Listen to the Paint: Painting 101 {Tutorial}

As my dad lent me a helping hand, it was a fine time to ask him how he got started painting in the first place.  Apparently, when he was in high school, there was a teacher who was a master painter, but my dad never was chosen to study under him.  So instead, my dad continued to watch this teacher's every move and determined within himself that he was going to paint as well.  (Apparently  he must have forgotten how that felt, because I never could touch the paint as a kid...I just watched.)

Nevertheless, my dad continued to learn this skill as he took on painting opportunities, the first being to paint his parent's house.  Mistakes were made along the way, like using interior paint instead of exterior paint, and repainting had to be done.  But that's a part of the learning process, right?  So anyways, over the course of about 30 years, he painted.

Now as I work on this space of mine, I am hearing the techniques that he never shared before:

Listen to the paint.
Apparently the paint speaks to you if you take time to listen.  There is a certain sound you will hear that let's you know if you have too much paint on your roller, not enough, or it is just right.  When you see the amount on your wall that provides coverage (not too faint, not too thick/heavy), then listen to the sound of the roller against the wall.  That sound lets you know the amount of pressure you're applying to the wall.  Let that sound guide you.  Listening to the paint is one reason why painters who are a good team, may not even speak while working.  The paint sets the tone.  It's quite therapeutic when you think about it.

Learn how to properly hold a paintbrush.
Hold the brush at an angle.  In fact, purchasing an angled brush will help tremendously in this area.

Overlap your lines.
When using a paint roller, make sure to overlap the lines of paint.  It helps to provide a better coverage and blend in the paint so that you can't see where one line of began and the other ended.

Learn to be ambidextrous.
Learning how to hold a steady paintbrush with either hand will prevent you from change your body positions to paint.  This is especially helpful if you have to get down low and paint under a windowsill, for example.  Just switch hands and keep it moving.

Get organized.
Make sure your drop cloth is spread out properly.  Always have your paint tray facing the wall that you're painting.  That keeps from a lot of unnecessary twisting around and such, and also helps keep from getting in the way of other people who might be painting on an adjacent wall.  No one likes being poked with those painting extension handles.  And nobody likes stepping in your paint tray.  If you get organized and keep it that way, you move a lot faster on the project.

Protect your investment.
When you're done with your paint and there's more paint in the can or bucket, make sure you seal the lid nice and tight.  It preserves the paint and keeps you from wasting money purchasing more of the same paint at a later date.

Ventilate the room.
If you don't want to pass out, ventilate the room.  Turn on a fan or open a door or both.  Pretty self-explanatory.

I have painted in my home before, but never under the tutelage of my dad.  I was nervous when he relinquished the paint roller and gave me the "ok".  Actually he stepped out of the room, I yelled out, "You want me to paint?"  First he said, "No" (Go figure), then said, "Yeah, if you want."  So I got started.  I knew even from another room that he was listening to the paint to determine what I was doing.  I was so overjoyed that when he returned, he complimented me on my painting skills.  Apparently, you can learn something from watching an adult.  Imagine that.

So, if you're still reading this post, let's recap:
When painting:  Get organized, ventilate your room, learn to be ambidextrous, protect your investment, learn how to hold a paintbrush properly, overlap your lines, and most importantly, listen to the paint.

Happy Painting,


  1. painting is so theraputic, gives your a fresh start. amazing what color can do, especially when you listen to the paint :)


  2. Your Dad is so right on all those points. 30 yrs. of experience. Why wouldn't he be right? :) I just loved learning things from my Dad.

  3. A fresh coat of paint always makes everything better! I never heard of listening to the paint.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Your dad is so right on!

  5. Do many great tips! I have painted many ceilings and walls over the years and completely agree with everything. Fresh paint is a great rejuvenator!

  6. I just heard about listening to the paint on a tv show last night! I had never heard that before. So weird to see here again. I will start listening to my paint from now on.


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