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What can I do to make painting easier and less messy?

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By Brian Santos

Q. Painting a room is such a hassle, but I can't afford a professional. What can I do to make it easier and less messy?

A. You can make painting less of a pain with some products you probably already have at home. Try these:

  • Lip balm Save hours of masking window glass by rubbing lip balm around the inside of each pane. When paint dries, score around the glass with a butter knife and peel away the balm and the excess paint.

  • Plastic wrap If you're painting the ceiling, press a piece on your glasses. You'll still be able to see. If paint splatters, you can peel off the plastic wrap and put on a new piece.

  • Nonstick cooking spray Spritz some on your arms and rub it in, and water-based paint won't stick -- just don't use the garlic flavor!

  • Kitchen garbage bag Make cleanup easy by sliding your roller tray into a bag, then pressing it into the tray to form a liner. Next, pour the paint in. When you're done, slip off the bag, turn inside out and toss.

  • Fabric softener If you're using water-based paint, swish your dirty brushes in a mixture of 1/2 cup fabric softener and 1/2 cup water. They'll come clean in 10 seconds flat.

Expert Brian Santos, aka The Wall Wizard, is the author of Painting Secrets (Meredith Books 2004).

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