I love gadgets so I’m always getting suckered into buying stuff to try. The stuff that doesn’t work either sits in the basement and gathers dust (because I don’t paint) or gets given away. So, here are the fruits of my gadget buying and painting labor (in no particular order):
1. Card of a good painter. (I cannot recommend this enough.)
2. Butcher Paper, Masking Paper, Painter’s Paper. I don’t know what you call it but it is a big 3 foot tall roll of thick paper. The last two times we painted, we taped this paper to the floor to paint. This technique is so much better than drop cloths or anything else I’ve tried. I like the type that is about 3 feet wide. On the safety front, it doesn’t slip if it is taped down and there are no edges to trip on. You can roll it up and use it over and over. It protects floors from paint so well. We had some we got from the paint store and needed more for this job so I bought the Blue Hawk brand from Lowes. It wasn’t nearly as good – it tore much more easily and was harder to work with. It caused a trip hazard because it didn’t tape well. Sweetie taped up the whole floor this time. So much easier than worrying about dripping (or cleaning up drips.) There is no Goof Off on this list because with Painter’s Paper you don’t need it. Except for the paint that is still there from the bad bad bad painter years ago.3. Stiff (metal) brush to clean off paintbrushes. Also a scrubby sponge. Karen taught me how to clean a brush really well. These are both important things for good brush cleaning. My brushes used to make it three or four jobs before they were too hard to use. Not anymore. These are the toothbrush style metal brushes you can buy in any paint department. The best one I’ve ever had was actually a golf brush – the ones you clean your golf cleats and clubs with.
4. Good Roller Covers. Until recently, it was my dream to each time buy new roller covers and just throw away the old ones. There is a problem with this dream – good roller covers are hard to find. In fact, I know from experience, you can buy $15 roller covers that leave your walls covered with lint that looks like little body hairs and is practically impossible to then remove from your dining room wall, even if you spend hours with a scraper (See #12) and tweezers picking off each individual lint particle. Even if you use your lint roller on the cover before using it. It turns out, you can buy a roller cover for half that, use your lint roller on it, and it won’t fuzz up your wall. And it continues to work well even after being used for years. I still have a dream about just being able to throw away roller covers. The roller covers we used this time were microfiber and cost 4.99 each. We rolled them with the lint roller and dampened them before we used them. There were no problems with lint. I don’t know what brand we used. I did a search and found these Purdy microfiber rollers. They are $15 each. You would have to be the judge if you want to spend that much. Microfiber rollers don’t last “forever” (based on reviews) but two or three of them should last through a whole house paint job.
5. Five in one type tool with the half circle cut out. This allows you to scrape so much paint out of the roller – and given how much paint costs these days (OMG! I remember when I thought $30 was a ton for Pratt and Lambert) you don’t want to let it get washed down the sink – not to mention the less than great impact that washed away paint has on the environment. It also makes cleaning rollers go much more quickly.6. A good roller. Yes, this sounds elementary but for years I suffered with a roller that slowly forced the roller covers off the end as you rolled and made you stop to push them back on. It helps if the roller is lightweight. A good roller needs a good rolling mechanism (may sound stupid but that is something I test when I buy them, how easily they spin.)
7. Paint brush and roller cover spinner. This one of those “I had one of these and loaned it to someone and never got it back,” tools. I need to buy a new one. It really gets brushes and roller covers clean faster and more easily. Worth every penny.
8. Paint lid with collapsible spout. It actually works. I used to swear by those little lips that fit in the can to help you pour. This is ten times better. It can be left on until you are done and keeps paint from drying out or spilling. And if you are concerned about these things, like I am, it keeps paint from getting on your paint can. (Also, I’m using the Farm and Fleet link here because when I grew up, I loved going to Farm and Fleet – they had a great toy section at Christmas and Granimals all year long. This fact amuses many of my friends today who think the existence of a place called “Farm and Fleet” is a great joke from the universe.)
9. Great Step Ladder. This ladder was my birthday gift this year and I love it. Seriously love it. I have lusted after it for a number of years. Coming from a work environment where safety is paramount, having a very safe ladder is extremely important. Also, I may have personally fallen off a cruddy step ladder painting a ceiling at one point in the past. I love the big top step and the handle to lean against. And the work tray is key – so lovely to have a place to safely put things and not have to climb up and down. It is nice to have two heights of ladder so you can use the big step for what you are doing. I’d say a safety must – but it does seem extravagant to have more than one. You may want to get a Little Giant if you need it to hold more than 225 lbs.
10. Handy Paint Cup with Magnet. I’ve used lots of things to hold paint for my brushes but this one is great. It has a great handle that is easy to hold, it is a nice size, deep enough that your brush will not fall out. And the magnet is nice. If you get too much paint over it or on the brush handle, it won’t work as well. Definitely worth $3. Best invention ever!
11. Extension Poles. I painted my first condo (dark red, 4 coats) just with rollers. Five years later, I went to help a friend paint. She used a pole with her roller. It was a revelation! How much easier is it to paint with a pole? So much easier! How had I never known this? You need several different lengths and, IMO, they need to have some nice flex in them. They are great for washing windows outdoors too. I’m a proponent of ones that don’t flex.
12. Razor Scraper. My dad gave me this and it has been one of the handiest tools in my toolbox for almost any job I’ve had. It seems there are no end of places you need this when painting. For old dried up drips, old caulk, and almost everything else. There are a bunch of different types and sizes, but this red one is very special to me and I will be very sad if I ever lose it or break it. It makes me partial to the ones with the angled out razor blades.
13. Rubber Hammer. I know this sounds silly, but it does a much better job of putting a lid back on.
14. Paint can opener. No, a flat head screwdriver doesn’t work as well. I don’t know why, it just doesn’t. These things are $0.50 and work better than a screwdriver. Just get some and use them. Plus, they look nice and organized hanging on your pegboard.