Some clever solutions to common painting mistakes

August 20, 2015

Even the most fastidious painters make mistakes. Don't panic if your work looks a little messy, or even if you have a spill. Here are some clever solutions for common problems.

Some clever solutions to common painting mistakes

Dealing with runs

  • Sags and runs are difficult to remove from paintwork.
  • Don't overload your paintbrush and you'll usually avoid this problem.
  • But, if sags or runs do form, don't try to remove them while the paint is still tacky.
  • Wait until the sags or runs dry, then sand back and repaint.
  • In rare, worst cases, you may just have to sand back to the bare wood.

Dealing with spills

  • Act fast if you spill paint.
  • Scrape up as much as you can with a flat-bladed tool, then dab off what's left with dry absorbent cloths.
  • Lift off any remaining traces with clean cloths dampened with cold water (for water-based acrylics) or mineral spirits (for oil-based enamel paints).
  • If you're cleaning a paint spill on fabric using mineral spirits, you'll need to clean off the spirits with dishwashing detergent on a damp cloth.

Dealing with dried paint and stains

  • Repeatedly dampen any stains and tease lumps of paint out of the carpet pile with an old toothbrush.
  • If you have a spill of oil-based enamel paint on your carpet or hard floor, you should be able to remove it with a water-based paint stripper.
  • Test any paint stripper that you use on an inconspicuous corner first.
  • Neutralize the stripper residue with water immediately after you've applied it.

Removing lost brush bristles

  • If you spot a stray brush bristle as soon as it appears, lift it off the wet paint before it gets stuck.
  • Otherwise, wait until the surface is thoroughly dry, then use a scalpel or utility knife to carefully cut it away from the hardened paintwork.

Rub insects off dry paint

  • Small insects sometimes land on wet gloss paint and get trapped.
  • Don't try to remove them when the paint is tacky.
  • Instead, wait until the paint is dry and rub them off with a rag dampened with mineral spirits.

Scrape paint off glass

  • The best tool for removing paint from a windowpane is a purpose-made plastic scraper fitted with a utility knife blade.

Super soaker

  • If you've spilled a large volume of paint and you happen to be a cat owner, then you can soak it up with kitty litter.
  • Just heap the litter on the spill, leave it to absorb for a while, then scoop up and discard.

Keep these clever solutions in mind for when you happen to make a painting mistake, and you'll be able to save yourself some common painting problems.

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