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Block stains with primer
Don't expect regular primer or paint to cover marker or crayon marks; they'll bleed through even several coats of paint. The same goes for water stains. First try to wash off the marker or crayon with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (at home centers) dipped in warm water. If that doesn't work, cover the marks with stainblocking primer (KILZ and B-I-N are two brands). Apply the primer with a roller so the texture will match the rest of the wall. Buy a cheap disposable roller and then throw it away when you're done.
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Paint behind the toilet
If you have a tight spot to paint, remove the pad from an inexpensive paint edging tool and hot-glue the pad to a stir stick. Now you've got a painting tool that will fit behind toilet tanks and radiators. If you shy away from painting projects because of the mess, check out this collection of tips, Paint a Room Without Making a Mess!
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Paint shingles, stucco or brick
With the right tools, paint and technique, you can successfully paint to large areas of cedar shingles (shown), stucco or brick. Buy a roller setup consisting of a heavy-duty roller cage (this is the handle part); top-quality 1/2-in. nap roller covers, one for each color (you'll wash and reuse them); and a roller screen. Our complete tutorial on exterior painting covers everything a DIYers needs to know to get professional-looking results.