Cheap Gadgets That Make Your Paint Job Easier

Just like any Do It Yourself project, there are all sorts of tools and gadgets that supposedly make the job easier. In order to do a very nice paint job, the only things that are absolutely necessary are serviceable brushes and rollers, along with some patience and willingness to do careful work.

Some of the gadgets on the shelves of the paint store really seem to be designed to separate the amateur painter from his money more than anything. Some of the most useful items are the best value, because they are free!

We have discussed the 5-in-1 tool before. This looks like a broken scraper or putty knife, but the ingenious design incorporates a scraper, a scratch hook, a screwdriver, a roller-cleaning tool, a brush cleaner, a chisel, and even a hammer! The 5-in-1 tool will cost a few bucks, and there are tools that will do all of these jobs better. But it is hard to carry them all in your pocket when you are painting.

Lets look at some items that are so cheap that they are often given away with when you buy paint. Like stir sticks. Most stores will throw a couple of these flat pieces of softwood into any paint order¬†that is more than a couple of gallons. The name of the store will be printed on the stick. I find that I usually won’t need a stir stick for the job that I bought the paint for- the store puts the paint cans on a shaking machine that does a better job of mixing the paint than I ever could. But it is nice to have a few stir-sticks on hand if I need to stir old paint for touch-ups down the line, or if I need to mix old paint to a new color for a wood working project. They’re free, so use them!

Another goody that some paint stores throw in is a paint key. This is a simple piece of metal that is bent into a bottle opener on one end while the other end is flattened in order to open paint cans. There will usually be some advertising embossed somewhere on the key. Believe it or not, the little bit of a hook formed into the end really does make it easier to open paint cans than using a screwdriver. And the cold beer that I have at the end of the job just seems to taste better when I open it with a paint key!

I am not a big fan of those silly white painters hats they give away, but my girl friend seems to like them. She has a lot more (and prettier) hair than I do.

The last of the “Give away” items is one that I always wind up paying for. I have seem them on the counters in many paint stores, and they usually have some advertising embossed or printed on them. It only costs about a buck, so if I had a big order and asked, they would probably throw one in, but it is handy enough that I don’t mind springing for it, even with the advertising. This is the snap-on paint can spout. The purpose of this bit of extruded plastic is to keep paint from gumming-up the grooves in the top of the paint can when you pour the paint into another can or roller tray. And it does this very well. I find I use one even more when I am painting out of the can. The flexible spout is better for wiping the brush on than the side of the can, and still keeps the grooves clean.

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