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Workshop Series – Tips, A Link Party & Giveaways


Welcome to special installment of the workshop series brought to you by Mustard Seed Creations and Funky Junky Interiors!  Girls, I have a treat in store for you.  My blog friend, Marianne from Songbird, has graciously agreed to write a guest post with all kinds of tips and tricks to improve your painting.  As a decorative artist and the owner of my own decorative painting and home decor business, I thought I knew a lot about painting.  Marianne showed me that I was a fool.  I learned a lot by reading her post and I’m sure you will as well.  I have a link party listed below, so you can share your decorative painting efforts and enter a giveaway for a set of acrylic paints provided by DecoArt.  There’s a lot going on in this post, so hang on to your hat…

Don’t forget to check out what Funky Junk Donna is up to today.  There’s a link party and giveaway that you won’t want to miss out on over there as well! So, without further delay, here’s Marianne!
Hi there, I am Marianne from Songbird and I am your guest writer for today. Before I begin I must admit that I was totally in awe and super excited when the lovely Miss Mustard Seed gave me the opportunity to guest post in her Workshop Series. That is until panic set in and I realized that I am just a fumbling amateur when it comes to painting and that I have no business here writing for this professional painter’s blog.
But I guess most of you are amateurs too and maybe you will find it reassuring to talk about painting from one klutz to another (not that I want to accuse you of being a klutz, it’s just I am!).
So I thought let’s share some beginner’s painting tips. I am sure many of you will go “Duh, I knew that already”, but I hope a few will also make you think “Duh, why didn’t I think of that”. All tips are gathered, discovered, thought up and used by yours truly.

1. It’s all in the preparation If you are anything like me, you will forever procrastinate starting a new project and when you do decide to get on with it, you will want to dive in head first and start painting right away. Not a good idea. Always and I repeat always start with cleaning, degreasing and sanding your piece first. It makes the painting so much easier and looking better. Thrust me on this, I have regretted not following my own advice more times than I wish to remember.
2. Prepare your paint

If you store your paint in the garage, garden shed or basement. Try to remember to bring it in to warmer temperatures at least a day before you start painting. Cold paint doesn’t paint very well.

Paint warmer

Stir the paint really well! You could sing ‘Paradise by the dashboard light’ (the radio message included) completely while stirring to give you an idea of how long you should be doing this.

3. Think layers.
If you are going from dark to light, be prepared to do multiple light/ thin layers. Start with a primer. If that isn’t covering it completely mix a bit of your lack in with the primer for the second coat (works great for bright colors too). And then brush or roll on two light layers of paint. Never start using thick layers to cover things up quickly. You can thin the paint a bit for easier striking (think spoons of added water or thinner not splashes).
4. Sand and dust.
Between layers lightly sand the paint. I really do mean lightly just enough to bruise the paint. Usually only takes a few minutes. No need to use muscle power for this. And then dust!
5. Get some room underneath
Before you start painting small objects think about where and how you are going to put it down to dry. You don’t want the wet paint to stick to the surface, so create a little stage for it that leaves the edges free.


And yes those are ProSecco corks. A girl needs some bubbly when she is working hard.
6. For big surfaces use a roller.
To get a smooth finish, using a roller is much easier than using a brush. So whenever your surface is big enough reach for the roller.
 7. Prepare your brush for painting.
paint tip 3When you use your brush for the first time you need to prepare it for painting. First strike it across a piece of sandpaper a few times to get the loose hair out. Then dip it halfway into your paint, saturating it completely and strike the excess paint off over a stir stick.  Repeat several times. You can check whether the paint needs thinning now too.

8. Painting panels next to glass I (the easy way).

Ever painted a window frame? Or the frame around a mirror? Getting the painter’s tape exactly straight on the glass is really difficult. I always ended up with little gaps where I got paint on the glass or pieces of wood left unpainted. This is the quick way to get that painters tape on there:
                                  Painters tape 1 Painters tape 2
Simply stick the tape roughly over the glass and frame. No need to get it straight, and you can simply overlap smaller pieces (so that you don’t end up sticking yourself in there trying to entangle long sticky pieces of tape). Work the tape into the edge between glass and wood with your fingernails. And then use a craft knife to cut away the excess tape. Voila! Simple, fast and perfectly straight taped-off glass.
9. Painter’s tape friend or foe.
When using painter’s tape NEVER let it sit overnight, especially not when you have painted over it. The glue on the tape will dry out and it is a pain to remove. We once used painter’s tape to cover a window with newspaper and let that sit there for several days. It took me Hours of scraping to get that tape off again.
10. Painting panels next to glass II (the lazy way).
Painting the wood next to a glass panel is challenging. Taping everything off takes forever and is really hard to do right. Having to do it several times if your paint project is extended over several days (or often weeks in my case) is a major pain in the bud. I discovered a better way when painting my glass cabinet.

white cupboard distressed1

See that! that’s 8 glass panels that would have to be taped! Several times! No way. I just painted carefully, let the paint dry completely and then with a craft knife scraped the paint off the glass. It still wasn’t easy but better than taping it.
11. Dipping the brush.
Paint tip 1 When wiping your brush during painting, don’t do it on the edge of the can, do it on the inside of the can. Less messy, less chance of dried paint chips falling into the can.

12. What to do with the brush.

Any of these real life images look familiar?
Paintbrush2 Paintbrush1 Paintbrush3
Paint stuck to the brush, the bristles of the brush all bent and curvy and the brush rusting? I did not have to look hard to find this evidence of paint brush abuse in our home. But recently I came up with a better way.

Paintbrush tip

Drill a hole in the handle and stick a wooden bbq skewer through it. My brushes will live happily ever after.
Paint tip2And when I start painting again I just twirl the brush around to get the excess water (or thinner) of.

13. If possible reuse.
When using tip 14 in combination with paintbrushes that need to be dipped in paint thinner for cleaning and storage (as opposed to dipping them in water), you will find that paint will gather on the bottom of the jar (see paintbrush picture 1). You can reuse that thinner. Just let all the paint sink to the bottom and then carefully pour the thinner through some old pantyhose in a new jar. Good for another round of paintbrush cleaning.
14. What to do with the roller?
You can use one roller for a project even if that project takes up to a few days (I have managed to extend it to a week). At the end of the painting day put a thin layer of extra paint on your roller. Tightly wrap the roller in aluminum foil and put it in your fridge. Next day, roll off the extra paint on a piece of paper or wood and you are good to go.
15. Runners strike them down! This was one that made me go duh! When you get runners in your painting (you know drips that run down) the impulse is to strike them away in an upward move. Wrong move! Strike them down. If only I had known this years ago.
16 Take the stress out of distressing. Distressing a piece of painted wood is all the rave now. Here is how I do it. Use coarse sandpaper to take the paint off at the edges. Use fine sandpaper to make it look all natural.

Detail mirror 

And when in doubt distress some more. You can never distress too much, but if you don’t distress enough it will simply look like a bad paint job.
17. Make your paint last.
When storing the paint can away, put it the wrong side up for five minutes. That way the paint will seal the lid airtight.
18 (Spray) painters alert: watch out for the sun! Spray painting outside is a very good idea. That stuff is not good to inhale. Leaving your (spray) painted treasure outside to dry is usually a bad idea. Dust will stick to it like flies to sugar and the sun will make it dry too fast which might cause the paint to crackle. So go into the shade.
19. Keep water at hand.
Keeping a bucket of water at hand while painting is always a good idea. You can wipe away drips and spots as they happen. But it is the secret to a good whitewashing too.

Crate letters

For whitewashing a water based paint is best. Water the paint down and slash it onto your object. Don’t panic if it looks way too painted. Just grab a cloth, wet it thoroughly and wash away the paint. Keep repeating this: adding paint and washing it away until it looks good.
20 Remember this is fun! We are all ladies with good manners, most of the time. But DIY is the best excuse to get into the comfy jeans and baggy shirts and play and get dirty. So go on, paint something!
I want to give a HUGE thank you to Miss Mustard Seed for allowing me to share some of my hard earned painting tips with her wonderful readers. I am so honored to be able to be here today, and I hope you all heard at least one useful tip!
vogeltje A2

Man, I didn’t know # 7 or #17!  Those are some awesome tips, Marianne.  Thanks so much again for your time on this.  Make sure to give Marianne some love for sharing all of her wisdom with you. 

So, I’m ready to see what you learned in the Decorative Painting 101 series.  You can link up any decorative painting projects, sample boards or even mishaps.  This is just an opportunity strut your stuff or at least show that you tried your hand at something new.  Three participants will be chosen to win a set of paints provided by Deco Art
If you followed along, but don’t have a blog or photographic evidence to link up, leave a comment and tell me what you learned and how you put it to use.  Your comment will be an entry into the giveaway.  The link party will close Thursday at midnight. 

Miss Mustard Seed

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  1. awesome tips! i know i will be coming back to this post in the future, thanks :)

  2. ok, here is another way to keep paint off glass and avoid taping and scraping all together-smear a thin layer of vaseline in a line along the glass (and then wipe off any that may have gotten on the trim part)–when you are done painting the trim and it is dry, just wipe the vaseline off the glass with a cloth and voila! any paint that got on the glass is gone and no scraping or taping mishaps or whatever!! I also do this on hinges and screws and stuff that is annoying to remove.

  3. Great post! Thanks for the tips and tweaks! I really need to get back in the groove with projects that are lined up.

  4. Miss Songbird, You were really singing with the good tips!
    smiles, alice

  5. Good morning Miss Mustard Seed, thank you for this wonderful opportunity! And I am glad to know I have been able to give YOU some tips too.

  6. Those are great tips! I never knew to paint a drip down. I watched the hubband do it wrong just the other day. That project isn't finished though, so next run and I'm painting down!

  7. great paint tips. I have sucessfully used many of your tips. But I have never used sand paper to remove loose brislts. I always store my paint inside the house, I have founs that here in calif, the paint dries out even if it is properly sealed and just a little bit of drying out can result in a change in the finish of the paint. I was touching up a wall were I had taken down a whole wall of pictures and painted over them. The paint was satin originally but it took only a small amount of the ingredients lost to heat that changed the paint from a satin finish to a semi-gloss paint. All the paint was still the same color but my walls looked like they had shinny spots all over them. Had to repaint the whole room.

  8. Fabulous tips! I especially loved the one about taping against the woodwork and glass and simply cutting into the groove to achieve your perfect taped line. Thanks Marianne!

    What did I get out of the series? Enormous inspiration. Although I didn't have the time to get into it like I wish I did, (had something to do with running a workshop series.. ) I know I can always go back when I'm ready to give it another whirl. You've created a wonderful resource center for all things decorative painting. :)

    The series motivated me to pick up my beloved acrylic paints and try a few new things. I'd never be without them now.

    Thanks MMS, for a wonderfully well done series! KUDOS. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the next adventure on the Workshop Series, Mustard style. :)


  9. What great painting tips Marianne!!

    Some of them I had nver heard of before and some are old familiar ones, unfortuately I am of the breed that likes to dive on in and just paint…I think about preparation and then get too excited to get my paint on.

    If I have learnt anything it's to buy more sandpaper ASAP!!

    love Ruth xxx

  10. Great tips!!

    I recently started to paint little bits of furniture. I've had to learn the hard way…Everything you have on there is spot on!! Thank you!

  11. Wonderful painting tips!! Thank you so much!

  12. Great tips! I also never tape of glass. I use the vaseline trick but most of the time I just scrape the paint off the glass with a razor blade.


  13. My favorite roller on the big areas is one of those little 5-inch cuties–easy to clean, doesn't waste paint and leaves a nice texture for the decorative brushstrokes.

  14. Marianne is full of tricks! She's a wonderful blogger, decorator and photographer. And painter as well!

  15. Thank you Marianne – it is always a pleasure reading your posts and these are really helpful tips !

  16. You reiterated what my husband has been trying to tell me for years, sand, sand, sand,it's so important. My next project is repainting an old tray. Let's see how it turns out.

  17. Wonderful tips! I definitely need to bookmark this one. I'm a terrible painter!

  18. Great tips!

  19. My favorite tip is putting the tape on where the glass and frame meet and then using an exacto knife to cut a straight line. What a great idea! I will definitely use it. I have an old china cabinet that is due for a paint job. Thanks!

  20. Love these tips. THank you for sharing and for hosting a linky party. I enjoy checking out everyone's projects

  21. No 15. drips. It makes sence to paint downwards instead of up. I always have drips because I'm in a hurry and put to much paint on. I'm going to paint some candlestiks. They are white now and I'll paint them black(?) maybe!!!

  22. perfect PERFECT tips for this beginner. thanks so much!

  23. I loved your tips and tricks. I've been trying out the brush strokes and I'm working on a little box.
    Thanks for all the ideas and for hosting this perfect giveaway.

  24. Anonymous says:

    nice post. thanks.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Love your blog & feel like I'm always learning new tips, etc. My tip of the day — put masking tape around the brush part & the metal band (ferrule). Really helps to clean that part of the brush!

  26. Wonderful blog I have dark pine paneling and landlords will not let me paint!

  27. Great post! Thanks for the tips and tweaks! I really need to get back in the groove with projects that are lined up

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  29. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge. I especially will use the one about taping on glass.

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