Use paint techniques
Walls and ceilings are usually painted with emulsion, acrylic or water-based eggshell.
Non-drip emulsion is also available, in jelly or solid form, and this is particularly good for ceilings.
Applying liquid emulsion with a brush
Stir the paint and pour it into a paint kettle so that it is about a third full. Dip a 100mm-125mm brush into the paint to cover about one-third of the bristle depth. Press the brush against the rim to get rid of the excess; don't scrape it on the edge - you'll take off too much paint and create a build-up on the inside of the kettle.
1 Start at the top of the wall and apply the paint with short, overlapping horizontal and vertical strokes. Work in panels about 1 sq m at a time, allowing each area to merge into the next one while the edge is still wet.
2 Work systematically across the wall. Try and finish a complete wall before you take a break or there may be a visible change of tone where you stopped.
Beading where colours meet
You can use masking tape to get a neat edge where different colours meet, such as at the junction of walls and ceiling, or where adjacent walls are a different colour. But professionals use a technique called beading, which is not difficult, provided you have a reasonably steady hand. The adjacent colour must be dry before you start.
1 Load the brush with a little paint. Turn it edgeon and press it flat against the wall, a short way from the edge, so that the bristles are slightly splayed to create a bead of paint.
2 With a steady hand, draw the brush sideways or downwards along the surface, gradually working right to the edge to give a clearly defined line between the colours.
Rollers and larger paint pads are very good for covering whole walls, but they cannot reach all the way to the edges; you will need to finish off these areas with a brush or small paint pad - a process often referred to as 'cutting in'. This can be done before or after the main painting, but you will get the most uniform finish if you do it before the main area is painted.
1 Paint four or five overlapping strokes at right angles to the edge to fill the gap between the edge and the new paint.
2 Painting parallel to the edge, go over the first brush strokes in a long sweeping motion. Repeat until the whole edge is painted.
Oil-based paint is slightly more difficult to apply and must be painted over an undercoat. Use a 75mm brush and work in 300mm-square areas. Clean brushes and any spillages with white spirit. It is not advisable to use oil-based paint on large areas like walls or ceilings.
1 Paint three vertical, parallel strips, leaving a space slightly narrower than the brush between them.
2 Blend the strips together by painting horizontally, without reloading the brush with paint. With a nearly dry brush, make light vertical strokes over the painted area to give an even coating. Repeat the process on the area below, working the wet paint into the dry, so the sections marry into each other.
Applying emulsion with a roller is the quickest way of covering a large surface area, although you may need more coats than when painting with a brush because the paint goes on quite thinly. Roller sleeves are available in a variety of sizes and textures. Choose a short-pile sleeve for a smooth wall surface, and a shaggy sheepskinstyle sleeve for a more textured surface. The areas the roller cannot reach will need to be finished with a brush. Solid non-drip emulsion, which comes in a tray, is also applied with a roller. As you apply the roller, the paint liquefies and allows the roller to pick up the right amount of paint.
1 Pour the emulsion paint into the paint tray reservoir - it should be about a third full. Dip the roller sleeve into the paint and roll it firmly up and down the tray's ribbed incline to spread the paint evenly. Don't overload the sleeve or paint will splatter everywhere.
2 Move the roller over the wall surface, using random strokes applied with a light, even pressure. Try not to work too fast or you will create a fine mist of paint spray. Each time the roller is dipped in the paint, move it to an adjacent unpainted area and work your way back to the painted area in overlapping strokes to blend in the wet edges.
Paint pads come in different sizes. They are flat and rectangular with closely packed, short fibres bonded to a foam backing strip, which makes the pad flexible. Pads are good for painting large areas with liquid paint - the bigger the pad, the faster you cover the surface. They make less spray and mess than rollers, but they do need reloading more often. Use a paint pad tray with a built-in ribbed roller on which excess paint can be removed.
1 Pour the paint into the paint pad tray, then draw the pad over the built-in roller to distribute the paint evenly and remove any excess - a paint pad will give a patchy finish if it is loaded unevenly, and will drip if there is too much paint.
2 Start painting near a corner and work in strips about four times the width of your pad. Keeping the pad flat on the wall, move it up and down the surface with a gentle scrubbing action.
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