An Introduction to Everyday Paint Supplies

These are “everyday paint supplies”, paint supplies and tools necessary for nearly any paint job (and things any do-it-yourselfer should have around the house).

Whether you intend to do a straight paint job, create a faux leather finish, or use a colorwashing technique, you will need these supplies - a brush, rollers, painter’s tape, and a few other things.

Simple, right?

Not really. There is such a selection of these things available that you may feel overwhelmed. An angled paintbrush or a flat brush? 1/4” nap rollers covers or 3/8”? Does it really even matter?

To answer my own question, yes, it does matter. Getting the right paint supplies can make all the difference. But don’t worry. I’ve done the homework for you and laid out the general guidelines below.

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  • Paintbrushes – There may be more paintbrushes available than any other supply. A thousand different sizes, angles, bristle-types.

    Commonly, only one type of paintbrush is needed for most jobs. I suggest an angled 2” Nylon/Polyester brush for any application involving latex (water-based) paint. Almost all interior paint jobs will use this type of paint (see the Paint Selection page for more information).

    The size and shape of this type of brush is ideal for cutting in around ceilings, woodwork, and corners. Use a professional-grade brush to ensure quality. This is important to ensure a smooth, even coat of paint. Some cheaper paintbrushes will absorb too much paint and make a nice “cut” line very difficult to achieve. When buying brushes, selecting quality paint supplies is a necessity.

    Certain jobs may require other types of brushes. If painting narrow woodwork or working in tight places, simply choose a narrower brush of the same type.

    If there is need to use a paintbrush over a larger area, the opposite is true, and a flat 3 or 4 inch brush is suggested.

    Any job using oil-based paints or stains will require a natural bristled brush instead of a synthetic brush.

    There are also many types of brushes used in different specialty techniques, such as faux leather, colorwashing, and faux linen. Find more information on these brushes in Specialty Tools Intro.

  • Rollers - A roller actually has two parts…the “cage” or handle of the roller, and the roller cover, which are usually sold as separate pieces.

    A simple “cage and handle” is suitable for nearly any job, though an extension handle (this has an adjustable length handle that screws into the roller frame) is often very useful as well. This will make it possible to reach higher areas of the walls or ceilings without extensive ladder exercises (climb ladder, paint, move ladder, climb ladder…you get the idea).

    The number and selection of different roller covers is nearly as great as paintbrushes. For most jobs, a standard 3/8” nap roller is all that is necessary to apply a smooth coat, whether it be a base coat for a faux finish or a straight paint application.

    Longer-nap rollers are generally used on textured surfaces such as masonry or unfinished plaster to apply a denser coat of paint that fills cracks and crevices. They are not suggested for applying paint to drywall or finished plaster.

    Short-nap rollers apply a very thin layer of paint, and give a surface a slightly textured surface. This often does not cover well, and may necessitate several coats of paint for proper coverage.

    Smaller 3” “corner rollers” are also available, and can be useful for rolling tight spaces. Care must be taken to “blend” the areas where these are used with the rest of the space.

  • Ladders - Basically every painting project requires a ladder. What is important is picking out a sturdy, quality ladder. For some paint jobs, a sturdy two-step stepladder is enough. For others a 6' or even 10' ladder may be necessary.

    Always take care when using ladders, follow manufacturer instructions, and never overextend yourself. No project is worth a broken bone, or worse.

    Lint-Free Cotton Rags - For general cleanup. Most paint/home improvement stores sell these in packs, but a clean old cotton t-shirt will work just as well. Usually works better when slightly moist.

  • Roller Pan and Liner - An aluminum or plastic roller pan is a necessity for loading your rollers with paint. A disposable plastic liner (usually sold separately) helps make cleanup a breeze.

  • 5-in-1 Cleaning Tool - This simple tool is essential for cleaning brushes, rollers, paint cans, etc… It has a curved "half-moon" shape to the front for cleaning roller covers and a "comb" shape to the other side for cleaning brushes.

  • Paint Can Opener - A simple, essential tool for easily opening paint cans without damaging them. Despite a current trend toward plastic, pour-able containers, many quality paint manufacturers still use the old-fashioned can.

  • Paint Mixing Tool - This tool is an attachment for electric hand drills that comes in several different shapes and takes the work out of mixing paints or paint-glaze mixtures.

  • Painter’s Tape - Another important paint supply. Ideal for protecting woodwork, ceilings, adjoining walls, or any other objects. I suggest 2” tape, to protect more surface space.

    Be sure to use only painter’s tape (which is typically blue) and do not substitute duct tape or any other types of tape, which will damage surfaces when peeled away. Painter’s tape should peel cleanly away from most surfaces (glass, painted surfaces, wallpaper, woodwork) within 10 to 14 days of application.

    Remember, using quality paint supplies and materials will pay dividends in the long run. Not only will quality paint supplies help the finished product look its very best, it will take some of the stress out of the work itself.