Things I Learned While Painting…

My actual freshly painted living room (you can also see the kitchen in the background)

Somewhere around six years ago (a number I arrived at by remembering one of my children was an infant at the time and truly hoping it wasn’t ten years ago because that would just be sad) I decided I wanted to paint the interior of my house.

We bought everything we needed for the project.  Paint, painters tape, rollers, edging tool, paint brushes, plastic for covering things, trays to hold paint…you get the idea.  I’m sure it was a lot of money spent, I can’t really remember.  Anyway one day while my infant was napping and my husband was at work (I think) I decided to get started on the kitchen.  I taped off everything, I painted the walls.  Then, hours later, I taped off the walls and painted the trim.  It looked great.  I was tired and sweaty, but it looked great.  I remember pulling off the blue painters tape, anticipation at the crisp lines filling me with joy.  Only that’s not what happened.  The blue tape pealed away and revealed all the places it had allowed the red trim color to bleed over onto the freshly painted wall.  It’s safe to say I lost the spark there.  I was so frustrated.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I waited approximately five years to do something about that (if the earlier math holds up).  About a year ago (thanks, Timehop) I decided I needed to finish painting and fix the kitchen paint job.  A little research told me it was the stupid blue tape to blame for my ragged lines (spend the money, buy the green stuff).  While waiting for my stove to be delivered I painted one wall of the living room.  I did it the same way, taped off the trim and painted the wall.  Taped off the wall and painted the trim.  The new tape did a MUCH better job.  The lines were crisp and satisfying.  But then we got busy.  Like really, really busy.  I never had time to finish the rest.

So this Spring Break I decided to do something about it.  My sister and I have teamed up and we are finishing the entire job.  It’s 8 AM on the third day and I can finally see that we just may have it done today.  For sure it will be done this week.  I’m excited and I’m ready for it to be done.  But I’m taking a quick minute to share what I have learned while painting.  So if you’re still with me after this long setup…here’s what I’ve learned.

My sister and I make a good team.  It took a lot of years spent screaming, door slamming, and generally making each other miserable but as adults we really do work well together.  The setting down of a brush to stretch or handle the kids only to have the other person pick it up and just keep going really rocks.  So does both people working a project having that “holy cow, I’m done for the day” moment at the same time.

I’m good at the little details. Taping was probably my number one contribution to this project, once we got good tape.

My sister is more patient than I am.  For this reason she is better with the darker colors.  The ones that have to be applied with a slow, careful hand in order to not be streaky.

My children are not good painters.  They want to be.  They think they are.  But unless you want to come behind them and fix it, don’t hand them the paint brush (or roller).

I hate paint rollers.  Don’t get me wrong, I love how much area they cover quickly.  I just hate how they send little paint particles all over everything nearby (like your hair, your eyes, and your clothing).

The devil is in the details.  Pictures have to come down, cover plates have to be removed, everything that you don’t want paint on has to be taped or covered, and it all takes a really long time.

Second coats make all the difference.  Dark colors looked kind of light until the second coat, and then I loved the color.  Light colors looked almost uneven until the second coat, and then I loved the color.

Even when you think you’re done…you’re not.  Clean up is insane.  It may actually be easier to clean up after your children have friends over.  You have to rinse out everything that held paint for an absurd amount of time.  One second too short and you’ll have hard edge bristles next time that are basically useless.  You have to let the paint dry and take all that tape down.  Then you have to put all the furniture back.  Honestly between set up and clean up, the real painting part takes almost no time at all.

I hate painting.  Actually I love the brush strokes and the quiet moments.  I hate all the prep work.  I also hate the cleaning afterwards.  Too much work.

Speaking of work, I should probably get back to it.  Wish me luck!

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