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Painting 101

How to Prepare a Painting Kit

Before you begin a painting project, be prepared by putting together a "painting kit."

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  • A typical painting kit includes patching paste, a putty knife, a drop cloth, plastic gloves, paint thinner, primer and a paint-can opener. Note: Do not open a paint can with a flat-head screwdriver, as this can damage the lid.

  • Be sure to purchase plenty of painter's masking tape, assorted paintbrushes and a paint roller and roller cover. It would also be helpful to add an extension bar to your kit. It will help you reach the ceiling and will allow you to stand away from the wall to prevent spatters of paint on your clothes.


  • The paint kit should include a paint pot and a roller tray with a disposable liner. If you plan to paint a large area, include a 5-gallon bucket with a screen grid for removing excess paint from the roller.


  • No paint kit would be complete without a multipurpose paint tool, which can be used to clean caulk, pull nails, clean roller covers, apply putty or glaze, scrape paint and drive nails. Finally, be sure the kit includes safety glasses to prevent paint spatters from getting in your eyes.


  • When selecting paintbrushes, choose nylon- or synthetic-bristle brushes for use with latex paint and natural-bristle brushes for oil-based paints, stains and varnishes. Paint-roller covers come in different naps and textures. Unless you plan to apply texture to the wall, use shorter naps for smooth surfaces and longer naps for textured surfaces.


  • Instead of dipping the paintbrush directly into the paint can, use a paint pot, which is wider than a standard paint can. When loading the brush, dip half the length of its bristles into the paint. Slap the brush against the side of the pot to remove excess paint, and remove the brush. Hold the brush up at an angle to hold the paint. As you apply the paint to the wall, the friction will draw paint from the brush.


  • Drill holes in the paint stick to help mix paint more thoroughly. To keep paint from drying in a half-empty can, fill any air space by dropping old golf balls into the can. A common problem known as "hatbanding" occurs when painters use a paintbrush for cutting in and a roller to apply the rest of the paint, thus producing a different texture along the ceiling and trim. To prevent hatbanding, roll the paint as close to the cut-in areas as possible.
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