Thrifty Supplies for Bad Painters

>> 7.09.2010

I even fooled Nate into thinking I did a good job on this one :).

My #1 painting secret? I'm really bad at it! I read and reread all of the blog tutorials, but no matter what I try, I seem to make painting mistakes! Drips, scratches, lumps... you name it and I'll make it happen when I paint something.
Thankfully, I've found a few supplies that make it at least look like I know what I'm doing:


1. Black/ semi-gloss/ oil-based paint- Why? The black disguises, the gloss distracts, and the oil drys slowly to cover my mistakes. I know, it's not likely that I'll be able to use this paint for everything, but I'll always go with black when I'm torn between that and another color.

2. Lint-free rags- This is such an easy product to try and skip, but it's never worth it to wipe down furniture with household towels that leave lint behind! I buy mine from Lowe's for around $2 a bag. 

3. Cheap Dollar Tree brushes and rollers- Logic would say that I would want to use the nicest painting supplies possible... but logic would also say that as a grown-up I'd be able to figure out how to clean those suckers off. Nope, I'll stick with using a fresh brush/ roller each time I need one (for $1 or less). I'd rather pick out a few stray hairs than to have a stiff, half clean brush creating streaks in my paint job.
*I would not recommend any of the Dollar Tree's $1 sandpaper.


3. The magic eraser AKA 3M Between Coats Finishing Pads- I was curious to see how this cheapo $2 product (comes in 2-pack at Lowe's) worked and I was soooo happy with the results! I  used it like sandpaper inbetween coats and it smoothed out almost all of the imperfections in my paint job!!

4. Minwax Wipe-on Poly- I love this because it's super easy to use and keep from messing up. Plus, the shiny protective finish that it leaves on the furniture serves as one last distraction from any remaning blemishes in the paint.

I would highly recommend any of the above products to those of you who want a nice finish on your furniture without putting a lot of money or effort into making things perfect!

What are your favorite painting supplies?

PS While I'm not so great at painting, I'd say that I'm pretty awesome at staining! Check out everything I learned about staining here and here.

12 comments:

k + b July 9, 2010 at 10:17 AM  

I actually laughed out loud at this because I'M really horrible at painting!! I think it's a lack of patience thing with me but I dont know... I just know I'm bad but never admit it.. Until now. Anyway, this tips are definitely going to be helpful. Thanks!

Danielle and Clint July 9, 2010 at 10:43 AM  

It's not easy to paint furniture! I always make mistakes and have to disguise it some how. Sometimes when I am scrapping off old paint, I will scrap too hard and make a bad scratch in the wood. Wood putty is usually my best friend then.

Kim July 9, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

I didn't know they made the between coats sanding things, I'll have to give them a try. I know what you mean about cleaning out brushes--I've had paint store guys tell me a good brush would last "forever".

Livinia Redlips July 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

What exactly is wipe on poly? How do you use it? Do you put it on after the paint is dry to make the surface hard/durable and shiny? Thanks for any info!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog July 9, 2010 at 12:47 PM  

@Kim~ I swear I've tried using "good brushes" but I just end up ruining them! I'm sure that professionals have a much higher level of skill though :).

@Livinia Redlips~ It's basically a protective coat that adds a bit of shine to the finish. There are instructions on the can, but all you really need to do is pour some on a lint-free cloth then wipe it on the furniture (just like you would if you were cleaning a tabletop). It's always good to gently sand and do another coat.

Mrs. Chic July 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

darn it, I just bought some $ 1 tree sandpaper - I couldnm't find my good stuff - lol, pretty please tell me it might work ok?

great tips, I do have two good brushes I love to death like my babies :)

Oonafey July 9, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

I suck at painting too, which makes projects around my house take For.Ev.Er.
Thanks for the tip on the between coats sanding pads!

Dayka (Life +Style) July 9, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

i love the brushes and the link-free rags, too. i'll have to check out the 3M thing you mentioned. your piece looks great!

Kerry at just-you-wait July 10, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Great list! You've got a few products on here that I've never heard of, and would definitely like to try (hopefully they're available in Canada!).
I agree with you on throwing out paint rollers after a single use, (though the ones from my local dollar store proved too 'linty' so I upgraded to some middle-of-the-road ones from the hardware store), because I could never seem to get them clean enough to re-use.
I was introduced to a 'good' brush awhile back that is so good I'll be treating it like gold for as long as it lasts. I was shocked at how much better it was than the dollar store ones. The trick for cleaning it was the best part, though - use a small wire brush (a bit bigger than a toothbrush, sold in a 4-pack at the dollar store) under hot running water and it comes clean in mere minutes. Works like a charm!
(I've only done this with water-based paint, but the wire brush part should still work for other types of paints)

Jeremy from We Took The Bait July 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM  

I don't think our local dollar stores carry paint brushes, but I've found that soft-bristled toothbrushes are aces at cornering and detail work. You can get a six pack of the soft brushes for a dollar.

Jeremy from We Took The Bait July 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM  

I don't think our local dollar stores carry paint brushes, but I've found that soft-bristled toothbrushes are aces at cornering and detail work. You can get a six pack of the soft brushes for a dollar.

Alexis L., The Studioist July 12, 2010 at 9:50 AM  

My favorite painting supply is Tints-All. I frequently am unable to get the exact shade I want at retail and this $2 product helps me really nail the color I want. Blogged here: http://www.studioist.com/painting-on-the-cheap/

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