PAINT TECHNIQUES (Part2:paintbrushes)

In this article we concentrate on how to select and use a Paintbrush for your residential painting or commercial painting job.

A paintbrush is a versatile tool for applying primers, undercoats, varnishes and topcoats to a variety of surfaces. Use one for applying gloss to wood and metalwork, and for where colours or surfaces meet – around windows and doors, for example.


Hold the handle between the thumb and first finger, resting the fingertips at the top of the handle.
Dip the brush in the paint so it reaches halfway up the bristles then wipe it on the side of the can to remove the excess. Use short, even strokes to apply the paint using both sides of the bristles.
Applying paint successfully begins with a proper grip on the brush.

Applying paint successfully begins with a proper grip on the brush.


1.Stir the paint – unless it is non-drip. Make sure any liquid on the surface is thoroughly mixed into the paint by lifting the stick as you stir.
2.Choose a brush which is the right size. As a rough guide, paint window frames with a 25 mm brush, door panels with a 75 mm brush, and walls and other large surfaces with a 100 mm brush. Grip large brushes around the handle and hold smaller brushes more like a pencil.
3.Flick the bristles against your hand to remove dust, old paint and loose bristles.
4.Dip the brush into a paint pot, to about one half of the bristle depth
5.Press the brush against the pot wall to remove surplus paint. Do not scrape the brush over the rim of the pot because too much paint will come off.
6.After you have applied the paint, wipe the brush on the edge of the pot to remove paint that works up the handle.

Bolt a handle to a 500g coffee tin, coating the bolts with silicone to seal the holes. On the opposite side, drill two holes just below the rim of the tin, slide a length of coathanger wire through them, and use to scrape excess point off your brush. Now you have the perfect paint pot.

Flick the bristles to keep dust, particles of dried paint and loose bristles out of your paint.

1.Start at the top of the surface. Paint three vertical strips parallel with each other, leaving a gap just narrower than the brush width between the strips.
2.Do not reload the brush. Working from the top, brush across the painted area horizontally to fill the gaps and smooth the paint.
3.With the brush now almost dry, lightly go over the section you have just painted with vertical strokes to ensure an even coating, stopping on an upward stroke. This is called ‘laying off’.
4.Using the same technique, paint a similar sized section underneath the one you have completed, Work the wet point into the dry.

In most cases, painting a straight edge means following a guide that is already in place, such as the junction of a wall with a baseboard. If there are no guides available, use a plumb line for marking vertical lines or a carpenter’s level for horizontal lines.
TIP To keep paint or stain from running down your arm when working overhead, wear a rubber glove, roll the cuff back, and put some toilet paper inside. The paper will absorb the drips.


1. Start at the top of the wall. Apply the paint in all directions, working horizontally across the surface and moving down when one band is complete. Do not put the paint on too thickly.

2. Lay off the paint with light brush strokes and a fairly dry brush, working in a crisscross pattern. Lift the paint finally on upward strokes.

When painting a surface with a heavy texture or relief, load the brush with more paint than for a smooth ceiling or wall. This cuts down the time it takes to coat the surface and fill all the little indentations. But dip to only a third of the bristle depth.
If you are painting a very heavily textured surface, use a brush as wide as you can comfortably manage without putting too much strain on your wrist. A 100 mm paintbrush is ideal. With a textured coating on a wall or a ceiling, you can use a shaggy pile roller instead.

Where walls meet the ceiling and where adjacent walls are of different colours, keep the meeting edge as straight and as neat as possible. This is one job you should not rush

1.Turn the paintbrush edge on, holding it like a pen.
2.Load the brush with enough paint to cover about one-third of the bristle depth.
3.Press the brush flat against the surface so that a small amount of paint (the bead) is squeezed from the bristles. Work towards the edge gradually, rather than trying to get close immediately.
4.Draw the brush sideways or downwards along the surface, keeping your hand steady all the time
Achieve a neat finish along wall and ceiling edges by first painting the edges with a brush, before switching to a roller or pad.
1.Paint four or five overlapping strokes at right angles to the edge.
2.Cross-brush over the painted area in a long, sweeping motion, keeping parallel with the edge.
Pour enough paint into your pot to cover about half of the bristles of your brush. A continuous supply of fresh, new paint will result in a better job. Keep the lid on the paint tin to exclude dust and debris. A layer of aluminum foil or plastic inside the pot will help to reduce cleaning later.
Using old paint
Wipe the rim before you open an old tin of paint. If a skin has formed, cut around the edge and lift it out. Stir the paint well and then strain it through an old stocking to remove any bits of hardened paint.