1/ Painting is very boring but it is not difficult. If you are up to balancing with one leg on various unsafe structures, then there is absolutely no need to pay someone else to do it although I can absolutely see why you might want to, so don’t feel bad.
2/ Painting is like sewing, it is all in the preparation, which takes oh god yawn forever, and the actual painting is very quick. As a rule of thumb the more time you spend preparing the better your room will look, so although it is counter-intuitive for me to say this, don’t think, oh I can’t be arsed, and dive straight in. No! First range your tools! You will need:
|I have run out of masking tape, oh no|
4/ A small brush for edges – all of them lose bristles, so you can buy a cheap one – and something bigger to cover more space. Do not buy a roller. They spray everywhere, and the hairy cylinder flies off and hits the carpet/ toddler/ afghan hound, it all goes wrong. Buy a Paint Pad with a small handle. If you are painting your hallway you can use the handle to tie it to the (non-hairy) end of a brush for greater length. Also you need a paint tray (these are very cheap).
|Paint pad, tray and brush. Keep that mess contained. Lock up the cat|
6/ Now prepare your room. Have a wipe/ hoover round all the walls (because you would be surprised how cobwebs can accumulate), and clean with a damp cloth the tops of door frames, skirting boards, or anywhere that is liable to be dusty, because if dust gets on your brush, your surface ends up gritty. If you have any cracks/ holes anywhere, stick some polyfilla on (I just use a spoon and then smudge it with kitchen roll). It only takes about an hour to dry, and then you can sand it down.
7/ Now, stick masking tape all around every edge that will come into contact with paint: every single one. Skirting boards, tiles, doors, cupboards, light switches, overhead light fittings, everything. However tidy you are generally, assume you are going to be throwing paint at this room like a drunken monkey. Because you are.
|Can you see? Like a drunken monkey. Buy that masking tape and use it!|
9/ This is just a tip which was passed on to me by my mother and which I now pass on to you. If you paint everything in your house white, you can use leftover paint easily and also you never have to be too accurate. My mother hyperventilates however if she is in a room which is painted anything other than white or magnolia so this is a better tip for her than for people who like colour, however everything I have ever painted I have painted white* and I can vouch for it working.
*Because partner only likes white. Yes, we have had the argument, we have had it many times.
10/ Now you are ready to paint, ha! Open your tub, stir it round with a spoon. With your small brush, paint lines along all the masking taped edges for a couple of inches, also in the join between the wall and the ceiling, around every light fixture and all the skirting boards. Also, if there are any angles between walls or on walls, paint there as well. This is because your paint pad will only do flat surfaces and cannot cope with corners or detail, so you do all the edges first and then just fill in the big bits.
11/ Fill in the big bits with your paint pad. Have a damp cloth ready and wipe up any bits of paint that go awol (wipe them up properly otherwise you end up with a smear and that is worse).
12/ Wait about 3 hours and give it all a second coat.
13/ The first time you leave the house either after or during a painting session, look at yourself in the mirror. You will have a large splodge of paint somewhere surprising. It is best that you find this out yourself, rather than have to have the bus driver tell you.
Make sure to have plenty of cups of tea and biscuits, and – and this is important – stop before you are exhausted. Painting is surprisingly tiring and you can’t just lay down your brush and walk away, you have to wash it (emulsion: wash under running tap, brush brush on newspaper to dry, squeeze water out of paint pad then lay on paper. Gloss: fill jar with white spirit, put brush in, later brush newspaper until dry) and sort everything out. Oh God, and I have got to gloss tomorrow! Anyway, the bathroom is looking much better. It’s white, since you were wondering. With white tiles. And a very pale grey floor.
All this does is prove to me that you can never escape your upbringing.