Make Your Spray Paint Work Like a Dream
Make sure your spray paint can is ready to go every time!
Quick Fix for Spray Can
When you’re done spray-painting, pour a couple ounces of paint thinner into a small container. Remove the nozzle, shake it in the covered container, then reattach the nozzle to the can. — Richard Ornorff
Pro-Recommended Painting Products for DIYers
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Stak RackIf you're painting cabinet or bedroom doors, or have lots of trim but not a ton of room to lay everything out, grab several pairs of these Stak Racks. Attaching them to doors allows you to paint one side and flip them over without touching the door. Use 2x4’s to make a shelf between a pair of these to stack lots of trim or cabinet doors. Head to Amazon to get a set of 12 for $80 or a set of 4 for $30. Buy it on Amazon now.
Sticky Drop Cloth
We like long, narrow drop cloths, or runners. They're easy to fold and a convenient way to quickly protect the floor alongside the wall you're painting. So of course we were excited to see this improvement over the old standby, canvas. The trouble with canvas drop cloths is that they don't stay put. Sure, you can tape the edges. But with a CoverGrip Safety Drop Cloth like this, you don't have to. The plastic-like material has a slightly tacky surface that keeps the canvas in place on wood, tile, concrete or carpet. Plus, the cloth is solvent- and puncture-resistant, and slip-resistant even when wet. Plus: Learn how to paint a room really fast — seriously.
High capacity nine-inch nap roller coverMinimizing your trips to the roller tray means less opportunity for your roller to drip. A high-capacity roller cover keeps more paint in the nap, which prevents drips and the need to repeatedly go to the paint tray. They run just under $8 on Amazon. Have a painting job? Check out these 10 Interior House Painting Tips & Painting Techniques for the Perfect Paint Job.
Paint Touch-Up in a Pen
Got some dings, scratches or nail holes to touch up? Great. All you have to do is find the old paint can, pry off the lid, stir the paint, find a brush and you're all set. That's assuming the paint hasn't dried out. Or you could keep a Slobproof Paint Pen in your junk drawer and be done in minutes. When you're finished painting a room, just load the pen with matching paint and snap on the cap. Later, when you've got a ding to touch up, give the pen a few shakes and go to it. They're a little spendy, but it's sure hard to beat the convenience. Plus: Check out these 29 painting tool hacks that will get your projects rolling.
Speedy Roller Cleaner
The Rejuv-a-Roller is so easy to use that we don't mind cleaning roller covers. Instead of buying cheap roller covers and throwing them away, we can buy top-quality covers and reuse them. Here's how it works: Slip the roller cover into the tube and plug the end. Then connect the hose to a faucet and turn on the water. When the water runs clear from the bottom holes, the roller is clean. If you own a roller spinner, you can speed up drying and fluff the roller nap by giving it a quick spin. But it's not necessary. Shop Now
Mini Hand Masker
We've tried all kinds of masking tape dispensers and painting tools. But for a simple, affordable way to speed up your masking, it's hard to beat this little applicator from Scotch. After you get a few inches of tape stuck down, hold the dispenser against the surface you're masking and slide it along the wall. Wheels press the tape to the surface, and a built-in cutter slices it off at the end of the run. We applied a straight, accurate line of masking tape along the moldings in this room in record time. The 3M Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape Applicator is refillable and comes with Scotch Edge-Lock tape, a special type of masking tape that prevents paint from creeping underneath. Learn everything you need to know about masking before you start your next painting project. Get this masker now.
How can you go wrong spending less than a dollar for painting tools that simplify paint pouring and reduces a mess? This handy spout snaps onto the rim of a gallon or quart can and directs the paint where you want it. Plus it prevents paint from running down the side of the can and creating a mess on the floor or drop cloth. You'll find these painting tools at home centers and paint stores. Buy a pack of five paint spouts on Amazon now.
Super-Size Paint Tray
Sure, there are other big paint trays out there, but this one holds an entire gallon of paint. The built-in handles of the Handy Paint Tray make it easy to move, and the extra-wide base helps prevent spills. And if you hate paint cleanup (who doesn't?!), you can buy tight-fitting disposable plastic liners. Learn secrets for preserving your paintbrushes and rollers here.
Easy-Clean Chinex Brush
The editors here love Chinex bristle paintbrushes. But it's not just us — our set builder doesn't use anything else, and the pros we talked with agree that paintbrushes made with Chinex bristles are nearly perfect. They work equally well for oil-base and water-base paints. But the best feature of Chinex bristles is how easy they are to clean. Many of the new formulations of water-base paint dry quickly and stick tenaciously to other types of synthetic bristles, leaving you with a tough cleanup job. Chinex bristles solve this problem. Paint rinses out easily, giving you a brush that's "like-new" clean. Corona, Wooster and Purdy make brushes with Chinex bristles. Shop Now
Until we got our hands on one of these Little Giant ladders, we thought they were just another infomercial gimmick. But now that we've had a chance to actually use one, we love it. The Xtreme is Little Giant's do-everything ladder. As on the original Little Giant ladder, each side adjusts independently to give you the option of a four- to seven-foot stepladder. Or you can flip it open to make an extension ladder that extends to 17 ft. One of its best features: The ability to adjust the sides to different heights for use on stairs and uneven ground. You can also take the ladder apart to create two trestles that can support a work plank. This model has several enhanced features, including extra-strong Quad-Lock Hinges, a wide Comfort Step and an Airdeck Workstation. If there's a downside, it's the cost. If this is beyond your budget, the company makes other less expensive ladders with some of the same features.
Custom-Color Stain Markers
You don't have to settle for a stain touch-up marker that's close enough. Get an exact match by loading this Perfect Match Stain Marker with the same stain you used on the project. The pen loads like a syringe. Remove the felt tip, stick the end of the pen into the stain, and pull the plunger back to suck stain into the pen. Remember to stir the stain first. Replace the felt tip and you've got a custom-color stain touch-up marker. Check out some more genius repair products for quick fixes around the house. Get this stain marker today.
Brilliant Paint Bucket
Angle Grinder Dust Catcher
We love using our angle grinder as a paint removal tool. But man, is it dusty! While it's nearly impossible to catch all the dust, this attachment does a pretty good job. A brush skirt around the perimeter and a spring suspension help seal the attachment to the surface. And the vacuum attachment allows you to collect the dust as it's produced. The collector also has a removable segment that allows you to get the grinder in close to edges. Having to drag a vacuum hose along with you as you sand is a little cumbersome. But we haven't found a better way to catch dust from a grinder. Lead paint caution: Houses built before 1978 may contain lead paint. Before disturbing any surface, get a lab analysis of paint chips from it. Contact your local public health department on how to collect samples and where to send them. Get this dust-collection attachment today.
Two Tips in One
Here's a great new product for all of you professional painters out there and for homeowners who own airless sprayers. The TR2 Reversible Tip is a new airless spray gun tip by Titan that lets you switch between a wide and a narrow fan spray pattern without changing the tip. Just rotate the tip 90 degrees to change the pattern. Choose the narrow setting for fascias and trim or the narrow spaces around doors and windows. Then switch to the wide pattern for large areas. It's two tips in one. You'll find these Titan TR2 tips at paint stores and online. Get it on Amazon now.
Great Little Scraper
Several of us on the Family Handyman staff have old houses and spend a lot of time scraping paint. It isn't fun, so anything we can do to reduce the pain is a big plus. That's why we love this little carbide scraper. The triangular carbide blade stays sharp and has three cutting edges, so you won't need to replace it for a long time. It's perfect for cleaning out corners or small areas that are hard to reach with a larger scraper. You can also buy pear-, drop- and round-shaped blades to fit the same handle. Buy the Bahco 625 Premium Ergonomic Carbide Scraper online or look for it at hardware and woodworking stores. Plus: Check out these go-to tips for painting windows. Get it now on Amazon.
Caulk in Any Color
Your kitchen wall is Colonial Green. Your new granite countertop is Arctic Blue. Which color caulk are you going to use to seal the backsplash: white, almond or brown? Don't like those options? Pick up Sashco's eXact color kit and mix one ounce of leftover wall paint into the eXact color tube, shake it up and you've got yourself a tube of Colonial Green caulk. We tried it with orange paint. It came out a little light at first but matched great once it cured. There will be an air bubble or two, which could cause a splatter, so you might want to tape off each side of the bead and plan on tooling it.
Better Roller Pole
Some tools you just have to try to believe, and this Shur-Line Easy Reach extension pole is one. Press the button and pull back with your other hand — the pole extends in both directions like magic. We wouldn't think of rolling paint without a pole. And this pole makes the job even easier. With practically no effort, you can adjust the pole from 30 inches to five feet to dial in the perfect length. Check out the paint roller tips you need to know.
Work Pants with Knee Pads
Leave it to a professional painter like Josh Banks to make painter's pants that really work. He was fed up with pants that wore out and didn't do anything but cover him up, so he set out to design a pair of top-quality painter's pants that actually solve problems. And after a few years of prototypes, he succeeded. The pants have special pockets to hold everything a painter needs, including a handy thigh pocket for your smartphone. But the real clincher is the pair of built-in knee pads. Anyone who's spent a day filling nail holes in baseboards knows how valuable this feature is. The pads are just right. Not so thick that they're bulky, but cushy enough to make kneeling comfortable. These pants, from Armed Work Wear, are available online in white, khaki and black. Get a pair now.
A Better Edge-Painting Tool
Check out another paint roller we like in the video below.
If you don't paint every day, "cutting-in" a room can be frustrating. It's no wonder there have been so many attempts over the years to make a tool that simplifies the task. The Accubrush edge-painting tool is one of the best we've tried. It makes cutting-in quick and easy. With just a little practice, you can paint perfectly straight lines along ceilings and moldings. You'll still have to finish some areas with a brush, though, since the tool can't paint right up to adjacent edges. Connect a pole to the ceiling-edging tool and you can paint along the ceiling without even getting on a ladder. Plus: These are our best tips for cutting in paint.
Pro Masking Tool
Mask off baseboards quickly with a hand-masking tool. It applies the tape to the paper and cuts it to the right length with a twist of your wrist. The 3M Hand-Masker is popular with painting contractors because it provides a fast, affordable and convenient way to cover trim or walls with masking tape, paper and plastic to keep the paint off. But these masking machines aren't just for pros. If you do a lot of painting and are looking for a quick way to protect woodwork, doors, windows and cabinets from paint spatters, have a look. It comes with a six-inch blade that can be extended to 12 inches. These Hand-Maskers hold a roll of masking tape and a roll of paper and apply the tape to the edge of the paper as you pull it out. You use the blade to cut the paper and tape to the desired length. You can even buy a roll of super-thin plastic sheeting and use that instead of paper to cover walls or other large areas.
Handy Paint Pail
We tried all kinds of paint containers and came to a unanimous conclusion: Nothing beats the Handy Paint Pail because it has a comfortable, stretchy rubber handle that makes the pail easy to hold with one hand. Better yet, a magnetic brush holder lets you suspend the brush in paint when it's not in use so the bristles don't dry out. And disposable liners are available so you can avoid the messy job of cleaning the paint pail once you're done. These are the top 10 interior painting tips you need to know. Order it for your next painting project.
Hot Paint Stripper
Remove old paint with heat instead of chemicals. Stripping paint is tough work no matter how you do it. But we like this tool because it eliminates nasty chemicals and dangerous dust. Old-timers may remember using torches to loosen paint for scraping. The Speedheater uses infrared heat to do the same thing, but at a lower, safer temperature. Then remove the paint with a sharp scraper while it's still warm. You don't have to worry about burning down your house or breathing dangerous fumes caused by vaporized lead in the paint. It does get hot, so make sure to follow the instructions and safety precautions carefully.
Easy-Off Roller Frame
There are a lot of roller frames on the market, but we like this one the best. Like other premium roller frames, it's sturdy, so it doesn't bend when you apply pressure. And it has better bearing surfaces than cheap frames for easy, squeak-free rolling. But the feature that really sets this roller frame apart is the quick-release springs that hold the roller cover firmly in place while you're rolling and yet release easily when you want to remove the roller for cleaning. You simply rap the metal frame against the edge of a bucket or laundry tub and the roller cover pops off—no more struggling to get a slippery, paint covered roller cover off the frame. Sherlock frames also have a hexagon recess and holes in the bottom of the handle to accept a matching Sherlock extension pole. Plus: Do you know these handy measuring hacks all DIYers should know? Get one on Amazon now.
Quick-Connect Paint Pole
When it's time to paint, this is the extension pole we fight over. Clip on the roller frame, adjust the length and go. In seconds, you're rolling walls or ceilings with a pole that's the perfect length. The quick-connect feature allows you to easily connect and disconnect the roller frame without having to screw and unscrew the pole. In addition, the pole is hexagon-shaped to prevent it from spinning, and is super easy to extend. Just push the button to release. Then pull in or push out the top section until the spring-loaded pin drops into a hole in the pole to lock it in place. The Sherlock GT Convertible shown here (the 2-ft. to 4-ft. size) includes a screw-in adapter that stores in the handle and allows you to convert any roller frame into a quick-connect version. Order one before your next painting project.
Brush and Roller Spinner
Our Field Editors don't like cleaning up painting gear, so it's no surprise that this brush and roller spinner is one of their choices for best painting gear. You'll find roller spinners at any good paint store or here. A few quick handle pumps is all it takes. But be sure to keep the roller in a bucket or deep sink to avoid a mess. It's actually possible to paint a room without making a mess. Get a roller spinner here.
Most Comfortable Brush
Our Field Editors loved this little brush from Wooster because it's so darned comfortable to hold. But they also liked being able to get into tight spots where the long handle of a conventional brush would be in the way. You'll find Wooster ShortCut brushes at paint stores and home centers. Purdy's XL-Cub is a similar small-handled brush. Get the XL-Cub on Amazon now.
Heat Gun Control
My old heat gun had just one control — me. I controlled the temp by how far I held the gun from the surface. So I love my new Wagner heat gun. The fan has five speeds, and the heat can be adjusted from a balmy 120 degrees F to a blistering 1,200 F. And it has a digital display, so you can dial in exactly the temperature you're after. I can stoke the heat to bubble away layers and layers of paint, or I can lower it to remove that political bumper sticker I'm now embarrassed to showcase. It can also stand up on its own, which comes in handy for heating shrink tape around wire connections. — Mark Petersen, Associate Editor.
Pro Sprayer, Homeowner Price
A paint sprayer can slash the time of many tedious painting projects. The Graco Project Painter Plus is a powerful pro-grade sprayer made by one of the leaders in the field, but it's a painting tool priced for homeowners. I used it last year to stain two decks, and it saved me days of work. I especially liked it for staining the underside of a second-story deck; overhead work is a terrible job with a brush. The Painter Plus comes with a gun and a 25-ft. hose. It's light and portable and has a flexible supply hose, so you can paint straight from a can or bucket. Cleanup is simple; just flush it with a garden hose. Excellent instructions are included, which is important because sprayers are powerful tools that should be used with care and maintained properly. If you're in the market for a sprayer, The Project Painter Plus is a great choice. — Ken Collier, Contributing Editor. Plus: we'll show you how to paint your own kitchen cabinets with a sprayer here. Buy this awesome sprayer on Amazon now.
Originally Published: December 14, 2018