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Old 08-04-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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First time DIYer - need guidance for painting kid's room


Hi, I am new to the DIY world, but it is time for my little girl to have a "Big Girl" room and I have searched and searched decorating ideas. Being on a budget, I have decided to paint her room, maybe have one wall that I might use one of those peel and stick murals, but when I went to look at paint... there were dozens of options - and I am not just talking about colors.

What kind of paint should I use on a child's bedroom wall? What is the best brand in terms of durability and quality for the price? Should I use a Paint + Primer or purchase them separately? What is VOC? Is it important? What tools do I actually need for this project? Is there a website with tips and how-to articles and videos?

Like I said, I am on a budget and do not have a lot of money. I am looking for a paint that is not in the $50/gallon range - any advice? Thank you for the help!

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Old 08-05-2012, 12:40 AM   #2
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First time DIYer - need guidance for painting kid's room


Use the search engine to search this site for matching posts. Meanwhile.

You should invest in good painting tools starting with a sturdy and safe ladder.

A good 2.5 Inch angled Purdy or Wooster sash brush will cost you $15 retail but if you take care of it you will have it for a long time. Those bags-o-brushes for $10 will have sizes you will never use, will shed bristles, and will not perform well.

You will need a sturdy paint roller tray and I like the plastic ones since they do not rust. You will want to get a good roller cover handle and an extension pole for reaching ceilings and tall walls. A caulking gun that ratchets without you fighting it is a must and I like the ones that swivel 360 degrees.

You will want an assortment of drywall knives and a tray for making repairs.

Plastic razer blades are nice for getting paint off windows and things.

You will need sandpaper and/or sanding blocks. Learn to paint without painter's tape if you can otherwise always buy quality tape.

Car sponges come in handy for wiping down walls.

You will need tarps. If you get plastic ones do not get the cheapies or they will tear just trying to get them in place. Paint pops off plastic tarps so try not to move them around too much.

A multi-bit screw and nut drive kit was always near by in my paint toolbox for removing screws and bolts from coverplates, etc. Put the screws in the outlet or switch and you will not loose them.

As for which paint to buy? Stay away from box store paints and use good quality paint store paints like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Pittsburgh (paint store not Menard's!), etc. Paint stores will actually have people working in them that know paint.

There is no such thing as paint and primer in one. Whether you need a primer depends on the condition of the walls now and what is on them. You may just need two coats of finish.

As far as type of paint for a kids room? Look for something that will hold up to some washing and buy as close to 100 percent acrylics as you can as they will have superior color retention and performance. Generally walls are done in flat or satin and trim in semi-gloss. You might want an eggshell if you anticipate cleaning walls often. Something like Benjamin Moore Aura flat has excellent washability.

If budget is really tight you can apply a contractor grade of paint store paint and still be ahead of box store stuff in quality. ProMar is Sherwin Williams contractor grade and Super Spec is Ben Moore's. They are not the same as the high end paints but are still delightful to work with. You daughter may tire of the color and move on to her next phase quickly anyhow.

Remember in choosing sheens the higher the gloss the more surface defects or differences will show. And by all means know that most of a good paint job is in the prep. Wash and rinse the walls and ceiling. Patch any holes. Spot primer repairs for best results. Etc.

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Old 08-05-2012, 12:43 AM   #3
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Big girls are into posters and things? I hate adhesives so get in the habit of using something like pushpins rather than tape when hanging things. Holes are easier to fix than adhesive residue.
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Old 08-05-2012, 01:06 AM   #4
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Thank you for the guidance. I have attempted to use the search engine, and found lots of useful info, but nothing that gave me exactly what I was looking for. This was a big help. My daughter is almost 3 years old and has fallen in love with a specific room. My husband and I fortunately also love it, but have no idea what is the best brand of paint and if we should get a tinted primer.
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:17 AM   #5
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Tinted primers are advisable in your situation if you are making a substantial color value change, say from a dark color to a light one (or the other way around); or if you plan to apply a deep tone color like a vibrant pink or something. A tinted primer just makes it easier to see what you are doing and can help the finish coats cover better although you should put on two finish coats. Primers tend to be less expensive than finish paints which is another reason to use one. Some on this site will suggest you dump the full color formula in to tint primer. I usually only use 40-50 percent so I am not straining to see with finish coats.

Primers are also problems solvers in cases where you are switching between old oil finishes or planning to put on oil glazes or something. Some still suggest it a good idea to lay down an alkyd before switching from oil finishes to waterbased. Primers provide a nice base for trim paint. They should be used if you have stains that might bleed through into your finish. If you have removed wallpaper you would use a special primer like GARDZ to seal over any remaining paste residue or repair any repairs to drywall covering. You must seal and prime new wood and should drywall. Your real paint store can advise you what primer, if any, you need for your situation.

As for paint? By the best you can afford. How often are you going to paint anyhow so why not get something that is colorfast and that you can wash if that is an issue. Those of us who do/did this for a living have favorites based on how paints and the stores that sell them have performed and held up through the years. My favorite brand was Benjamin Moore but I would not complain at all if a client wanted me to use Sherwin Williams. Paint store, not box store, Pittsburgh was fine too and MAB when it still existed was great. There may be other regional brands near you.

My experience with box store paints like BEHR, Valspar and box store Pittsburgh has been when doing volunteer work and the paint was donated. I noticed the difference immediately in how it went on and how it covered and was not impressed. Whatever you do, do not fall for the paint and primer in one gimmicks.

I think, assuming you have paint stores for all the major brands within reasonable proximity, I would check to see who is running the best sales, has online or newspaper coupons, or most important has attentive staff that might extend you a discount. Most paint stores know they have to do what they can to be competitive and will try to gain you as a customer.

The other nice thing is the expertise. You can ask questions in a paint store and get real answers you can trust. Paint store employees have often been at it a long time and some have even worked in the trenches. If you show up early in the morning when those of us painting for a living were picking up orders and getting free coffee and donuts? I and others would have been more than happy to answer your questions too.

The last reason you should support your local paint store is they give back to the community. Box stores just suck money out of you and your surrounds.

Last edited by user1007; 08-05-2012 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:53 AM   #6
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Yes, what he ^ said
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Tinted primers are advisable in your situation if you are making a substantial color value change, say from a dark color to a light one (or the other way around); or if you plan to apply a deep tone color like a vibrant pink or something. A tinted primer just makes it easier to see what you are doing and can help the finish coats cover better although you should put on two finish coats. Primers tend to be less expensive than finish paints which is another reason to use one. Some on this site will suggest you dump the full color formula in to tint primer. I usually only use 40-50 percent so I am not straining to see with finish coats.

Primers are also problems solvers in cases where you are switching between old oil finishes or planning to put on oil glazes or something. Some still suggest it a good idea to lay down an alkyd before switching from oil finishes to waterbased. Primers provide a nice base for trim paint. They should be used if you have stains that might bleed through into your finish. If you have removed wallpaper you would use a special primer like GARDZ to seal over any remaining paste residue or repair any repairs to drywall covering. You must seal and prime new wood and should drywall. Your real paint store can advise you what primer, if any, you need for your situation.

As for paint? By the best you can afford. How often are you going to paint anyhow so why not get something that is colorfast and that you can wash if that is an issue. Those of us who do/did this for a living have favorites based on how paints and the stores that sell them have performed and held up through the years. My favorite brand was Benjamin Moore but I would not complain at all if a client wanted me to use Sherwin Williams. Paint store, not box store, Pittsburgh was fine too and MAB when it still existed was great. There may be other regional brands near you.

My experience with box store paints like BEHR, Valspar and box store Pittsburgh has been when doing volunteer work and the paint was donated. I noticed the difference immediately in how it went on and how it covered and was not impressed. Whatever you do, do not fall for the paint and primer in one gimmicks.

I think, assuming you have paint stores for all the major brands within reasonable proximity, I would check to see who is running the best sales, has online or newspaper coupons, or most important has attentive staff that might extend you a discount. Most paint stores know they have to do what they can to be competitive and will try to gain you as a customer.

The other nice thing is the expertise. You can ask questions in a paint store and get real answers you can trust. Paint store employees have often been at it a long time and some have even worked in the trenches. If you show up early in the morning when those of us painting for a living were picking up orders and getting free coffee and donuts? I and others would have been more than happy to answer your questions too.

The last reason you should support your local paint store is they give back to the community. Box stores just suck money out of you and your surrounds.
Thank you! Such a big help. One question, though - what does the term "BoxStore" mean?
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jarvisjade34 View Post
Thank you! Such a big help. One question, though - what does the term "BoxStore" mean?
Like Home depot, Lowes, Menards

They sell everything- Jack of all stores- master of nothing.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:25 PM   #9
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For ladders, I like the Wagner platform sold at Home Depot. It's about 4 ft wide and is tall enough to get me comfortably up to a standard 8 ft high ceiling. It costs about $45. The nice part is that it is wide -- you don't have to move it as often when you are cutting in along the ceiling.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
Like Home depot, Lowes, Menards

They sell everything- Jack of all stores- master of nothing.
And goal is corporate profit and certainly not product quality. No fault of their own, but minimum wage employees usually lack any knowledge of what they are selling and how to use it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
Like Home depot, Lowes, Menards

They sell everything- Jack of all stores- master of nothing.
I really appreciate the help! I am on a mission right now to prove I can do this. My husband does not have the same feelings tho
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:31 PM   #12
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I really appreciate the help! I am on a mission right now to prove I can do this. My husband does not have the same feelings tho
I wish it could say it is rocket science. Keep the faith. We all started exactly where you are although in my case I was able work along side some crusty old pros early on. I was PO'd lots at the time but learned lots from them. And now I am but a semi-retired one myself!

I say again, 95 or more percent of a good paint job is in the prep! I bet you know how to work a sponge without instructions? Clean surfaces speed work too. Make sure to vacuum around basebords so you do not snag dust and transfer it on to baseboard trim.

Good tools and materials will make all the difference in the World and actually speed your learning curve. There is nothing worse than fighting a cheap crappy brush that drips and sheds bristles. We have already discussed using paint store paint products.

A lot of what we in the biz do/did fast and accurately just comes/came with practice. Don't rush your skill level and you will be fine. Of all the trade skills I used at times, I enjoyed painting the most and never seemed to grow to tired of it. Although a project or two seemed to drag on forever. Some just hate it.

Don't be afraid to ask real paint store people questions. As I said, I certainly did not mind people asking me for advice when waiting for paint orders. I often got clients out of those that tried painting and then decided to hire me the next time because it was just not their thing so being cooperative was good marketing for me.

Be thinking of something to demand as a reward from the hubby when you accomplish this and also earn bragging rights for a job well done.

Last edited by user1007; 08-06-2012 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:45 PM   #13
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I wish it could say it is rocket science. Keep the faith. We all started exactly where you are although in my case I was able work along side some crusty old pros early on. I was PO'd lots at the time but learned lots from them. And now I am but a semi-retired one myself!

I say again, 95 or more percent of a good paint job is in the prep! I bet you know how to work a sponge without instructions? Clean surfaces speed work too. Make sure to vacuum around basebords so you do not snag dust and transfer it on to baseboard trim.

Good tools and materials will make all the difference in the World and actually speed your learning curve. There is nothing worse than fighting a cheap crappy brush that drips and sheds bristles. We have already discussed using paint store paint products.

A lot of what we in the biz do/did fast and accurately just comes/came with practice. Don't rush your skill level and you will be fine. Of all the trade skills I used at times, I enjoyed painting the most and never seemed to grow to tired of it. Although a project or two seemed to drag on forever. Some just hate it.

Don't be afraid to ask real paint store people questions. As I said, I certainly did not mind people asking me for advice when waiting for paint orders. I often got clients out of those that tried painting and then decided to hire me the next time because it was just not their thing so being cooperative was good marketing for me.

Be thinking of something to demand as a reward from the hubby when you accomplish this and also earn bragging rights for a job well done.
Thanks! I am fairly confident. I have a background in Art, and as my husband likes to poke at me about, I have a tendency to be very meticulous when it comes to projects thanks to my old job for the Army fixing helicopters.... but paint a Princess Room for my 2yo daughter - pure panic! Haha. I have a Sherwin-Williams paint store a couple miles down the road, and was thinking about going in with my ideas and speaking with one of the staff members there for paint/supplies/tips. Would that be my best bet? Should I get everything at that store, or should I go to a box store for supplies?
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jarvisjade34 View Post
I have a Sherwin-Williams paint store a couple miles down the road, and was thinking about going in with my ideas and speaking with one of the staff members there for paint/supplies/tips. Would that be my best bet? Should I get everything at that store, or should I go to a box store for supplies?
The paint store is a wise idea and get everything there. You will have no worries about quality if you do. SW was running a sale so see if that is still going on, check online for coupons, and don't be afraid to ask for a discount.

As mentioned Benjamin Moore was my fave paint but I would have absolutely no reservations using Sherwin Williams products since there is a store close to you.

The paint store will probably not have tiaras so you are on your own for them!

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