Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tales of Four Paint Fails (or, as my husband kindly put it, "Learning to Paint!")

Disclaimer: I am by no means (like, really, NO MEANS AT ALL!) an expert at painting rooms, as this post should let you know. I am not looking for pity or consolation in posting this--I clearly acknowledge that all of this was my fault!--nor do I need affirmations of my clear idiocy when it comes to painting :) I am only sharing these fails in the hopes that other paint newbies can avoid my horrible, amateur mistakes! If you're looking for people who are good at painting, try Young House Love!

I sit here writing this post covered in paint flecks. My hands are blistered from gripping the roller. My brain is fried from inhaling paint fumes. I've just spent the last two hours in our bedroom trying to remedy a major paint fail.

I should've also titled this post "Blogger Fail" because I committed the cardinal sin of blogging: I undertook a makeover project without taking in-progress pictures. "Everyone knows how to paint a room," I thought. "I won't be writing a whole post on painting. I'll just show regular old before and after pictures to demonstrate how much the room has transformed!"

HA old self! So funny! Not everyone knows how to paint--least of all me! I am kicking myself for not taking those in-progress shots, because after a few huge paint FAILS, I want to share how to avoid the mistakes I made (and how I fixed them!) So you will have to embark on this relatively pictureless tale with me with your imaginations in full force!

To refresh, here's the post on our whole pad's color scheme, and here's the state the bedroom was in prior to all of the painting madness:

It was a greeny-gold color my husband affectionately referred to as "Earwax." (Maybe now you see why I was so keen to tackle this room first).

We headed to Lowe's a few weeks back to pick up paint for our rooms--we had them color match a Martha Stewart shade, Natural Twine, for the bedroom. It was here that my first major Paint Fail occurred: I came totally unprepared to the store, without having really researched the paint brands or measuring to find out exactly how many cans of paint I wanted. I realize that this was an incredibly stupid thing to have done, so no need to leave a comment reiterating what an idiot I was :)

As a direct result of Paint Fail #1 (no count of how much paint to get), Paint Fail #2 occurred--rather than buying more than one gallon for each room, I bought one per room, even though I fully knew that the living room would take more than one. "That way I won't be overbuying paint!" I thought. "I'd rather get too little than too much--don't want to waste money, and they can always color match it again!"

Um, NO, old self, just because they have the color code on file doesn't mean that the paint color will be an exact match. I found this out the hard way. After painting the whole room, I needed another gallon for a second coat, and I sent my hubs out to buy it. I put it on, and BOOM--horrible! The colors did NOT match, and it was totally all my fault. A simple internet search revealed that most paint experts confirm that even the same shades mixed on the same day will mismatch slightly, and that the best plan is to mix equal parts from both gallons to ensure color homogeneity! So gallon #1 was a little more gray-brown, while #2 was more tan-brown, as shown here in the closet:

The closet is still a mess because I didn't have enough paint to redo it, and I'm not about to buy more--so it'll get repainted with leftover from the living room (if I have any!) or done in a whole new color. I'm learning! Also, Fail #3, I forgot that there was a shelf that goes in the closet, so even if I had successfully painted it, it would've had a mismatched green shelf!

If you're thinking of quitting here because you can't take my dumbness anymore, that's cool. Please stop now and come back another day when I hopefully won't be spouting off my failures!

Moving on. My one smart move in the painting was to save some of the paint from gallon #2 to do some touch-ups. This meant I had enough to go back and cover the problem areas where gallons #1 and #2 were warring. Luckily, this was only in 3 large patches, and a few other smaller spots in the room. Once I poured most of the remainder into the pan, I had just enough paint to fix my boo boo.

Great, right? NO. Are we reading the same post? Duh, this is all about how much I suck at painting! Like a dummy, I committed Paint Fail #4 and used a roller that I'd used when painting with gallon #1...which meant that some of the old gray-brown paint was lingering on there. So when I spread the tan-brown paint of gallon #2 on the patchy spots, remnants of the gray-brown paint from the roller also hopped on the wall. Thus things were worse than they were before! AHHHHH!

I allowed myself to lay on the floor for one minute of pity-wallowing, then got my booty up and problem solved. (Of course, I was focusing so single-mindedly on this that I completely forgot about taking some "before" shots of the Fail. Sorry.) With a trusty brush in hand (and a new roller), I dug the last dredges of paint from the sides and bottom of gallon #2, spread them over the problem areas, and used the roller to smooth them out.

The Paint gods were taking pity on me, because I magically had just enough paint to remedy those areas--and now the room is looking good despite some major hiccups. (It's not yet blog-worthy, though, and won't be fully awesome until we have all our furniture--but I'll still share a look before then, of course!)

There are several morals to this paint horror story:
  1. NEVER go to the store without having calculated how much paint you need! Lowe's and Home Depot both have estimators to help with this--just measure the room and input its size, and boom!  
  2. NEVER under-buy your paints! It is better to have extra on hand in case you need it!
  3. ALWAYS mix equal parts of your paint gallons if you're using more than one to paint a room. (We'll certainly be doing this with the rest of our paint!!!)
  4. NEVER use dirty rollers when painting! Wash them promptly after you're done, and let them dry before using them again. Throw them out when they get crusty.
  5. ALWAYS listen to your husband's advice at the hardware store. (Ha ha! But seriously. He told me to buy 2 gallons but I didn't listen...and I'll never live that down!)
  6. NEVER allow yourself to get to stressed or down on yourself when DIYing! We're all human and we definitely all make mistakes--it's how we learn :) I know I called myself dumb a lot during this post, but I'm just kidding--and I didn't dwell on my mistakes during the crisis, I just forged on and tried to make things work. If they hadn't, well, then I'd be planning how to cover up those patchy areas with gallery walls and furniture :) Mistakes are made, problems occur, and we have to roll with the punches and deal with them! I try to do so with a smile on my face.
So there you have it. My Paint Fails. 

Do you have any to share? C'mon. Can't be as bad as mine :)

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  1. No no you're not dumb! I just moved and every single wall in my new house was the boring original "painter's white." my first time painting, and I had to paint an entire house! Haha! Thank goodness my mother's a pro and taught me all her tricks. One great thing I learned is you don't have to wash out the rollers if you're not changing paint colors (IE: if you apply one coat, and plan on using the same color for the second) -- You can wrap your wet roller in a plastic bag and stick it in the fridge (or freezer!) It keeps it moist overnight, at least! That saved me some time. :) Good job staying positive, it'll all work out - and beautifully, at that! :)

  2. Awesome post on 20 going on 80 today! I love all your kitchen ideas. I need you to come and organize all my stuff in such a neat and orderly way (:

    I wasn't sure which post to leave my comment of what I woudl want from TJ Maxx, so I'll do it here and on her site. I would use it to help furnish my pitiful porch. My outdoor space always gets neglected and is the last thing to get attention.

  3. Thanks for the tips! I hate painting!! I not only am terrible at it, but I always choose a terrible color.
    family74014 at gmail dot com


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