Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pin 214: Painting Tips (aka How to Paint While Caring for a Newborn)

We've been in our house over eight years now and there are a few walls that are in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. One problem. . . I hate painting walls. When we were first married we owned a small home that was formerly my husbands bachelor pad. It was covered in blinding hi-gloss white paint on nearly every surface--walls, ceilings, cabinets. Pretty much only the carpet escaped the previous owner's paint sprayer. Before I moved in, we spent hours and hours painting everything in that house. After that, I swore I would never paint again. The first coat of paint that went up in our current house was done by someone we paid to do it.

Besides being eight years old, the paint has been at the mercy of two boys and has crayon, pencil, handprints, spaghetti sauce, and who knows what else smeared on many walls. The nice eggshell finish is not favorable to cleaning this mess off. Our lightswitches are a bit high, so under each switch is this long smear of boy, where they plant their hand and then jump to switch the light on.

Finally, finally, finally I got the motivation to start taking action on these walls. My motivating forces--I am having a baby shower for my sister next month and I just don't want one more round of guests to endure that mess on the walls. Secondly, I have a friend who LIKES to paint. Seriously, if it weren't for her I might have curled up and cried on the bathroom floor for a day or two before actually cracking open the paint can.

My husband and I discussed strategy on painting for a few days before starting. One of the worst parts of painting is the prep work--the taping, and drop cloths, and working around the mess of plastic sheeting. He was certain that we could do this without taping. I, however, was not so sure. But, again, thanks to my paint-loving friend, I forged ahead, sans tape, sans drop cloths.

So my friend and I knocked out the painting job in the boys bathroom in just a few hours--without drop cloths or tape, thankyouverymuch. How did we do it?? Well, first we were just really, really careful. If we smudged an edge it was immediately wiped off. We started out the edges cutting in with angled brushes. Then I remembered I had this edging tool out in the garage. I had tried it before on another painting job but remember it not working so well. I was feeling just brave enough to try it again this day.

Here it is:

So it is this little rectangle thingy with a handle and a couple of wheels on the top. The other side is this super soft pad. 

I was careful not to overload it with paint and rolled the wheeled side along the edges of the ceilings, doors, baseboards, etc.  It worked AMAZINGLY. Using this puppy saved us soooo much time. Apparently the trick I must have missed last time is that you can't get paint on the wheels or you get a big mess on the other side. You can see the old paint on the wheels in the first picture. You can get your own for just a few bucks by clicking here. It was so easy that when my helper had to leave, I was motivated enough to tackle the hallway all by myself. With the baby home. And this is where the pin comes in. . . well, sort of.

I know I had this pinned somewhere but I can't find it now. It was probably under one of those pins with about 8,000 tips to make my life easier--can't get enough of those (who doesn't need an easier life???) Or maybe it was one of those mysterious pins that gets deleted by Pinterest due to some sort of copyright infringement. . .

Original pin:
No image available, since I can't even find the original pin, but the idea behind the pin was that when you are painting, you can put your brush and paint tray in plastic bags to keep them from drying out while you take a break.

The hallway I was about to attack has high ceilings and seven doorways to cut around. No fear here with my edging tool! But, again, I was home alone with my baby who needed to eat frequently, bathe, and be lovingly snuggled back to sleep.

I worked in between these tasks and when I needed to stop I simply stashed my brush or edger or roller in a grocery sack to keep it wet.

My paint tray double bagged

It worked well all evening. I bagged all my different tools as I switched between the brush, the edger, and the roller.  Unfortunately, I didn't have time/energy to finish the whole hallway that first night. I decided to take a gamble on that pin and see if the trick would work through the night. I only had a little paint left in the tray but I bagged the tray and the roller up for the night just to see how long I could push it. 

The next day when I was ready to paint again I pulled everything out and did a little finger test:

While the roller was mostly dry, the paint in the tray was perfect. I had another roller brush so I popped it on and went back to work. I finished the hallway in a few hours and am sooo happy to have it all done.

Total cost: $0 for the plastic bags

Total time: Mere seconds in the midst of a big painting job. Overall I probably spent 6-7 hours painting the bathroom and hallway, but saved so much time by not painting or dragging around drop cloths--not to mention having the big kids traipse around the dropcloths!

Final verdict: Fabulous. I could never have done it with the kids around if I hadn't been able to stop frequently to tend to baby and big kid needs. I would totally use this again. For overnight storage, I would wrap the roller in its own bag to prevent drying out, I had just left it propped on the tray. Now I'm motivated to keep painting the rest of the house, although I need my friend to come back for the living room. The ceilings in there are way too high and intimidating. 


  1. Wrap your rollers and brushes in a plastic bag and pop them in the fridge! They won't dry out and you don't have to wash them every time. I'm painting with a newborn at home and this trick has saved me hours!

  2. Nice article, using great equipment to measure the thickness of your paint will produce you with good information about your stuffs.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your insights. It is very informative and helpful. I might use this as inspiration for my projects. Keep it up! I’m looking forward to your updates.

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