For the Love of Paint

Crafters, model makers, decorators, car nuts and home improvement geeks are no strangers to paint. In fact, it may occupy an inordinate portion of their thoughts. From choosing oil vs. latex vs. milk paint to debating colors and finishes, there’s a certain segment of the population who is likely to own a cabinet full of half-empty cans, bottles or tubes, and who may be found embarking on projects solely because of a new technique or brand they’d like to try.

Paint is the essence of variety. Mixing colors, applications, finishing and prep techniques produces a zillion different results, and more often than not, the best results are the products of happy accidents. What’s not to love? Even the very act of preparing a surface and stroking on the paint is soothing.

Paint may very well be the cure for all boredom. Next time you’re feeling a little cranky with your home, let paint come to the rescue and give your house a whole new mood in a weekend. Aside from the usual wall-painting projects, paint can liven up any room in the house.

Latex PaintLatex paint is the big daddy of the paint world, and can be used for just about any project, anywhere, anytime. It applies easily, cleans up easily with water and dries within hours.

Paint a single wall in a bright color to breathe life into a dull room. Paint doors and trim. Slap a coat of paint on boring furniture to make it look newer or entirely different. Take advantage of the plasticity of latex paint, and stencil designs on windows and mirrors. If you hate it, it scrapes off easily with a razor blade.

Paint floors – mosaics and murals are fun if you have plenty of time to kill. Instead of painting walls as usual, experiment with dripping effects, finger painting, sponging and other random applications. Apply paint with a feather duster. Best case scenario, you end up with a look you love. Worst case, you paint over it – gotta love that paint!Spray PaintSpray paint is used for small projects whereas latex paint is used for big ones. Available in a veritable rainbow of colors, and in special formulas for metal and plastic, spray paint is the weekend decorator’s best friend.

Spray old terra cotta flower pots bright yellow for a spring pick-me-up in the garden. Spray metal deck railings with hammered metallic paint for a new look. Give doorknobs and drawer pulls a coat of matte black to up the antique factor in any room. Use spray-on window treatments to frost or etch window panes for privacy without loss of light. Spray a/c vents and heating registers for a bright spring clean-up.

If you use a clip-on trigger attachment, you don’t even have to get your hands dirty.Fabric PaintYes, the flowery painted shirts went out in the early 90s, but fabric paint is so much more than that. You can choose from a variety of finishes and a seemingly infinite color palette to refresh the look of fabric surfaces.

Paint a wide, brightly-colored stripe across the bottom of boring white curtains for an instant mood-lifter. Apply drop by drop to make an interesting tactile border on pillowcase edges. Dilute with water to an ink-like consistency for a dip-style tie-dye party that won’t ruin your washing machine or your favorite stock pot. Spice up Fido’s collar with a painted-on name tag and phone number. Paint big, colorful spots on a shower curtain. Apply a coat of diluted paint to jeans, blot with a wrinkled piece of plastic wrap and let dry for an edgy, industrial look that fetches triple digits at the mall.Milk PaintMilk paint has the advantage of being non-toxic, and it produces a soaked-in color and dull finish that lets wood grain show through. It’s especially at home with rustic decor, but it adds a touch of warmth to any decorating scheme.

Dip the handles of wooden kitchen utensils in milk paint and allow to drip dry – you won’t be embarrassed to leave these spoons on the counter! Paint a wooden garden bench to make it look like it’s been there forever – top with UV-protectant polyurethane for weather resistance. Paint wooden folding chairs to make them look more intentional and less temporary. Give old, forgotten wooden toys a coat or two to make them worthy of display rather than storage.Yes, paint brings everything to life. Don’t hesitate to experiment, because you can keep painting over it until you get the look you want. If it comes down to it, a coat of paint remover will leave you right back where you started. Keep an eye out for sales, and check out the “oops” shelf at the home improvement store to score some cool colors at a discount. Invest in some decent brushes, and get painting!