and put up newspapers or tarpaulin to protect your deck, patio, fence etc. Personally, I do any spray paint projects on the grass, away from the house, then mow over it.
For old chairs, dressers and tables, you can either sand and saturate them with paint, use a very dry brush to give them a worn, antique look, or rub and dab on some diluted color with a damp cloth to see what happens. I wouldn’t do this on anything too precious, but painting a flea market find, or refreshing an outdated piece, is a good way to while away a few hours.
FIX CORNER NICKS
You know those little annoying corners that you and the children bang into, and because the room has been painted so many times it chips off sometimes? Just spot paint them. If you have extra house paint, use that to dab onto the corner nicks, but if not, try mixing some colors from your kids paint box, or go to the craft store and look for a paint color that matches. It doesn’t get much wear, so it doesn’t have to be the exact right type of paint. Layer it, let it dry for a few hours, then add another. Three or four times should be plenty. Use a cotton bud, eye shadow sponge, your finger, or a small art brush. It will wear off again over time, but it will be a good fix for a year or two, and saves repainting the entire room.
WATER DAMAGE STAINS
This is for old, you-are-sure-the-water-and-the-walls-and-ceiling-have-really-dried-out stains because if you paint while they are still damp, you will lock in the moisture and cause a heap of trouble. Use a stain blocker (in a similar or identical color to the ceiling or wall) and dab it onto the stain. I find that a damp cotton cloth is often easier than a brush, and several light layers are better than one, as you can feather it as you go, and it won’t be as new looking. If it is in a very obvious place, try diluting the paint with a little water (if it is water based) dabbing it on gently, then letting it dry. Leave it for a day, then see what you think. Even softening the look of the stain will make a world of difference.
DOOR KNOBS, LIGHT SWITCH COVER AND HARDWARE
I have painted all of my light switch covers, and most of my door knobs. The outside door knobs I painted with an antique copper finish, and the light switch covers I paint to match whichever room they are in. It is ridiculously easy, makes your home look a little more personal, and lasts until it wears off – which by my estimation is coming up on twenty five years.
A few DIY Paint Notes:
- I find that the original spray paints are the best quality, and have more staying power than the new, more specialized finishes.
- Sometimes, it is easier to spray a bit of paint onto a plastic plate, then paint from that with a small (disposable) brush. If you do this, be prepared, as it dries quickly and is quite sticky.
- I have had no luck with the paint that is made exclusively for plastics – it chips off at the first sign of use.
- Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint is always in my closet. I have used it to paint my chandelier (which is brass, and I didn’t even prime it first), the stand of my floor lamp, my walls (several upstairs and downstairs), labels on Mason Jars, my bathroom floor (with a polyurethane over it for durability) and my outside light fixtures and lamp post.
- Acrylic paint will wash off your hands with soap and water (and dries within a few hours). Oil based and Spray Paint is a lot more difficult to get off your skin (wear gloves) and can take a few days to dry.
- No matter what google says, sometimes paint is impossible to remove from your clothes, hair and shoes.
- When painting anything near electricity, turn the power off, cover the outlet or socket with painters tape, and paint carefully with a brush rather than using a spray (which could easily get inside the wiring).
- If you’re not confident in the beginning, just try a very small, easy fix; the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but the best is that it will.