Frank Lloyd Wright Quote

"Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union"

Frank Lloyd Wright

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Joy of Painting

Ahhh, "The Joy of Painting". That reminds me of another place, another time: summers in college spent sitting on the couch watching PBS while the late, great Bob Ross taught and inspired us. I miss that guy. Never before or since has there been any one quite like him.

But I digress. I wanted to talk about how much fun painting can be with the right tools. Before I started working on this house the only thing I ever painted were the walls in new houses using a roller. That is certainly satisfying, but trim painting (with a brush) is way more rewarding! Here are a few of my favorite items that I have discovered since starting on this little journey.

Get yourself some good quality brushes. I am hooked on Purdy brushes (made right here in Portland). These cost between $4 and $18 each, but they are worth every penny. I can count the number of lost bristles from all 4 of these brushes on one hand. The handles are very comfortable, and they wash up nicely. Speaking of washing up, be sure to get a brush comb if you don't already have one. It makes washing brushes a breeze. The fat 2.5" brush takes about 90 seconds to clean with running water and a brush comb.

The HANDy Pail and the Paint-n-Pour gallon lid are two of my favorite accessories. The pail has an adjustable strap that works great, and a magnet to hold your brush out of the paint. It also has disposable inserts available, but I just wash mine out each time I use it.
The Paint-n-Pour lid is great because you can unscrew the cap and pour paint without making a mess all over the front of the can. It also has a lid that opens so you can use a brush with the can. It fits well enough that I leave it on a can for several days without any dried out paint forming on the inside.

I have been using Devine trim paint which is luxuriously thick and rich, but a little too thick to get good results with a brush. I thin it a little with Floetrol and it goes on like butter (or yogurt, as the can says).

Finally, a word about prep. Make sure to take the time to properly prep your walls and trim. I have found that painting the walls with a roller only requires one coat if I'm painting on top of primer. Two are needed if painting on top of old paint. It may sound like "six of one; half dozen of the other" but remember, primer is cheaper, it dries faster, and the top layer sticks to it better.

One more word about primer. I've been priming and painting a lot of bare wood lately and I find it works best to sand the wood first, then apply a thin coat of primer. When the first coat of primer is dry go back over and do a second coat right away. Then sand the primer with a fine grit sandpaper. I usually do this before I cut any of the trim. I do my measuring and cutting on the primed wood and then sometimes I'll do a first topcoat before installing it and then do a final finish coat post-installation. Other times I'll do one or two finish coats after it's all installed. It all depends on how much cutting and handling I'll be doing with the wood.

I hope you found this useful. Now go get to work!


  1. I, too, LOVE Purdy brushes... a painter recommended them to me, and now I own FOUR. They cut in so much better and cleaner... and they paint such STRAIGHT lines without effort!

  2. We love the Wooster brushes; a little pricey, but you're so right-- they make a world of difference. My dad was in construction and I don't think he ever used a roller-- just a few good brushes! You certainly get what you pay for.

  3. Loooove Floetrol. I never paint trim without it anymore.

  4. I second the Floetrol comment. I really like it. I use it for both brushing and spraying latex.