Favorite Painting Tips That Make a Big Difference

Painting Tips- Painting Tricks


I had so many painting questions and emails after I posted my favorite tips & tricks for choosing paint colors a few weeks ago, that I thought I would follow up with a few of my favorite painting tips.  I wanted to narrow down and share those painting tips that make a significant difference in the finished project, whether you’re painting a wall, cabinets, trim or furniture pieces.

Let’s just jump right in!




I’m starting with this tip because it is by far my favorite.  Floetrol mixed with paint makes a huge difference when painting cabinets, doors, trim or furniture pieces.  Floetrol is a liquid paint conditioner that you just pour into your paint and it greatly helps to reduce paint build up on brushes, extends the drying time, helps to create a smooth finish and it virtually eliminates brush marks.

I was first introduced to Floetrol more than 7 years ago when I had my kitchen cabinets professionally painted.  I was concerned because this would be the third time the cabinets were painted and I didn’t want them to look like they had layers of thick paint.  My painter told me not too worry because he had a secret weapon; Floetrol.  I was blown away by how gorgeous and sleek my cabinet finish looked after he painted it with the Floetrol mixed with paint:


Kitchen Cabinets



Painting Tips


There are no brush marks to be found and the paint finish is so uniform, sleek and smooth. Keep in mind that these cabinets were painted more than 7 years ago and it was the third time they were painted and they still look like new.  My cabinet paint finish has also held up amazingly well and today 7 years later, they look like they were just painted.

I have used Floetrol to paint my bathroom cabinets, doors, trim and on several of the furniture pieces that I have painted and the finish is always so beautiful!  You can purchase Floetrol at Lowe’s or Home Depot and if you want to learn more on how to use Floetrol, you can go here.

****Edited**** I had a request for the paint color of my cabinets so I thought I would share here just in case anyone else is interested.  The color is a Sherwin Williams custom mix that I tweaked using four different colors.  If you’re interested, you can print out the photo below of the label with the mix info and take it to Sherwin Williams and they can mix it for you:


Mix Your Own Chalk Paint for Walls and Furniture Revamps


Chalk Paint- How to Make your own Chalk Paint


Over the last year, mixing my own chalk paint has become an obsession for me.  I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but it’s so expensive and the color choices are limited.   I know there are tons of chalk paint recipes that you can find throughout blogland, but my favorite mix/finish is by mixing lightweight spackle, flat paint and latex primer:


How to Make your Own Chalk Paint- Custom Chalk Paint Recipe


I started mixing lightweight spackle with paint for my faux plaster finishes.  When I saw that the lightweight spackle was {surprisingly} not too grainy, but rather chalky when mixed with paint, I tweaked my faux plaster recipe and reduced the amount of spackle and added primer and flat paint to create chalk paint.

The spackle mix gives me the most gorgeous chalky finish and I only have to use one coat.  The chalky magic happens after the mix is brushed on and completely dries.  Also, something magical happens with the paint color that I can’t explain, when mixed with primer and spackle.  The color becomes so elegantly rich and the finish is simply gorgeous.

It’s hard to see on this sample board but this is what the finish looks like with this mix:


Chalk Paint Recipe-


My recipe for the chalk paint using lightweight spackle is equal parts of spackle, flat paint in your desired color, and latex primer.  For smaller projects, I mix 1/3rd of each together.  For larger furniture projects, I mix two cups of each.  It’s like mixing cake batter and you’ll want to mix until all of the lumps are gone.  If you want more of a plaster look that is thicker, you can increase your spackle.

FrogTape Painters Tape

FrogTape- The Best Painting Tape


I have tried every painters tape on the market over the years.  Up until recently, I used Scotch Blue tape but I recently started having paint seep under the tape.  I decided to try a different tape and I tried the FrogTape and WOW, what a difference! Works like a charm every time!

FrogTape is the only painter’s tape treated with PaintBlock Technology. PaintBlock is a super-absorbent polymer which reacts with latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape, preventing paint bleed. In other words, music to our ears!  Paint will not seep!  Be sure and get the right FrogTape for the right surface and you can find this amazing tape at both Home Depot and Lowes.

Choosing the Right Brush/Roller for the Job
Painting Tips- Paint Brush


Many people do not realize that paint brushes and rollers are labeled for specific uses and the right brush/roller can make or break a paint job.  While some of the paint brushes/rollers are “all purpose”,  be careful because cheap “all purpose” brushes are just not worth it because the bristles come off easily and they leave horrible brush marks. The wrong rollers for the job can splatter or leave uneven patches of paint.

From my experience, it makes a big difference to spend a tad bit more money for a specific brush, like a latex brush with bristles that are designed for latex paint.  Most people just grab a brush/roller at the paint store and don’t look at the label.  They could be grabbing a brush specifically designed for applying wood stain and not realize that its the worst possible brush to use for something like a latex project. The same thing applies to paint rollers.  People may not realize that they may be buying a roller designed for ceilings, which is not ideal for rolling paint on walls.

Help with Choosing the Right Paint Color

If you missed it a few weeks ago, I shared some favorite tips and tricks for choosing a paint color.  All of the images in that post are rooms where I have labeled specific paint colors and brands that can help if you’re looking for some paint inspiration.  You can get to that post by clicking the image below:


How to Pick a Paint Color- Tips for Picking a Paint Color


Need a little more help in trying to figure out how to pick a paint color?  You can see my explanation of the paint elimination process that I go through in this segment that I did for Fox 26 Houston Weekend Morning News. You can go to the video by clicking the image below:



Also, if you’re interested in the faux plaster technique that I mentioned for trash to treasure projects, you can see that post by clicking below:


How to Make Faux Plaster- Trash to Treasure- The Creativity Exchange


I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend and thank you for hanging out with me today for Friday Saturday Favorites!



This entry was posted in DIY, Do It Yourself Projects, Paint Techniques, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Favorite Painting Tips That Make a Big Difference

  1. I’m pinning these great tips! Wow! Thanks for the share of knowledge!!!

  2. Cyndy says:

    Thank you Lisa and thank you so much for pinning! Have a great Sunday! Cyndy

  3. danielle says:

    I am about to sand by 2 year old cabinets and paint them a cream white. Right now I am very nervous to not get the DIY look but a professional look. As of now we are in the middle of picking the perfect color. Your cabinet color is gorgeous and what I am looking for. What is the color you used????
    P.S. I am going to use the secret weapon for sure!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Danielle! The color is a custom mix of about four colors that I tweaked until I got the exact color that I had in my mind. I wanted a creamy taupe that had an undertone of green, so my color may have a tad too much green for some people who do not have a lot of natural light in their space. I have tons of natural lighting in my kitchen so it looks more like a creamy neutral taupe, making the green undertone less visible but the green is what is needed for a true taupe. The color may be darker and have a little more green than you are looking for but if you are still interested, I am sending you a photo of the Sherwin Williams label with the custom mix numbers and I will add the mix photo to the post for others to see if they are interested. If the color is too dark for you but you like the richness of the color, ask the guys @ SW to increase the white 25-50% depending on how dark it is for you. I would love to hear what you decide to do! Thanks! Cyndy

  4. Kathy says:

    Once again—-awesome tips (I love this feature each week)!!! I’ve used other chalk paint recipes but I’m excited to try yours this coming week – that 1 coat coverage is sounding great since I’m doing a hutch!! 🙂 Thanks so much! Blessings!

  5. Amanda Eck says:

    Loving these tips! Watched your episode this morning (I DVR’d it). They really needed to give you more time- they should have broken it up into 2 segments there was so much good info you had to share!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thanks so much Amanda! Yea, I think this was a little too much info to pack into one segment. Two segments would have covered everything. I felt like I was missing some things when we were done shooting but I think there are enough tips in the segment to help. Thanks girl!

  6. This is a fantastic post girl! And congratulations on your news segment- that is so cool!!

  7. Sally says:

    Your paint work is amazing. I am interested in attempting to paint my backsplash (ceramic tile) and am wondering your thoughts on this.

  8. ann says:

    Has anyone used chalkpaint on walls? specifically, i’m considering doing it in the kitchen. let me know!

  9. Linda says:

    I thought I had seen just about all the chalk paint recipes, but spackle and primer mixed with paint is a new one. Have you tried using Zinsser or Kilz primer? Also can a satin paint be used or just flat? The finish on your cabinets is beautiful. Looks like it has held up well. Thank you!

  10. Mary Becker says:

    I’m interested in trying your chalk paint recipe. Can Flotroel be added to it?

  11. Your first trip about Floetrol is important enough for its own article!

    It almost motivates me to paint my kitchen again. Thanks for sharing.

  12. m says:

    I’m interested in trying your chalk paint recipe. Can Flotroel be added to it?

  13. MHanson says:

    I’m now addicted to mixing lightweight shrink-free spackling with primer and paint! Thank you!!! I have a cheap Hamilton beach stick blender that I use only for crafting stuff, and it was perfect for mixing your paint recipe.

  14. Debra Aubin says:

    LOVED your bog. I paint furniture and will be trying your homemade chalk paint. Can you please tell me exactly the paint brush that you would use for this paint, like the name brand if possible. I do buy the better brand brushes but I still get confused as to which brush I should use. I like to paint by hand instead of spray painting. I would greatly appreciate your help as I am getting ready to paint a some what large buffet in which I will be using both a roller and a paint brush. Thank you for any info you can provide for me. I have saved all of your tips and tricks for my references. Thank you for sharing.
    Best regards

  15. Halinka Burke says:

    Doesn’t the primer lighten the color of the paint?

  16. Shirley says:

    How much Floetroll do you add to your chalk paint?

  17. nikki says:

    Hi, I have a question… If I have just painted a piece of furniture (applied two layers) can I do another layer with the added Floetroll the last layer or do I need to start again (strip, sand, prime, paint)?

    • Cyndy says:

      Absolutely Nikki! Just do a light sanding like I mentioned with the fine grit sanding sponge to remove any brush mark ridges before your top coat with Floetrol. Your top coat with the Floetrol will be the icing on the cake and gorgeous! Good luck!

  18. Sus says:

    Your kitchen cabinets look great, thanks for posting the color. Can you tell us what finish of paint was used? Satin, semi-gloss? Thanks!

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Sus! I only use satin on cabinetry. I’m not a fan of the semi-gloss finish on cabinetry because it’s too shiny. It use to be years ago that the semi-gloss was more durable but these days, so semi-gloss was always used on cabinets. However, the satin is just as durable and the extender with the hardener in it helps improve durability. Thanks for your note.

  19. Catherine says:

    These are all such great tips. I read with great interest your statement about satin paint on cabinets. This got me wondering, what’s your current opinion about paint finishes in general. Matte? Eggshell? And does it depend on the type of room?

    • Cyndy says:

      Thank you Catherine for your note. You know, you may think I’m crazy but every wall in my home is flat. I can’t stand even the slightest bit of sheen on my walls. The reason I do this is because I feel that’s how you get the true color and sheen on wall has a reflection-ist appearance and looks like cheap paint to me. The truth is that even flat paint has a very slight amount of sheen that makes it wipeable and if you get a spot, you can still wipe it off. I have never had to come back and touch up my walls. I recommend it all the time and people come back to me and always say that that it makes such a big difference and that they love it. It’s just my personal preference but if you’re curious, try it in a room and you will see why it makes all the difference. 🙂

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