How to Paint with a Brush


To avoid messing up the paint can and to make getting your brush into the paint easier, transfer some of the paint into a shallow can with a wide top and a handle. A paint kettle is ideal but by no means necessary any other clean suitably shaped can will do. Fill about half of the can.

Flick the bristles of the paint brush on your hand a few times to remove dust and loose bristles, dip about one third of the bristles into the paint and gently tap any surplus paint away on the side of the kettle. Repeat twice more. Do not bother removing surplus jelly paint from the brush but try not to have too much paint on the bristles.

Paint with  Brush

How you apply the paint depends on the type of paint and the porosity of the surface.

When using paint that does not dry too quickly (gloss or varnish, for example) over old paintwork (non-porous), apply the paint in small rectangular areas and join these up as you proceed. Start the first area by making a series of dabs of paint approximately 30 to 50mm apart. Do this quickly. Brush out the paint to join the dabs together trying to produce an even layer of paint, but leaving the paint thinner around those edges of the rectangle which border on any surface you will be painting. Brush over the whole area vigorously using criss-cross strokes. Follow this by gently stroking the paint in a vertical direction, then in a horizontal direction and finish up by gently stroking it vertically again. This final stroking is known as laying off. Reload the brush (one or two dips and wipes) and make the next rectangle of blobs adjacent to the area just painted. Join these up as before and work the edge of this new block about 50 to 75mm into the edge of the previous block. Again leave the areas around the edges of the blocks thin on paint so that you do not put on too much paint when the blocks are overlapped. Finally lay off the paint again.

Make sure that you use only the first third of the bristles when brushing the paint out and when reloading. If you use more, paint will work its way to the top of the bristles and start running over the ferrule and handle. Putting on too much paint by attempting to spread the painl out from one area only instead of using the dabbing technique may cause the paint to weep, or sag. Near an edge or corner, it may run. Thixotropic or jelly paints should not be brushed out as much as alkyd gloss paints.

Paint with a Brush

When using paint which dries quickly emulsion, say or painting over absorbent surfaces, you will have to modify the block technique. To join painted areas together successfully, you need to keep what is known as a wet-edge. If you work across a large area horizontally using the block technique, you may find that when you come to paint the layer of horizontal blocks directly below the first layer, the bottom edges of the blocks in the first layer have started to dry and you cannot brush the new paint into them. The faster the paint dries or the more porous the surface you are painting, the bigger the problem. You can use the block technique for matt emulsion paints. But with glossy emulsion paints you must work very rapidly and modify the block technique to work radially from a top corner.

It is not necessary to lay-off emulsion paint simply leave it after using the criss-crossing brush strokes.

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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