7 expert pointers for handling paint

Once you’ve mastered a few techniques for neat
and accurate paint handling, your work will never
be marred by drips or splashes again. Here are seven expert pointers to help you on your way.

  1. A manual paint stirrer is more effective if it has several holes along its length. With each stroke the paint flows back and forth through the holes, allowing for faster, more thorough blending. You can buy a perforated metal stirrer, or make your own wooden one. To make your own, find a long flat piece of scrap wood and use a drill to make a series of small holes. Rinse your stirrer thoroughly after use to prevent the holes from getting clogged with dried paint.
  2. An electric drill mixing attachment is handy for stirring water-based and oil-based paints, but don't use the attachment to stir lacquer, epoxy paint or shellac, or indeed any finish that has the words 'do not shake' printed on its label. Power-mixing these sorts of products will stir up a mass of unwanted air bubbles that can spoil the final finish. Always stir them by hand.
  3. To make your own power mixing attachment for small jobs you can attach a beater from an old kitchen mixer to your electric drill. This makeshift attachment will work well in one litre (one quart) cans, but the shaft is too short to reach the bottom of four litre (one gallon) cans. Use on slow speed only to avoid creating air bubbles.
  4. Cut off the top of a clean 1 litre (1 quart) cardboard milk carton and use it as a container for mixing (or holding) small amounts of paint. The paint won't stick to the wax-coated interior, and the corner of the carton makes a good pouring spout.
  5. Here's another way to contain the mess when stirring a full can of paint. Wrap folded sheets of newspaper around the paint can so they form a tall collar, and secure them with tape. Spills and splashes will fall on the paper instead of your workbench.
  6. Paint colour may vary from one can to the next. If you have to open a new can in the middle of a wall, the difference may be noticeable. It's best to estimate the amount of paint you'll need and mix it in a single large container.
  7. You can mix paints of various hues and gloss levels, as long as they have the same base: water or oil.

Keep these seven expert pointers in mind to help you neatly mix and handle paint.

7 expert pointers for handling paint
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