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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

5 painting hacks you need to read before you paint

Updated: Jun 10

DIY dabbler? From painting prep, to storage and paint tin disposal, these tips and tricks will help you save time and money on your home DIY painting projects.

1. Foiled again!

Wrapping your paint brushes and rollers in foil in between uses, saves loads of time wasted washing them out and also saves washing extra paint down the sink. If you line your roller tray with foil before you start, it saves washing it out altogether, as you can just fold the foil up at the end and chuck it straight in the bin saving any paint from actually touching the tray.

Cling film also works, but I find it a bit of a pain to use or alternatively you can use plastic bags which I'm also not a fan of because I'm trying really hard to use less plastic especially single use.

2. Masking tape your paintbrush handle.

I don't know about you but I hate it when paint gets on the metal handle of my paint brushes. If you wrap them overnight as I suggested in tip no. 1 then it's even more likely to happen, so a quick fix is to wrap a piece or two of masking tape around the handle of your paint brush which can be quickly and easily removed when you've finished painting and have washed the remaining paint off.

3. Remove masking tape while the paint is still wet

I've always found the best way to get clean, straight lines when using masking tape for painting is to...

- ensure the surface is clean and dry before you start

- smooth the masking tape down hard onto the surface to ensure there aren't any gaps

- paint over the edge of the tape

- remove the tape while the paint is still wet

- don't try and pull it too fast (slow and steady is key).

Yellow masking tape being peeled back to reveal neat painted line
Top DIY Tip: Peel off the masking tape while the paint is still wet

4. Decant leftover paint

Hands up if you have a few half empty tins of paint stored somewhere in your house or garage? I know I used to have loads, but they were a nightmare when you came to use them again months down the line for the following reasons;

- when you open the lid, flakes of dried crusty paint & even rust sometimes flake into the tin an land on the paint.

- the paint forms a hard dried layer over the top which needs to be removed and is a waste of paint.

- the tins take up lots of room

pale pink paint decanted into a glass jar with green lid.
Top Tip: Decant leftover paint into smaller sealable jars to save space and preserve the paint.

Here's the answer to all these problems... decant any leftover paint into smaller glass jars with lids.The great thing is, you can see through the jars which makes it easier to decipher the colour of the paint rather than having to open the old tins. You can label the jars with the colour, date and room you used them in for ease of reference. The paint won't dry out if its stored in a smaller container and you can make sure it remains airtight with a screwable lid, not easy with the deformed metal tin lids that don't quite fit due to the crusty layers of old paint which have dripped over the tin!

5. Let the tins dry out

If you want to dispose of a tin of water based paint which isn't empty, don't pour the leftover paint down the drain, either pour the paint onto newspaper or cardboard and let it dry so you can roll up the paper & put in the bin or just remove the lid and let the tin dry out. If there's quite a lot of paint left and these first two suggestions aren't going to work then you can add sand or sawdust to speed up the drying process. If you have quite a lot left in the tin and the paint is still in good condition then you could use it for an upcycle project or alternatively advertise it for free collection on Facebook marketplace or similar as local decorating enthusiasts or upcyclers might be able to make use of it. Check with your local council what the rules are for disposing of paint tins as some recycling centres will take them and some won't.

Where next?

Below are some other paint-related posts you might enjoy...

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