Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Easiest Way to Paint a Ceiling - Tips and Tricks You Need to Know!

This post is brought to you by HomeRight.

Do you have a ceiling that needs paint and you are absolutely dreading the job? Do you need tips and tricks for how to paint your ceiling without killing your arms and getting paint everywhere? I am here to help! 

Welcome to ceiling painting 101!

Earlier this week, I gave you a tour of The Farmhouse. I have to confess that we put offers on several other houses before we put in an offer on this one - mostly because just about every surface in this house was going to need paint - even the ceilings! Ugh.

The front room and kitchen, for example, had semi-gloss mauve paint on both the walls AND the ceilings. 

PRO TIP: Never paint your walls and ceilings mauve. Ever. Or if you do, plan to at least paint them back to a more neutral shade - like white - when you go to sell your house. Also: semi-gloss is not a good finish to use on ceilings. Instead, choose a matte or "flat" finish.

All that to say....the semi-gloss mauve has to go! 

What you need to know about ceiling painting!

Ceiling Painting Tip #1: Choose the right tools!
Having the right tools for the job is absolutely imperative! This is what will make a difference between aches and pains that follow you for weeks or none at all. Not to mention time! The right tools will save you so much time - not just on painting but on clean up, too!

Here are the tools you need to paint your ceiling the easy way:

Ceiling Painting Tip #2: Choose quality paint!
Poor quality paint will require more coats (read: more time painting) versus just 2 coats of a high quality paint. I used flat finish paint from Colorhouse in my favorite shade of white, which is Bisque.02. I love Colorhouse paint because not only does it have great coverage, but it is non-toxic and zero VOC. VOCs are those nasty chemicals that are both bad for your body and make paint smell bad. They off-gas while you paint - and then for up to 5 years afterward - long after the new paint smell is gone! VOCs are why pregnant women and children shouldn't be present while painting (with traditional paint) and you should always paint in a ventilated room - unless you use a non-toxic, zero VOC paint. This has the added benefit of allowing you to paint during the fall and winter - there is no need to open the windows to air out a room when using zero VOC paint. Winning!

In short, there is no good reason to buy toxic (traditional) paint when such high quality non-toxic and zero VOC options exist!

All that to say: don't skimp on paint. Save your time and health and get the good stuff, ok?

Let's get started!

Prep Step 1: Clear it out!
Prepare your room for painting by removing as many things from the room as possible. This will make it easier to move around in the room while painting.  

Prep Step 2: Remove fixtures and fix holes
If you have fixtures you want to remove (we got rid of the chandelier and that weird cabinet in the corner), do that now. 

Patch any holes with spackle. I like to use one that goes on pink and turns white when dry so I know when it's ready to be painted over.

Prep Step 3: Cover up
Next, lay your drop cloth on the floor. If you have furniture or other things that were unable to be removed, cover them with a drop cloth as well. Be sure that the drop cloth goes all the way to the wall. If your drop cloth is not big enough to cover the floor of the whole room, you can move it around as you work - just be sure to always work over a drop cloth. Trust me.

Now it's time to paint!

Painting Step 1: Cut in
Climb up on your ladder or stepstool so you can reach the corner where the walls meet the ceiling. Use the QuickPainter to paint the edges of the ceiling where it meets the wall. 

The QuickPainter is great because you load it with paint and then you just zip along painting cut lines (the fancy word for your paint lines on the edges). No need to tape off anything or "dip, wipe and paint" with a brush. You can also paint pretty much as far as your arm can reach before you have to move your ladder (unlike the paint brush method, which has you climbing off and on your ladder every 24 inches or so).

The QuickPainter comes with really easy to follow instructions, but if you are a visual person like me, here is how it works:

You start by twisting off the head with the paint pad.

Next, you immerse the tip of the QuickPainter into your paint or primer. Hold down the trigger with your thumb and draw the yellow plunger on the end away from the handle. Release the trigger first. Then release the plunger.

Remove the handle from the paint, wipe off the tip and twist the painting pad back into place.

Press the trigger a few times to get the paint flowing through the pad. Practice drawing some lines in the middle of the ceiling (read: somewhere you're going to paint anyway) so you can get a feel for how it works and what hand position is most comfortable for you.

Tip 1: You should not hold the trigger down the whole time you are painting. Once paint is flowing, just pump it as needed to get more paint flowing into the head.

Tip 2: Once you are done cutting in, wrap up the tip of the QuickPainter with plastic cling wrap or foil to keep it from drying out while you do the rest of the paint.

Painting Step 2: Load the roller
Assemble the PaintStick EZ Twist by following the instructions that came with it. Then, use the straw  (that also came with it) to suck paint up into the shaft of the paint roller. 
Tip 1: Practice drawing the plunger back before you actually insert the straw to load the paint. You need to flip the switch on the handle (just follow the instructions) and it might stick a bit the first time you use it. You should only use the straw for 60 seconds at a time - so don't waste your seconds fiddling with the plunger.

Tip 2: On the first draw, you will end up with a lot of air in the handle and that it okay - you didn't necessarily do anything wrong! Just lock the switch and twist to push the paint and air up the tube. Once you've used up that starter tube of paint, your next draw will be almost all paint and minimal air.

Painting Step 3: Roll on!
To get the paint started, twist the handle. If you ended up with a lot of air in the tube on the first draw, you might need to twist for a bit until all the air is out and the paint starts. Roll the roller on the ceiling (or a nearby wall if you're going to paint it anyway, ahem) until the paint rolls on smoothly.

Once the paint is flowing, just keep rolling and twisting as needed to dispense the paint directly into the roller - no need to bend/dip/load/lift/drip everywhere or climb up on a ladder like you would with a normal roller! Roll the painter right up to the cut lines you made earlier until the whole ceiling is painted.

Painting Step 4: Wrap it up
Any time you paint a textured surface like a ceiling or textured wall, you are going to need to do a second coat (if you bought poor quality paint, you might even need to do a third or fourth coat!). Once you are done with the first coat, wrap up your QuickPainter and the roller on the PaintStick EZ Twist with plastic cling wrap or foil while the first coat dries. This will keep the bristles on the QuickPainter and the roller from drying out. As long as you come back to paint the second coat within 18 hours or so of the first coat, I find this method works great (and saves you from doing all the clean up twice!)

If for some reason you need to wait more than 18ish hours between coats, go ahead and clean all the tools following the instructions they came with and then reassemble to start over when you're ready to do the second coat.

Painting Step 5: The second coat
The second coat will go a little faster since your tools are already assembled! Use the QuickPainter to do a second coat of cut lines (tip: consider painting from a different direction than you did the first time to maximize coverage). Then unwrap the PaintStick EZ Twist and do a second coat. Just like with the cut lines, you'll maximize coverage by switching directions. So if for the first coat you faced north and painted forward and backward, this time face east or west and do the same thing!

Once your second coat is done, check to be sure you don't need a third coat. With the Colorhouse paint, I got incredible coverage - even over the dark pink paint that was hiding behind the cabinet - and I only needed two coats. If it looks like you'll need to do a third coat, wrap up your tools again like you did in step four until the second coat is dry.

Step 6: Clean up!
The clean up for these tools isn't hard but it does take some time. I recommend using a bathtub or laundry sink along with a 5 gallon bucket. I really like this Handy Painter's Tool to get all the extra paint out of the roller - that way you can scrape it back into the paint bucket to use later instead of washing it down the drain!

Tip: If you dripped paint on your hard floors and didn't see it until after it dried (who me?), I found my HomeRight SteamMachine to be really helpful to clean it up. Just use the long wand and the black brush tool. No scraping needed! Easy peasy.

Now go forth and paint!
(if you still have questions, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to help!)

Need help painting your walls? I have a post for that, too!
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The QuickPainter Edge Painter & The PaintStick EZ Twist are Creative Green Living favorite products!

Creative Green Living favorite products are selected based on functionality, quality and usefulness to a green lifestyle. By listing this as a favorite product we are saying that this is genuinely one of our favorite items. There is no warranty expressed or implied by listing an item as a CGL favorite and brands cannot purchase the right to be listed as a favorite product.

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Product review disclosure: This post was sponsored by HomeRight. I was provided with free paint tools and compensated for my time spent creating this tutorial to show you how to use them. Colorhouse generously provided me with the paint I used. All thoughts and opinions shared in this post are my own. I only ever endorse products from companies that I genuinely love and think you, my readers, would enjoy. Please see my full review policy for more information.


  1. I always dread cutting in and usually try to avoid painting the ceiling whenever possible because it's such a pain. These HomeRight products look like the answer. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  2. Homeright looks like the perfect solution. I'll be giving it a shot, thanks!

  3. Homeright looks like the perfect solution. I'll be giving it a shot, thanks!

  4. SUCH a great post and awesome tips! I always dread painting ceilings...will definitely reference this post next time!

  5. Thank you for the detailed information on how to properly paint inside a house like this!


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