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it’s all about nails…

I figured since I’ve tortured most of you with my failure to post pictures of the finished dining room, I’d make you wait just a liiiiiiiiiitle longer. Instead, I wanted to share some painting advice for anyone who is about to tackle a project of their own.

Personally, I think the worst part of painting is the set up and the clean up.  Both can take hours, if not days depending on how much taping, draping, and spackling you have to get done. In my case, I was somewhat lucky with this room because the tile floor meant I didn’t have to set up drop cloths all over. Instead, I used one drop cloth and moved it with me around the room.

When it comes to tips and tricks, I don’t have many, but one of them is to keep in mind nails.

pre-painting nail glamor shot while sitting on the radiator

Yes, I’m talking about fingernails!

After doing work in the house and sharing photos, I’ve actually had people ask me how I kept my nails at the same time, joking that I must not have actually done the work. Now I’m the first person to tell you that my nails are not strong at all – they break if you look at them wrong. But, along the way, I’ve learned some tips and tricks. First, there are a bunch of benefits to having nails when you’re doing painting.

  1. nails make it much easier to rip painters tape, smooth it down, and get it wedged in those teeny tiny corners
  2. nails are perfect for picking off those tiny little fuzzes and hairs that invariably land on your freshly painted wall
  3. nails are great for scraping those tiny little paint splatters off the floor without using a tool that may otherwise scratch delicate surfaces

Now all that is fine and good, but prepping your nails is just as important. If your nails are anything like mine (thin, abused, used as tools) then they’ll be prone to getting paint IN their cracks and crevices, especially at the tips. If you’ve ever gotten latex paint on your nails, you’ve probably experienced the same thing I have: you can’t get it off. Sure, it’ll come off the surface near the cuticle. But if your nails have splits or are dry, chances are you’ll end up having to cut them off to get the dye the paint leaves behind to go away which, as a somewhat girlie girl, I hate having to do.

So, that being said, I do something very counter intuitive the night before painting. I push back and cut my cuticles, trim and file my nails, and then put on a strengthening topcoat, making sure to coat the tips. The day I paint, I also do something very unusual. I SLATHER any part of my skin that will be exposed while painting in moisturizer. Why? It will come off even easier when you shower.

If you are stubborn (like me) and paint with oil, you’ll want to pay attention here. In addition to moisturizing yourself before painting, you’ll also want to invest in Goo Gone. While there are products like Goof Off that will remove oil paint pretty decently, I hate using it on wood, and DEFINITELY hate using it on my skin.  I try limiting my use of all harsh products like paint thinner and turpentine. What I’ve learned is that Goo Gone and a good cotton towel with a nub is FABULOUS for removing oil paint from wood, my glasses, and especially skin without any of the normal harsh side effects most chemicals have. I’ve also soak my brushes in a mixture of really hot water with some Goo Gone to get most of paint out before resorting to paint thinner. (As a side note, I could dedicate a whole blog on all the things I use Goo Gone for from removing label adhesive to cleaning my stove, but we’ll discuss those later…)

Hope you find some or all of these tips helpful! What do you hate most about painting prep?


2 thoughts on “it’s all about nails…”

  1. I love this. Thank you for the tip on Goo Gone… I have undertaken the Herculean project of painting our house among other things and I wanted to use oil paint, but did want to have to use turpentine to fix my myriad mistakes… I hope you and Paul are doing very well!!! xoxoxo, joan

    1. The only thing I paint in oil is my woodwork. I actually had someone at Home Depot call me crazy but I think it’s worth it. Just watch out for drips! 🙂 Much love!

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