Category: Painting


How To: Transform a Cabinet with Spray Paint

You can revitalize almost any piece of furniture with a few coats of spray paint. And once you've got the technique down, you'll be surprised at how easy—and addictive—spray-painting can be!

How to Spray Paint Furniture - Detail Before

Photo: Jennifer Noonan

Is there a dated, shabby, worn-out cabinet hogging space somewhere in your home? If so, you may feel tempted to get rid of the old eyesore. But if the only thing you don’t like about the furniture is the way that it looks—if it’s unlovely but perfectly functional—bear in mind that you can completely transform the cabinet quickly, easily, and inexpensively. Yes! The key: spray paint. Invest in one or two cans of spray paint; spend an hour or two on the makeover, depending on the size of your cabinet; and you’ll be amazed (I certainly was) by the difference. Best of all, the project costs a mere fraction of what it would to purchase a brand-new cabinet.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint
- Drop cloth
- Wood filler (optional)
- Sandpaper
- Tack cloth or cotton rag
- Protective gear
- Screwdriver or drill (optional)

STEP 1
Whenever you’re spray-painting furniture, it’s recommended that you work in a well-ventilated area. On a nice day, you might even choose to work outside, provided there’s little to no wind. (You don’t want gusts to blow yard debris onto your project during the drying stage.) Another benefit of painting in the driveway or backyard is that you don’t need to worry about overspray. Working indoors? Open the windows and use drop cloths to cover anything you wish to protect from the spray paint.

How to Spray Paint Furniture - Detail Spraying

Photo: JNoonan

STEP 2
Now that you’ve readied your work area, the next step is to prepare the piece of furniture you’re going to spray-paint. First things first, remove all hardware (for example, hinges or handles) and set it safely aside. Next—this is optional—fill any scratches or holes with wood filler, closely following the directions from the product manufacturer. Finally, sand down the furniture, not only to even out nicked edges, but also to give the spray paint an accommodating surface to which it can adhere easily. Once you’ve finished sanding, wipe the furniture with either a tack cloth or a damp cotton rag. Wait for the piece to dry completely before proceeding to paint.

STEP 3
Don the appropriate protective gear—in this case, a dust mask (spray-paint particulates are very fine and can be accidentally inhaled) and safety gloves (well, these kinds of projects are known to get a little messy on occasion).

I used Rust-Oleum’s Universal spray paint. Because it works on any surface, I was able to use it on both the wood and the metal cabinet hinges. Another plus: It can be sprayed from any angle—handy if you need to reach into corners.

Whenever I spray-paint furniture, I apply several thin coats instead of a single heavy coat. That strategy has seemed to yield the best results. Holding the can 8 to 12 inches from the surface, pull the trigger on the spray-paint can, applying the paint with a sweeping motion. As you go along, let the spray fall a few inches past the left and right edges of the furniture. Remember that spray paint dries quickly; subsequent coats can be added within two hours. For further details about application, be sure to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

STEP 4
Give the paint at least 24 hours to cure fully before reinstalling hardware or placing any objects on or inside of the furniture. That may seem like a long time to wait, but personally I’d wait five times as long if it meant revitalizing a cabinet that I would have otherwise hauled to the Dumpster. Spray paint really is an amazing thing. With a little practice, you’ll be able to spray-paint like a pro. And then if you’re anything like me, you’ll look at the world in a new way, always finding things around the house to revamp and totally renew.

How to Spray Paint Furniture - Cabinet Makeover After

Photo: Jennifer Noonan

This post has been brought to you by Rust-Oleum. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Bob Vila Radio: Painting Over Wallpaper

Wallpaper is even harder to remove than it is to apply. The good news is that if you've grown tired of your wallpaper, you can probably paint right over it. Here's how.

Getting tired of the floral wallpaper in your dining room or the Stewart plaid in the den? If you’re daunted by the prospect of removing wallpaper, don’t despair—you may be able to paint right over it.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING OVER WALLPAPER or read the text below:

Painting Over Wallpaper

Photo: featheringnest.blogspot.com

First, a few caveats: You’re more likely to achieve satisfactory, long-lasting results if you just bite the bullet and remove the wallpaper first. If, however, you have cause to be concerned about the integrity of the drywall or plaster under your wallpaper, painting over it may be your best bet (so long as the paper is in good condition).

Before you begin, make sure that the wallpaper is securely adhered to the wall; repair any loose or damaged paper. Run a thin bead of caulk along the line where the paper meets the walls, at the ceiling and the base. If the paper is textured, lightly spackle and sand to get a smooth surface, and gently sand the wallpaper seams so they won’t show through the paint.

Once the wall has been prepped, apply a coat of oil-based primer to seal the adhesive and to protect the paper from the paint’s moisture. After the primer has dried, paint the walls the color of your choice, sticking with an oil-based product.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Bob Vila Radio: Removing Paint From Concrete

Getting paint off concrete or other masonry is tough, but can be done. Here's how to do the job.

If you’ve ever dripped paint on your sidewalk or changed your mind about that coat of paint you put on a concrete planter, you know how tough it can be to remove paint from concrete. Here’s what you need to know about getting paint off concrete or other masonry.  

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Listen to BOB VILA ON REMOVING PAINT FROM CONCRETE or read the text below:

Paint Removal

Photo: shutterstock.com

Start by sweeping or vacuuming thoroughly to remove any loose particles. Then clean the surface with soapy water or a solution of TSP, scrubbing with a long-handled brush. Be sure to wear gloves. Allow the surface to dry completely.

Next, if the painted area is small, you may be able to get it off with an orbital sander. For bigger surfaces, you’re probably going to have to resort to a chemical paint remover. Wear heavy-duty gloves for this, and be sure the area is very well ventilated. Apply the chemical and allow it to do its work—this stage could take several hours, so follow the instructions on the can. If you’re working outdoors near plants, be sure to cover them to protect them from the chemical.

When the chemical has done its job, scrape the area clean with a wire brush or a paint scraper and wrap up the residue for disposal. Rinse the area thoroughly. Very large painted surfaces or stubborn stains may need to be blasted with a pressure washer.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Paint Over Wallpaper

Are you sick and tired of your old wallpaper? Before you go to the trouble of stripping it off, consider covering it with a few coats of paint. Read on to find out how to do it and to figure out whether painting is the right solution for your walls.

How to Paint Over Wallpaper

Photo: shutterstock.com

Any number of imperfections, from nail holes to degraded plaster, may lurk underneath wallpaper. Another ugly truth: The wallpaper you see may in fact be only the top layer of several applications. It’s hard enough to remove one layer of wallpaper, let alone multiple layers. If you have no plans to move, it may be worth the effort to strip away the paper entirely. But if you need a quick fix, you can actually get good results painting over wallpaper! You can achieve a brand-new look with a minimum of hassle.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
- Sponge
- Bucket
- Oil-based primer/sealer
- Paintbrush and roller
- Oil-based paint

How to Paint Over Wallpaper - Detail Red

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 1
To paint over wallpaper successfully, take the time to properly prepare the papered wall. This may involve the counterintuitive task of repairing or replacing loose or missing sections of the wallpaper. At the very least, prep work here requires cleaning the walls with trisodium phosphate, a chemical better known as TSP.

TSP is such strong stuff that it must be diluted. Mix it with water in a bucket, aiming for a ratio of one half-cup for every two gallons of water. Closely follow the manufacturer’s usage directions, including the labeled safety warnings. Adequately ventilate the room in which you are working, and don’t forget to wear protective gear.

TSP can be applied with a sponge or even an extra paintbrush. Once the TSP has dried, use a damp (but not dripping wet) rag to remove the chemical from the wall. Tread carefully. Too little water, and you may not get the chemical off, thereby compromising the paint’s ability to adhere. Too much water, and you run the risk of damaging the wall.

STEP 2
If after you’ve gone to the trouble to paint over the wallpaper it ultimately starts to peel, you’re not going to like how it looks. One way to prevent subsequent peeling is to apply an adhesive compound where the wallpaper is most vulnerable—at the seams where it meets the ceiling and floor. An even better approach is to coat the wall with a combination primer-sealer. Not only does primer-sealer minimize the chances of peeling, but it also provides a surface to which the paint can readily adhere. Use an oil-based primer-sealer, not a water-based product; after all, water and wallpaper don’t mix. Whether or not you choose to seal and prime, be sure to opt for an oil-based paint when you’re ready to coat the walls.

STEP 3
Once the walls are clean and you’ve applied the primer-sealer (if you’re going that route), give the walls enough time to dry. You are now ready to begin painting. Approach the job as you would any other painting project: Use a paintbrush to cut in at the corners and along edges, then let the roller do the rest. You’re probably going to need a couple of coats.

Let the first coat dry completely before you proceed to the next one. During the interim, consider sanding the wall. It’s tedious, yes—less so if you own a power sander—but sanding minimizes imperfections and could greatly improve the finished appearance of your work. Either way, the very last step is to paint the top coat. When you’re finally finished, stand back and admire the difference. Where once there had been wallpaper you had tired of, you’ll now see gleaming, freshly painted surfaces!


What Would Bob Do? Deciding Whether to Prime

Is priming necessary? It depends on what you're painting. Read on to find out when it is—and isn't—important to prime.

Paint Primer Tips

Photo: shutterstock.com

Is it more effective to do one coat of primer and one of paint, or skip the primer and use two coats of paint? The walls have already been painted in the past.

Many would-be do-it-yourselfers don’t know quite what to make of primer. Is it always necessary, or is it completely optional? Is priming ever actually a critical step in the painting process? Is the strongest argument in favor of primer simply that it’s a smart thing to do? In other words, when is priming required?

Here’s the first thing to know about primer: It should be used only on unpainted surfaces. So if you want to give a new color to something in your home—crown molding, let’s say—there’s no need to prime if that something has been painted previously. Simply clean it with a solution of TSP and water, then proceed to paint.

In the case of raw wood, however, the best practice is to apply an initial coat of primer/sealer. Doing so prevents wood sap from discoloring the job. Along the way, the primer conveniently fills minor dings and depressions in the surface. But the main thing primer does is serve as an even substrate beneath the top coat finish.

Many products today combine primer, sealer, and top coat into a single formulation. These self-priming paints are surprisingly effective, given that they enable you to complete jobs in less time and with less hassle. You save money, too, by not having to purchase primer and paint in quantities sufficient for multiple coats.

Even so, primer remains a valuable resource in the do-it-yourselfer’s arsenal. Most useful are those primers specially designed for a specific application. For instance, there’s no substitute for drywall primer, which works great on—you guessed it—drywall. Likewise, metal primers are essential when you’re painting bare metal. And when you wish to achieve a perfectly smooth, glossy finish, don’t take any chances: Go with the primer recommended for the enamel paint of your choice.


How To: Paint Concrete

You can brighten up a dull gray concrete surface with a bright coat of paint. All it takes is time—and some very careful preparation.

How to Paint Concrete

Photo: shutterstock.com

To paint concrete successfully—so that it looks good and lasts a long time—proper preparation is of paramount importance. If you follow the steps below, you can achieve satisfying results no matter what concrete you choose to paint, be it the garage floor, basement wall, outdoor patio, or any other part of your property.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Concrete filler
- Power sander with fine-grit disks
- Pole sander
- Trisodium phosphate or other alkaline cleaner
- Metal-bristled brush
- Paving paint or porch-and-floor enamel
- Paintbrush or roller
- Putty knife
- Protective gear (rubber gloves, dust mask, glasses)

STEP 1
When you set out to paint concrete, the process begins rather unglamorously with concrete filler. Use the patch compound to fill in all holes, scratches, and gouges in the concrete. After allowing sufficient dry time, sand the repaired areas until they are smooth.

STEP 2
Using a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and warm water, clean the surface thoroughly, removing all the oil and grease that would otherwise discolor the paint job. Work the solution into the concrete with a metal-bristled brush. To determine the proper ratio of TSP to water, read the package instructions, but figure on about one-quarter cup TSP to one gallon warm water. TSP can harm skin and eyes if it makes contact, so be sure to wear full protective gear.

STEP 3
As the TSP reacts with the concrete, you are likely to notice a slight bubbling across the surface. Let that bubbling continue for about 20 minutes, then hose off the concrete, completely washing away the TSP. Let the surface dry for two days. Afterward, run your hand over the concrete; it should feel like 120-grit sandpaper.

How to Paint Concrete - Roller

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 4
Sweep the area or wipe it down with a dry cloth, depending on the orientation of the surface. Now you’re ready to start painting. Use a paintbrush to apply an initial coat of paving paint (or porch-and-floor enamel) over the perimeter of the area. A regular medium-size paintbrush enables you to achieve good coverage in the corners and along the edges.

STEP 5
Next, use a paint roller to fill in the sections that you didn’t coat with the brush. If you’re painting a floor, remember to start on the far side of the room, so you end up finishing near a doorway or another convenient stepping-off point. In other words, don’t paint yourself into a corner! Let that first coat dry for at least 16 hours or so.

STEP 6
Putty knife in hand, scrape away any protruding lumps or bumps that appeared after the first coat dried. Sand any areas where the paint failed to adhere; if you do end up sanding again, don’t forget to sweep again too.

STEP 7
Apply the second coat in the same way that you applied the first. This time around, however, press down firmly with the roller, mashing the paint into the holes the first coat didn’t penetrate. Before considering the project complete, let the second coat dry for about five days, particularly if the painted surface is a heavily trafficked floor.


How To: Make Chalkboard Paint

Chalkboard paint has so many uses, both practical and playful, but it comes at a price and selection can be limited. Get all the fun for less by making your own.

How to Make Chalkboard Paint - Kitchen Wall

Photo: theVSIgroup.com

Chalkboard paint lets you transform any wall into an endlessly reusable writing surface. Although it’s readily available online and in stores, chalkboard paint, which retails for about $25 per quart, doesn’t come cheap. Plus, it’s available in limited colors. Good thing it’s so easy to eschew the store-bought variety and make it yourself. When you make chalkboard paint yourself, it’s first and foremost cheaper—but even better, you can create virtually any color you want!

MATERIALS
- Flat-finish latex paint
- Unsealed tile grout
- Mixing tray or bucket
- Paintbrush or roller
- Drill/driver with paint mixer drill attachment
- Chalk
- Dry towel

Notes on purchasing materials:
• Most local hardware stores, paint supply depots, and home improvement centers offer deep discounts on paint cans that other customers have returned. If you like one of these returned colors, capitalize on others’ misfortunes by purchasing as much discounted flat-finish latex paint as you think you’ll need for your project.

• In stores, you can usually find packages of grout only in quantities larger than what’s necessary for making chalkboard paint. So unless you have a big tiling job on your to-do list, try to acquire a cup or two of grout from a friend or neighbor who has recently completed some remodeling work.

STEP 1
Unable to purchase discounted paint in the perfect color for your space? Don’t fret! You can close the gap between what you have and what you want by mixing in white paint to create lighter tones. In this way, a rich brown can be coaxed into a soft tan, or a deep purple can be softened into a lavender shade.

How to Make Chalk Paint - Mix

Photo: improvisedlife.com

STEP 2
Once you are happy with the paint color, add the magic ingredient: grout. For a successful batch of chalkboard paint, one to eight is the recommended ratio of grout to paint. So if you’re working on a small project involving only a half cup of paint, then expect to use one tablespoon of grout. Meanwhile, if you’re covering a large wall in a half gallon of paint, you’ll mix in a full cup of grout.

STEP 3
As thoroughly as you can, mix the grout into the paint. That means stirring for a minimum of five minutes, breaking up any clumps that start to form or stubbornly linger. Bear in mind that once you finish stirring, chalkboard paint tends to harden rather quickly, and you cannot seal the stuff for later use. In other words: Be ready to apply the paint as soon as you are done making it.

STEP 4
Apply the first coat, let it dry for several hours, then follow up with a second coat. After that, let the chalkboard paint dry for about three days, at which point the chalkboard should be cured and ready to use. Many people, however, suggest one last prep: conditioning the chalkboard by running a piece of writing chalk lengthwise over the surface until it’s completely covered. Finish by using a dry towel to wipe the chalked-over surface clean, and you’re all done!

It’s wonderful being able to make chalkboard paint yourself—quickly, cheaply, and easily—because there are so many exciting ways to use it, and you never know when inspiration will strike. Just go where the chalkboard muse takes you! Today, turn a kitchen cabinet into your family’s shopping list and reminder hub. This weekend, devote part of the garage to visualizing complicated auto repair and construction projects. Next month, put your work calendar up on the wall to accommodate your expanding business.


How To: Remove Paint from Wood

Sure, it's messy and time-consuming, but removing paint from wood can be an extremely satisfying project. Follow our tutorial, and you'll be stripping paint like a pro.

How to Remove Paint

Photo: shutterstock.com

It can be mighty labor-intensive and time-consuming to remove paint, which is why many do-it-yourselfers dread the task, even avoiding projects that involve stripping away layers of old paint. That’s a shame, given that the results are so often worth the effort. Fortunately, by following the simple steps outlined below, you can successfully remove paint with minimal aggravation and without causing damage to the wood in the course of the paint-stripping process.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Protective gloves
- Safety glasses
- Respirator
- Solvent-based paint stripper
- Bucket
- Paintbrush
- Scraper
- Wire brush
- Rags
- Sandpaper

STEP 1
Remove all hardware (nails and screws, brackets and doorknobs) from the wood you are going to work on. If there are any nonremovable parts made of anything other than wood, cover them with protective tape. Before you begin work, put on the safety gear that’s essential to wear in the presence of chemical paint strippers—that means gloves, glasses, and a respirator. Having closely consulted the manufacturer’s instructions, pour your chosen solvent-based paint stripper into an empty bucket.

Note: Always observe the proper safety precautions when dealing with paint strippers and take care to select the right product. Because caustic strippers are capable of changing the color of wood, many experts recommend instead the use of solvent-based strippers. These are readily available online and in local hardware stores.

How to Remove Paint - Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Concentrating on one small section at a time, liberally apply the paint stripper with a paintbrush. Leave the product on the wood for about 20 minutes, or until the paint starts to bubble and peel. Bear in mind that if you are removing several layers of paint, it may be necessary to let the solvent sit for up to a few hours. As time elapses, test the paint intermittently to see whether it has softened to any noticeable degree.

STEP 3
Use a paint scraper to take off as much paint as possible from the area where you applied the stripper. Be gentle as you scrape; don’t gouge the wood. Once you’ve removed all you can with the scraper, you may choose to repeat the process, reapplying stripper and going through the steps once more. Once you’re satisfied with the condition of the area you’ve been stripping, move on to the next section.

STEP 4
After you have worked section by section removing all the paint from the flat portions of the wood, it’s time to address any raised or recessed areas (for example, moldings). Spread the stripper on the wood again and wait at least 20 minutes, but this time scrape with a wire brush that can access those hard-to-reach crests and depressions. Take care not to scrape too hard, which can leave scratches on the wood.

STEP 5
Wash the wood with a clean, water-soaked rag, then sand down the entire surface. If you have access to a power sander, you can use it to make quicker work of sanding the broad, flat sections, but you should still manually sand any fragile or carved parts of the piece. Finally, wipe the wood free of dust and debris, and that’s it! You’re done.


Bob Vila Radio: Painting Wood Paneling

Rather than remove the wood paneling you no longer care for in your home, consider painting it to give the treatment an entirely new look at a low cost, with minimum hassle.

Wood paneling certainly has a place in the home. It can make a space feel traditional and warm, but it can also look dark and dated. If your paneling is getting you down, you could tear it out or hide it behind drywall. But if the paneling is in good shape, it may be quicker, cheaper, and easier to brighten it up with a few coats of paint. Here’s how.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING WOOD PANELING or read the text below:

Painted Wood Paneling

Photo: decorpad.com

Start by washing the wood-paneled walls with a solution of TSP and water. Fill any nail holes, gouges, or other imperfections with spackle, let it dry, then sand. Now lightly sand the entire paneled area to scuff it up (don’t forget the trim and baseboards). Scuffing will help that first coat of primer adhere. Be sure to wear a dust mask and to wipe away the dust with a damp rag as you go.

Once the surface is sanded and dust-free, move on to priming. For best results, use a stain-blocking primer and plan on two coats.

Finish by applying your chosen paint. Put on two or three coats, lightly sanding between each one. For a smoother finish, opt for a foam sponge roller cover. Keep a paintbrush handy for cutting in at corners and wiping up drips. Then step back and admire the new, lighter view.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Bob Vila Radio: Painting Garage Floors

Perhaps the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to make your garage less grim is by painting the concrete floor with either regular paint or epoxy.

Paint Garage Floor

Photo: capstonepainting.com

Your garage may be your workshop, your storeroom, your potting shed or the place where you showcase your automotive pride and joy. Although you may have spent lots of time sprucing up your garage walls, windows, and doors, chances are you haven’t spent any time beautifying the floor. But the truth is, a little attention to the floor can go a long way to making your garage a more comfortable place.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINTING GARAGE FLOORS or read the text below:

If you have a plain concrete floor that’s relatively flat and level, the easiest way to spruce it up is by painting. A coat of floor paint is an instant upgrade—you can even stencil in a fun design, if you’re feeling ambitious. There are also epoxy coating kits that are great for hiding small imperfections, and you get to throw down a shower of color chips when you’re done to create the final confetti finish.

Before applying either paint or epoxy, you’ll want to be sure the floor is as clean and dry as possible. You may need to bleach or even use an etching compound to get the concrete ready for its new coat. Fill any cracks before you paint, and be sure to open windows and run a fan while you work to keep the garage well ventilated.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.