• Sarah

Boring wall fix, part 2

The finished product!

Part 1 talked about how to choose a paint colour...now, to how to actually get it on the wall (or, you know, mix up a can and leave it under your desk for a year, I've used that approach, as well.) My favourite paint is Behr Paint & Primer In One, it's really all I use (unless I go with a high end one like Farrow and Ball), you can paint light blue over burgundy in two coats, it's awesome. The best drop cloth for painting is one you can get at Home Depot by Everbuilt. At 4'x15', it's narrow and long, so it catches any potential wall spatter, but is long enough that you don't have to keep moving it constantly.

The essentials.

In addition to a drop cloth, you'll need a paint roller and tray (if you're going to be painting a lot, it's better to get a heavier plastic one, rather than the flimsy "disposable" ones), green "Frog" tape (this is the best brand to prevent paint seeping under the tape), a good angled brush for edging, a step ladder (or anything that will let you easily reach the top of the wall you're painting. I use the 3 step one made by Cosco. WalMart and other places carry them), and a damp rag for wiping up mistakes. Some sort of Poly-Filla/spackle for filling nail holes, and a narrow putty knife to apply it (or, you can just use toothpaste like my husband did in college...I don't actually recommend this, oddly enough.) For the stencilling, I prefer using a spray adhesive (I get this at Michaels) and a 2 inch stencil brush, although you can use a narrow roller, as well (watch the tutorials on the Royal Stencil site if you're interested in this option.)

Begin by taping along the baseboards. Get as close as you can to the wall, pressing down on the tape so it sticks well (clean the baseboards first!). Leave the tape in its plastic container, don't put it down on the floor or drop cloth. (It works because of the way it adheres, so if you get the edges covered in dust or lint, it won't work as well.) If you're painting one wall and not an adjoining wall, tape down along the edge of the wall you're not painting:

It looks like I didn't get right into the corner, but this is as far as the tape would go...

Next, remove the outlet covers. You'll see below that the outlet covers come off easily, and you can just put a piece of green tape over the flat white part. That other thing, the USB plug in thingy? Just leave it alone. The cover is attached to the innards, so it doesn't help to remove it. Just tape over it as well as you can. It's plastic, so it's really easy to just scrape off any errant paint with your fingernail in the first day or so after you're done.

Next, you'll want to fill in any nail holes with your Poly-Filla (Poly-Filla is a brand name, but also refers to any nail hole filling product...in Canada-speak, anyway) and putty knife. Just scoop a small amount of Poly onto the end of the putty knife, and scrape it across the hole. If it doesn't fill completely, just keep doing it from different angles:

After you smoosh the Poly onto the wall, it'll look like the middle picture. You can either wait till it dries and lightly sand it with fine sandpaper, or if you're impatient like me, you can use your damp rag to lightly wipe over it (last picture), which smoothes it out. If you press too hard, you can sometimes scoop the Poly out of the hole, in which case you have to add a bit more. (That dark spot is a pencil mark from when I was trying to figure out where to hang the picture.)

When you first start painting, it takes a few times to get the paint worked into the roller. Dip it into the paint, pull back to the ridged part of the paint tray, roll it back and forth, repeat a couple time until you feel like the paint is worked into the roller. I usually paint the wall in thirds, as you can sort of see in the picture below. Here, I've done the first coat, and have started on the second on the top third. You can see how I get as close as possible to the sides and top without actually touching it. It's easier to get close to the sides than to the ceiling, especially since you can't tape a textured ceiling:

This is what the wall looks like up close when you're doing the first coat:

Don't worry about this, it gets filled in on the second coat.

Once you've got two coats on the wall (check the can for drying times between coats), you'll use the angled brush to "cut in" the paint along the sides and at the top. I like to use an old jar for this part, just pour a bit pf paint into the jar, and dip the angled brush in. Start small, don't dunk it all the way in. Start with the space above the baseboards, this is the best place to get comfortable with it. While the Frog tape is great, if you glob too much paint on, it can feather under the tape, so it's best to not let it pool. The ceiling edge is the most challenging. As I haven't yet attempted to put a GoPro on my paint brush, your best bet is to watch YouTube tutorials on paint edging ("How to cut in paint edges with a brush--This Old House" does a good job of showing the way an angled brush kind of splays out as you move it along. You can skip ahead to the actual painting part...these guys are pretty keen, you don't actually need a device that pre-wets and spins the brush to "prime" it for painting, sheesh.) Keep your rag handy to wipe any spots that get on the ceiling (don't wipe too much, you can actually wipe away those lovely textured ceilings...)

So, if you're just painting, you're done! If you're stencilling, you'll need your stencil, spray adhesive, stencil brush, a shallow plastic dish, and a paper towel for blotting.

Start in the middle, then do one side, and then the other

When you read the stencil instructions, you'll see there are "registration" spots, two places along the edge that line up with the previous stencilling (see "How to use registration marks," at Royal Design Studio.) Put the wrong side of the stencil facing up on the drop cloth, and spray with the spray adhesive. Find the centre point on the wall, and centre the stencil on that, it doesn't have to be exact. (When you choose a stencil, the ones like the one I used are really easy, as you can make little mistakes and they won't be noticeable, if you choose a very regular stencil, you'll need to be more precise.) You'll "load" the stencil brush (dip it flat into the paint, not far, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch, and then smoosh it around in a circular motion on a few paper towels set on a paper plate (if you don't have a paper plate, use a cutting board with a piece of tin foil as your barrier, and then put the paper towels on that.) So, just load up the brush (dip and smoosh first), and start in the middle of the stencil, and swirl it with a circular motion, moving it across the stencil. As soon as you see the paint is thinning out, reload the brush. When I was doing the stencil, I stencilled the whole top row, and then found it almost impossible to see where the middle of the top stencil was! So, as I went down the wall, I did the middle section and left the two sides unstencilled. Then I went back and worked my way down each side. You'll find as you're doing the two sides, most likely the stencil will have to bend at the corner:

You won't be able to get it completely in the corner...

Okay, Pro Tip: watching instructional videos can be really helpful! I did this after I stencilled, and see that they recommend doing the stencil from top to bottom, which would eliminate the "where am I?" confusion I experienced, heh. This video also shows you the "unloading the brush" technique, and the motion you use for the brush when stencilling.

As you stencil into the corner, it gets a bit imprecise:

This is just the way it is. I'm not sure how you could get it any more precise unless you cut the stencil, or maybe I'm just not all that particular about it. As you see in the finished product photo at the top, you really don't notice the imperfection that much. Also, at the very top, the stencil leaves about and inch and a half of wall that's unstencilled, and I didn't like that. So I got a smallish round tipped paint brush:

And dotted along the edge, roughly following the pattern from the stencil:

Poor photo, but shows the empty space at top edge

Here you can see where I added some dots to continue the pattern.

(FYI, the part on the instructional video where she uses a "ceiling filler," that extra little bit of the stencil? I don't see those on their website, so perhaps she just cut the stencil she used after she was done with the main pattern? I'll ask about that and edit this as necessary...)

So that's it! I did this in a day...started late, around noon, and ended in the evening. It would have been better to have done it all in natural light, so the next time I do this, I'll start as early as I'm able to in the morning. For the Behr paint I use, there's a 1 hour "dry to the touch" time, and a 2 hour "recoat" time. It takes about an hour to do one coat (with cutting in the edges), so that's about 4 hours for painting, including the 2 hour recoat time. Ideally you'll be done with the painting by early afternoon, so you'll have plenty of time to do the stencilling. Of course, I was in a rush because this was our bedroom, so I wanted to get it done in a day. If you're stencilling a room that you can leave messed up, then you could, of course, paint one day, and stencil the next. Ideally, though, you want to get both coats of paint on the same day, not sure why, that's just what paint companies recommend.

For the stencils, I highly recommend Royal Design Studio. For this project, I used "Tribal Batik Allover Wall Stencil." (Make sure you use the wall one, and not the smaller scale one for furniture!) It can be found in the African stencil section. For my next project (guest room wall), I'm using "Annapakshi Indian Damask Wall Stencil." I saw this picture:

....and was enchanted by the pink on peach. I'd probably go darker, and use a dark raspberry on a peachy background, or a dark raspberry on medium pink. (I'm not normally a "pink walls" kinda person, so we'll see how that goes....)

Also, keep in mind that you can do dark over light, light over dark, or tone on tone. It's worthwhile to spend some time on their website looking at all the colour combinations people have done. Under the "stencilling ideas" section, you'll see examples of this. For the "tribal batik" stencil I chose, you can see how different it looks when you use a dark paint on a light background:

Reposted without permission...sorry!

**full disclosure: I won a gift certificate by participating in Royal Design Studio's "before and after" contest in 2018, but nothing else. I'm just seriously obsessed with their designs :)

Happy painting and stencilling!


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