DIY tips


DIY Tips Over the years DIYers have kindly sent in lots of tips and ideas to make decorating easier. A selection of these are below for your education, and in some cases, for your amusement. We hope you find these gems from fellow decorators useful.

Please note that these tips have not been tested by Resene and are included below as supplied to us.

If you have a handy tip of your own to share we'd love to hear from you - submit your handy tip.

If your room feels too ‘hot’, cool it down with whites that have black or blue undertones. These sorts of colours go well with glass and metal for a modern look.

If your room is a bit chilly warm it up with creamy whites that have some yellow or ochre undertones. They’ll go great with other warm colours and any natural timber finishes that may be in the room and often tend to have a more traditional look. From: Emma

I've written the paint colours I have used in my house on the wall in the back of a bottom cupboard. I'll always know where to look to find them if I forget, and future owners will have a reference if they want to do some touch-ups too. From: Claire

When trying to get a perfect finish with polyurethane, use a proper tack cloth after all sanding. Have a cuppa between the last sanding and then use the tack cloth. The smallest dust particles show up as really large after a couple of coats of polyurethane. Also, don't wear a woollen jumper when applying the product because even with you trying to be careful, hairs of the jumper will fall on the work piece. Spread the brush full outwards and lay it off as quick and as lightly as you can, firstly across the grain and then even more lightly, with the grain. Polyurethane has to be done quickly as its edges dry rapidly and that makes a soft skin which is difficult to manage with the next brush full. You can get finishes better than spraying with a lot of practice and it lasts better than sprayed surfaces. From: Will

When staining a long/tall fence BUY A SPRAYER! The price of approx $160 for the sprayer I bought was saved on day one when I sprayed a 6 foot fence that was 50 metres long in two hours!!! I have since taken to buying second hand furniture, adding some Resene colour to the sprayer, a $2 remnant from the fabric store and voila new chairs. Everyone loves them. From: Sindy

Using an empty plastic pail, cut a hole in the lid large enough for the handle of the paint brush you are using, add a little water and the brushes will stay damp during breaks. From: Mike

Never give up half way or you will never finish (note the word never). From: Dennis

If you are cutting in without using masking tape and still leave a trail of paint where you shouldn't, have a thin damp cloth (I like Chux) wrapped over the blade of a painting spatula and immediately run that along the offending spill. It neatly removes the paint. You can repeat the 'wipe' if it doesn't all come off in the first one. From: Ellen

Before painting window frames rub a little cooking oil on the glass. The paint will not stick to it and is easily cleaned off with soap and water once paint has dried. From Viola.

If you are going to store wet rollers and brushes in the freezer temporarily to stop them going hard - always double or triple-bag them as food nearby will be tainted otherwise. Rock hard brushes can also be resurrected by coating them lavishly with paint stripper and working at them gently after a few hours (always wear gloves for this). Store brushes, particularly good bristle ones, with the bristles damp with linseed oil or glycerine - and encase ends in rubber bands to keep the tips smooth. Write the paint formulas somewhere else other than only on the tin - keep the references inside an instruction manuals box. Have a box for instruction manuals only - keep in the laundry in a handy place. From: Louise

If you end up with a tiny mark on fabric curtains, sheets, etc. instead of soaking the whole article try soaking a cotton bud in bleach (or
other) and apply to the stain. From: Mary

Wear a shower cap when you are sanding. From: Mary

If you own rental properties keep a 'Lists' folder on your computer - one for if you are planning garden maintenance, one for paint jobs, one for if tenants move out. I also keep one for 'kayaking trips' and for years had a many-page list for camping holidays, one for your toilet bag contents and one for your overseas trips. Saves reinventing the wheel.From: Mary

Ever wanted to know what order you should paint in? Work your way from the top to the bottom… paint the ceiling and complete that, undercoat walls, undercoat trim doors and windows, topcoat walls, topcoat trims, topcoat doors… then sit back and admire your handiwork!!

To get paint odour out of a room, cut a large onion in half, place in a bowl, close the doors for a couple of days, and the paint odour will be gone. Don't know how it works but it does and the room doesn't smell of onions. From: Lyn

After lifting a carpet, I found that there was paper on the floor. To remove it, I used a steam iron (old one) and a spray bottle to soak and remove. Took about 10-15 minutes to remove approx half a metre. From: Susan

To remove glue from a wooden floor use a wallpaper remover that gives off steam. We had tried everything else -even a spade to try to scrape it off. After holding the steamer onto the glue for a couple of minutes, we could scrape the glue off with just a paint scraper. It saved us hours of work. Make sure you use a mask. From: Joanne

Plastic freezer containers from the supermarket or empty ice-cream containers make great paint trays for speedbrushing. Clip the lid on between coats to save paint wastage. From: Stephanie

If you have a bit of spot priming to do on your roof use a pop top drink bottle to hold the paint. Just squirt a drop on the spot you wish to prime and brush the primer out. The bottle is easy to seal and can be put into your pocket and the brush slipped into a plastic bag. No need to cart a can around. From: DG Mansell

Move your cars to a safe place when you are painting the roof. A while ago we painted the roof on a warm day with a light breeze in the air - once we got down off the roof we discovered our cars had little spots of red paint all over them! True story - we learned an expensive lesson. From: Karen

My husband and I had just finished stripping the wallpaper in the family room of the house that we were redecorating and were in the kitchen having dinner when we heard a whining noise from the family room. When we raced in to see what it was, we found our dog Betsy lying on the ground with wet wallpaper all matted in her fur! Tip: Close the door when decorating with animals/children in the house! From: Roil

If you paint around windows but haven't masked them properly use the ceramic cooktop razor cleaner to remove the dried paint from the glass. It has a handle and is easy to use without scratching the glass. From: Lyn

My best diy/decorating tip is to do one room at a time! From: Shute

DIY TipsWhen painting above your head with a brush, paint tends to drip down the brush onto your hand. To avoid this, put a small hole in an ice-cream container lid and place the handle of the brush through the hole. You won't get any paint on your hand as it will go onto the lid. Once you have finished the job you can clean and reuse the lid. From: Nicola

If you want something done, start on it yourself then leave it half finished. This way your husband/wife will hate looking at it and finish it off for you. This has been tried and tested by me. I wanted the garage painted so started one wall and never quite finished it. When my husband saw it, he couldn't bear to see it half done, so now I have my garage painted! From: Veronica

Paint one wall of your house each year. Then the job seems a lot smaller. From: Ron

If your husband says he is going to paint the house, rush out and pay someone that week to do it! Sorry to all DIY hubbys. From: Adele

If you’re painting a door, always paint the edges first then the main face of the door.

When taking out or walling up a door or window, use the gap to create an in-built bookshelf. This is very effective if you have an arched door you no longer want. From: Andrea

Use a grinder to get melted clothing off an iron. From: Michelle

When putting up plasterboard on a ceiling and lacking people to hold it up while you screw it in, tack a temporary ledge onto the top of the walls that you can slot the edge of the plasterboard into while you screw the other side to the ceiling. From: Shanny

We have had some odd shaped spaces in our home so decided to get creative with the paint colours. Here’s what we learned along the way… Paint the ceiling in a dark colour to lower it and make the room seem cosier. Or paint it in a light colour to make it seem higher and the room larger. If you have lots of shelves and you don’t want them to stand out, paint them the same colour as the walls and it will help to hide them. Or make a feature of them by painting them a contrasting colour and in a higher gloss. If you have an ornate ceiling paint it in a striking colour or to glam up a normal ceiling wallpaper it! From: Catherine

Prepare the surface before you start painting, and apply the paint as per the manufacturer's written instructions! From: Samir

When taping around glass on windows and doors cut two large pieces of string. One to go through the handle of the scissors and one through the tape. Then hang them around your neck. This frees up your hands but means the tape is always within reach. From: Kerry.

If you are a keen do it yourselfer and have a hands free phone, wrap the phone in gladwrap. It will be kept clean even if you answer it with your hands covered in paint. This is also a good idea if you have a mobile phone. The film does not affect the phone and it does not reduce the sound quality. From: Bob

When painting a feature wall, use tape. Tape the sidewalls and the skirting boards to protect against paint splashes. When you are cutting into the ceiling, use a 'cutting in' brush. From: Katrina

To make a tile-like paint effect cut a pot scrubber (i.e. sponge and pot scourer combined) into squares of whatever size you want, glue the scouring side onto a stiff backing leaving space between each square to represent grouting. Paint the squares in various colours or the same colour and apply around dados or doors to get a Greek tile effect. From: Liz

When painting with a roller, cover your glasses' lenses with gladwrap. Then when you have finished painting, just peel off the gladwrap. From: Noleen

My Dad put in a watertank at the farm to collect drinking water off the roof. He was up his aluminium extension ladder and had just finished connecting the final piece of spouting from the guttering to the watertank. He climbed down the ladder and as he was putting it away, discovered that he couldn't - he'd put the spouting through the rungs of the ladder. TIP: Always move your ladder before connecting the spouting! From: Jim

Use old lampshades as funnels when pouring from one paint can to another. From: Peter

Decorating tip for men: It is obvious that the wife will have ideas on redecorating but will insist on your input, which will then be discarded as either inane, insane or just plain dumb. However it is no use saying 'just do as you like dear' as that will be regarded as not participating properly and will confirm her feelings that you are not really involved with this project. So it is best to listen to her half carefully (as apart from not at all) during proceeding weeks leading up to the decision, and then when the question comes you can suggest some ideas along the lines of those you know she has been thinking. It is even wise to browse a couple of mags she has left lying around (this is not by accident). This is really smart as it saves arguments, she will think you are brilliant to be thinking the same as her and what's more she will come to the idea you have a modicum of taste and may let you buy your own clothes in future. From: Dave

When painting outside windows, place masking tape around the already painted areas and the windows to avoid unwanted paint splashes. Make sure you take the masking tape off before the paint dries. From: Liz and Stu

When painting, empty the paint can so there is enough room for you to tap the sides of the paint can with the paintbrush. This helps to remove excess paint on your brush. Stir your paint thoroughly before putting your brush in. From: William-John

When using a roller, use zigzag strokes, covering the surface in a 'w'shape. Keep the roller on the surface at all times, as if you let it spin, it will spray the paint around. Finish the rolling in one direction. From: Stan

DIY TipsWhen painting ceilings, wear a plastic shower cap to stop paint dripping on your head. From: Lynda

New roller covers tend to leave unattractive fuzz behind on the painted surface, even the ones that say lint free. To avoid this, wrap masking tape several times around your hand sticky side up. Run the roller over the tape several times before painting. From: L Hammond

Both my bathroom and toilet walls were painted a pale yellow. To liven the rooms up I painted orange from the top corner of each window down to the bottom corner of the door when entering. It now looks like a ray of orange sunlight coming through the windows even on the dreariest days. It is really effective without being overpowering. From: Debi

Use a 2L plastic milk carton for a paint and brush holder. Simply cut away the side of the container (opposite side to the handle), starting 4-6 inches above the base up to just short of the neck. Pour in your paint and use by holding the milk carton handle as normal and dip brush into the paint via the cutaway side. Take the cap off so you have somewhere for the handle of the brush. Once you have finished painting you can turn the container upside down and drain through the cap hole. From: Paul

Everyone hates cleaning up after painting so here is a tip on how to make this job easier. After emptying the tins that our baby formula comes in I keep them for cleaning our paintbrushes. They have a plastic lid on top, which means you can cut holes in it if you have a larger than normal paintbrush handle and leave it sticking through. The lid also seals in the fumes from your cleaning solution. From: Anon

To help keep your children's rooms tidy, paint old beer crates in bright colours and use them to store clothes and toys. From: Jason and Suzanne

Tips on cleaning brushes:
Using enamel (oil) based paint: Half fill a jam jar with mineral turps and dip your brush into it several times. Then rinse the brush clean using warm/hot water. Repeat 2 - 3 times until the brush is clean. My husband scoffed at me when I started using this method as he thought you shouldn't mix oil and water, however 5 years on and I am still using the same brush. Needless to say he now cleans his brush this way too.

Using waterbased paint: When cleaning your brush under the tap use wonder soap as well, especially when you have dry paint around the top of your brush head. From: Jane

I've recently painted my 3.5m stud Kauri ceiling with a brush, as the roller didn't fit between the batons. Rather than walking up and down the ladder with one brush full of paint, I found the best container to carry the paint in was a cut down 2 litre milk container with the handle intact. It held enough for one ladder's worth of painting and had a large well balanced handle. From: Gretchen and Pauline

If you want to create a neat texture, use springs off a spiral notebook, and swirl it all over the fresh paint. From: Anon

How to check your spirit level is level - Place your level on the floor. Mark the position of each corner with a pen/pencil then note the position of the bubble. Turn the level around and align it with the markings you made on the floor. Check the position of the bubble. Now do the same with the level upside down. If the readings of the bubbles match your level is level, otherwise use the screws to adjust the vials and repeat the checks until the readings match. From: Matthew

My tip: Don't let your husband attempt to DIY otherwise you may end up like us:
(1) Fixed leak in roof, but now we have a hole that is growing with every drop of rain and one day will collapse.
(2) Paint job, yes we (or I should say professionals) will now have to eventually re-paint the roof as he thought he would include other areas not intended. Also thought the carpet needed painting.
(3) Lining in pool - Hawke's Bay has had the best weather this summer and unfortunately, even though we have a pool, we have been unable to use this due to his patchwork and neighbours complaining that our pool is leaking in their gardens. It is now empty again. From: Melanie

To remove old wallpaper, wipe over the wallpaper with water and dishwashing liquid, leave about five minutes and it will just peel off. From: Richard and Sandra

When stripping wallpaper, spray with fabric softener and a little water. The fabric softener breaks down the surface tension of the wallpaper and allows the water to soak in better. This will help the wallpaper come off easier. From: Kathleen

If you own your own house and want to make exterior painting a little easier, paint the house a standard colour, white is always good, and paint one side of the house each year. This will cut the work down to a more manageable size and keep the house well painted at the same time. From: M Teal

You can make a paint tray by using an old box with shallow sides and covering it with two white plastic shopping bags. When you stop between coats or colours, just take the bags off and change them. From: Glenn

Apply petroleum jelly over door handles and hinges before painting to stop the paint sticking to them. Alternatively, foil wrap door handles and other hardware before painting to keep them splatter free. From: R Brooks

DIY TipsIf you hire a ready mix truck to do your driveway, make sure you work from the top of the drive to the road. If you don't, you will be stuck with a truck full of concrete that will set if you don't keep it running (which might cost a bit) unless you want to drive it back over your nice new flat drive that took ages to do! From: Cassie

Hate stripping wallpaper before you paint? You don't have to! With this tip, you'll create walls of interest. Use a large porous sponge and ready-made plaster. Dip the sponge into the plaster and 'hit' the wall, making sure you make 'peaks' on the wall with the plaster. Let the plaster semi-dry, but before it dries completely, trowel the plaster, using consistent strokes (whatever stroke you chose). Once the plaster dries completely, you can paint the newly textured wall in a variety of exciting colours by Resene. To make the wall even more interesting you can use a basecoat on the wall and then use a Chux cloth (or any other material with an interesting texture) dipped in a contrasting colour and 'hit the wall' with the Chux cloth. In the process of creating a unique design, you'll also cover blemishes. From: Karin

My top 10 tips for landlords with multiple rental properties are:

  • Buy Resene, anything else is an insult to your preparation efforts.
  • Replace worn wallpaper in rentals with paint (after stopping to a paint finish). It wears better and is quicker and cheaper to repair.
  • Keep walls and exteriors all the same. You can buy your paint in bulk and won't have numerous 1/2 pails sitting around. Maintain the individuality of your houses by using different feature colours. Then write the name of the house and where you used the paint (e.g. roof, trims, sills etc) on the can lid.
  • If you are replacing weatherboards, undercoat them before you put them up. But don't stack them until they really are dry.
  • The best thing to apply paint onto a roughcast house is a car cleaning brush. Get one with a reasonable amount of bristles. Those big square bushes sold in paint shops are good, but they're awfully heavy for a lady and too big to dip into a paint pail.
  • Learn to use a crockpot/cook casseroles. Put tea on and you'd be surprised what you can get done if you do 1/2 hour to an hour most days. Or wait until your little one is in bed and then do internal walls. Wrap your brush/roller in gladwrap loaded with paint to keep it soft.
  • Ladders are better exercise than any aerobic class.
  • Learn to paint with both arms.
  • Take your time to do a good job and enjoy it.
  • Go to 'How To' evenings. You may learn something new. From: Michelle

To cover an old lounge suite and two chairs buy 1 x double fitted sheet and 2 x single fitted sheets and some small velcro dots. Place sheets over lounge suite and tuck in where needed, then use the velcro dots to fasten down. With velcro dots you can just take off the covers and throw them into the wash. From: Belinda

To create a weathered Mexican wall look, plaster outside concrete brick walls with cement and plaster by hand to get an authentic look (great way to get the kids involved as perfection is not required!). Paint the wall in your chosen colour (terracotta looks great). Drop small blobs of white paint into the roller tray, roll the roller through it and then haphazardly paint over the original wall colour. This should result in blurred streaks of white throughout the terracotta second coat. Do not roll in a particular direction, just all over the wall. When dry, the wall will look like weathered terracotta. From: Natasha

Make sure you don't pay for the complete job up front. I bought a house in the north about 3 years ago and the guy that was moving my furniture told me along the way that he was a builder, so I agreed he could help me with my DIY plans. My very big mistake was trusting the jerk. He quoted me about $6000, which like a fool I paid there and then. All he had to do was to put in a wall as three already existed and put in a wall divider. To cut the story short, I fired him after 4 days, as the wall he put in to enclose the room didn't touch the ground! He had charged up tools on my account, ripped me off on materials and not paid some local suppliers. I waited for a few days and then thought I had better get stuck in and finish the job. Two family members joined in and helped and a fortnight later all was finished - YAY!!! From: Roseanne

When decorating a room, paint a stick or small board with your chosen colours to carry with you when choosing fabrics, accessories etc. From: Meg

Two pairs of hands really do make light work. If you can rustle up someone to help, then get them to cut in around the edges with a brush while you follow with the roller. Make sure whoever is charge of the roller rolls as close to the edge as possible to get a good finish. And if you can rustle up two helpers you can get them to do the work while you sit back and offer helpful suggestions!

If you need to stop painting for either a few minutes or even overnight but can't be bothered with the trouble of washing up your brush or roller, just wrap it in gladwrap film or put it in a plastic supermarket bag and force out the air. This will stop it going hard and drying out. Keep it in a cool place out of the sun. From: Rosemary , Andrew, Allan, Jenny, Phil, Vicky, Karen, Paula, Tracey, Gregg, Julia, Donna, Sarndy, Kim, Barbara, Jo and Grant

Use masking tape on the edges of your carpet, as you would windowpanes, to prevent marks when painting skirting boards. From: Meg

For those painters out there who get paint all over their hands when painting, a tip when using waterbased paints. Before you start painting wash your hands with soap. Make sure there's plenty of lather on your hands and then let them dry naturally - i.e. with the soap on. Then when you get paint on your hands, you only need to wash them and the paint will come off nice and easily. From: Barry

DIY TipsDon't let your husband choose any decorating products unsupervised! My hubby, love him as I do, has a wonderful habit of bringing home all sorts of titbits that are really not needed for the task at hand. He is a true boy and loves his toys. I don't have the heart to nag him about it, so I simply go with him and steer him away from the little treasures he drools over at the paint and hardware stores. From: Sharon

To make cleaning any paint off hands and forearms easy, apply some baby oil or olive oil to hands and forearms prior to painting. You will find that washing up at the end is a breeze. From: Paul

Tie a plastic shopping bag around your roller tray and pour the paint onto it. When you've finished rollering you can just take the bag off and throw it away. No cleaning your messy roller tray and you're all ready for the next colour. From: Yvonne and Karen

Always do a sample and let it dry - don't think that the colour will look the same dry as it does when it is wet. From: Tina

In older style homes where the walls might not be perfectly flat, put up a dado around the walls to create a false impression of perfection. Paint different colours top and bottom (like Resene Sisal on the top and Resene Aubergine on the bottom). It will look fantastic and you'll never know that the walls are not 100% flat. From: Hayley

My house is in desperate need of a repaint both inside and out. My husband began the repainting job 2 years ago and then 20 months ago left me, the family and the house with a mortgage and worst of all a white house with grey undercoat spots all over it. He fervently promised he would come over the summer and paint over the grey bits at least. Two summers have now passed and he has not returned to the paint job but has gone overseas instead. As I have been so busy working and trying to make ends meet the painting has gone unattended!! My tip? Make sure your husband paints the house before he leaves you! From: Diana

Use clear goggles when painting the ceiling, it stops the paint stinging your eyes! From: Dave and Carl

It can be quite tricky to repaint skirting boards while the room is carpeted without getting any paint on the carpet. I have found it to be really easy if a long wide straight edge is placed between the skirting board and the carpet (I use the metal straight edge also used to trim wallpaper) and then the excess paint just goes onto the straight edge. The straight edge can be moved along the wall without needing to wait until the paint dries, and can be easily cleaned when the job is finished. From: Ruth

Liven up boring plain stained wooden doors with a small pot of teak stain and a paintbrush. Paint on knots and lines (like you find in trees) to give the doors a rich wood finish. Give them a rub down with a good liquid wood polish and a cloth afterwards to get that lovely wood smell. From: Margaret

My son has a lot of soft toys and we had nowhere to put them. We bought one of the large boat shelves, painted it Resene Havelock Blue, turned it horizontally, suspended it from the ceiling on chains and put all the teddy bears inside. He loves it because it looks like the bears are rowing the boat and we love it because there are no longer soft toys all over the house. From: H Darwen

Stainless steel wool scourers (without soap) and turpentine are a great way to finish off a paint stripping job on wooden furniture. It's easier to get into the nooks and crannies with a scourer. Paint also comes off wet wood easier than dry wood. From: Katy

To get your favourite picture on your child's wall to paint, photocopy the picture onto a transparency and use an overhead projector to transfer it on to the wall. If you can't get an overhead projector and are drawing challenged, trace pictures on with carbon paper. Brightly coloured testpots are ideal to paint in the picture. Use the leftover paint to decorate shelves and drawers. From: Jo

My biggest tip in decorating/redecorating is DON'T LET YOUR HUSBAND START IT! From: Cindy

When storing paint for a long period of time, put the lid on firmly and store upside-down, this will prevent a film forming on the top of the paint. It also makes it easier to stir the paint when you re-open the can. From: Sam, Julie, Chris and Belinda

Use a weedsprayer to distribute sugar soap onto ceiling and walls. It cuts application time right down. From: D Stevenson

If you want to decorate a room and can't afford a lot of extras, get your children to paint pictures then frame them. They will look wonderful in any room. From: Suzanne

DIY TipsWhen painting skirting boards or other low areas, use a skateboard to roll along while painting. From: Sue

Keep the insects at bay when you are working outside. Mix together 50% Baby Oil and 50% Savlon Liquid, then apply to your skin. It works as well as any antiseptic cream and will save you some money that you can put towards re-decorating your home. Every little bit counts. From: Donna

Handy tip for those planning to wallpaper: The finished surface of paperfaced plasterboard interiors is less critical when you are planning to use wallpaper, tiles or a textured finish, as they will cover up most minor surface irregularities that exist. Use a sealer prior to wallpapering to help prevent the suction of the wallpaper to the surface - this will make it easier to remove the wallpaper if you decide to redecorate later. From: Anon

To get rid of oil from concrete, sprinkle it liberally with lime. Sweep it up the next day and you'll find the lime will have absorbed the oil. From: Brian

When painting drawer handles, take off the handles then put the screws back in. Paint them holding the screws and hang to dry. This ensures a nice even paint job and will save you time waiting for coats to dry. From: Kirstie

If you have to paint the house - turn it into a big party - invite your relatives, friends, etc and provide food, beer and music. Make sure you invite a lot of people so you can tell them they only have to come for half an hour or so. They will undoubtedly stay longer, you'll have company and the project will get painted pronto. From: Helen

To make cleaning your paint tray easy, line it with gladwrap or a plastic bag. When you have finished painting you can take the gladwrap or plastic bag off and discard it - thereby making the clean up process easier. From: Charmaine, Tina and Victoria

When painting ceilings or even walls, take an old/new tennis ball and cut in half. Make a hole on the round side of the ball and insert your paintbrush through the hole. This will stop any drips etc ending up on you while you are painting - unless you are really bad at painting and then no amount of tennis balls will help. From: Sandra

My advice is when it comes to repainting your home's interior and exterior, get expert help from your local Resene store. The amount of trips and phone calls we've made have been numerous but worthwhile as we have haven't wasted any paint. We never would have chosen the colours we did without the advice of a local staff member who said 'trust me'. We did and our home is looking really lovely. We have 'almost' completed the interior but have gone to the exterior because of the good weather we're having and yet again we've called on the help of the Resene staff. So my advice is ask, ask, ask and don't be afraid of thinking outside of the square! From: Kerri

DIY TipsWhen painting window frames:
  • Cut a cake of soap in a wedge
  • Dampen the soap
  • Rub the soap on the glass (around the edges)
  • Allow to dry
  • Paint
  • When the paint is dry, wash the window to get rid of the overpaint.
    From: Len and Brian

For those of us that are DIY challenged, its a great idea to get together with a few friends that are also in need of a bit of doing up about their houses. Meet once a month at each other's homes to form a working bee. Between everyone there is usually a bit of know-how and those that are particularly DIY challenged can do the manual labour, keep the crew supplied with cold drinks and fire up the barbecue. From: C. Ross

When you want to redecorate your room, invite your friends around for the day, provide food, and go to it. I can assure you that it works very well. From: Ruth

Sometimes the simplest tips can be the best. I own Backpacker accommodation spread over three separate properties and also live in a fourth next to my mother whose place brings the total number of properties I look after to five. I always had trouble and wasted considerable amounts of time a) finding the correct tool and b) finding the right screw to repair an item with. I have saved hours of time by simply investing in a large plastic t oolbox with screw compartments on the top. In addition I only use fast self-tapping screws that are driven by a square driver. The screws rarely if ever need guide holes, and because of the square driving never burr, saving loads of time. I simply carry a selection of these screws in the top of my toolbox so they are always at my fingertips. From: Clint

We had our front concrete wall covered in graffiti, so went down to Resene to get something to cover it. We covered it with an enamel undercoat to stop it from bleeding. We then chose the colour Tuscany in a waterbased paint to give our wall a new look of terracotta! Bad start but a great finish!!! From: Roy

Reducing the amount of turps you use in cleaning up brushes is easy. Pour a small amount of turps into a jar for the initial clean. Tip this into a soak hole then put some warm water in the jar with Amway LOC. This really loosens up residual paint. Tip the suds into the soak hole and repeat once more. By now your brush will be clean. Spin it out by rolling the handle back and forth between your palms. Wet your palms and make the bristles lie flat and then leave in the sun to dry. From: Shane

To avoid paint drying up in the can, lay a piece of plastic wrap over the paint can before replacing the lid. From: L Hammond

We bought our house 2 years ago and it needed a lot of work. The hot water cylinder was in the kitchen. We had enough room under the house, so we moved the cylinder under the house and rebuilt our old hot water cupboard into a corner pantry with homemade rimu tongue and groove paneling pantry doors. It looks lovely and we are very happy with the outcome of our complete new kitchen. From: Taurua Family

When you want a painting to hang on the wall use the testpots of your colour scheme to create a masterpiece that goes with your decor. Original artwork at a great price! From: Wendy

My best tip would be to talk to the experts at Resene! During the Christmas break I decided I would paint the kitchen cupboards from the Buttermilk colour they were to a more vibrant colour. I initially went for green, decided after a day of painting the cupboards that the colour was too bright and went with nothing, so it was back to Resene for a different shade of green. Having finished painting with that shade I was mortified to find that it too looked horrible and didn't blend in with the dining room in our little open plan house. My family agreed (boy, did they agree) so it was back the following day to Resene to get the gold metallic which I was sure would look nice - it didn't! In desperation and after the complaints from the family they were painted back to the original buttermilk colour again. On a good note, having visited Resene Rotorua 4 times in one week I feel I know them well and yes I have been back again - twice-but not for the paint for the kitchen cupboards - this time for paint for the lounge and hall - much to my husband's horror. He thinks I should abandon the idea of painting and stick to gardening. P.S. These rooms only needed doing just the once - with 1/2 Spanish Cream - I really couldn't go wrong!!! Could I? From: Sonia

Our fridge was old, ugly and had severely yellowed and stained. It looked totally out of place in our nice kitchen. We gave it a new look by first painting it with a forest green house paint, then sponging over it with copper craft paint (available cheaply at most stationary shops). Now the fridge looks fabulous and is noticed by everyone who comes into our house! A very cheap and easy way of turning your old fridge into something creative that you can be proud of -it even has a resale value now! Total cost for materials was about $20. From: Stella

Get to know your neighbours while cleaning up the neighbourhood by renting a large skip between several houses for a weekend. It saves money and gets everyone motivated to clear up at the same time. Finish off with a street barbecue if you want to get to know them even better. From: C. Sullivan

As our family was stripping down the old wallpaper, with one part of vinegar and ten parts of water, my partner decided to wipe the fly marks off the ceiling. It came up so white, that we wiped the whole ceiling. Now it looks as good as new! From: Satherley Family

My three best DIY tips:

1: The plastic scoops that you get in boxes of laundry powder make ideal scoops for transferring paint from big pots to little pots. Plus drill a hole in the scoop handle and suspend it over the pot so that the paint can drain off.

2: Old thermal drape curtains make ideal dropcloths. The curtain's rubber backing stops paint from seeping through onto protected surfaces.

3: Old venetian blind strips are good carpet protectors when painting skirting boards. From: Pam

When you spill paint on glass, wait until the paint dries then peel it off. However if you spill it onto aluminium window joinery make sure you clean it off while it is still wet.

Always make sure to buy testpots first, before buying the actual paint. What looks good in a book or on the colour charts may not look right in the room and you can save yourself a lot of wasted expense and paint by using testpots to check your colour first. I myself have learnt this lesson - I decided to paint a toilet area and saw a great colour combination with a feature wall in a picture of a lounge. As the colours went on they were in such a small room that they screamed at each other -there was not the open space like the lounge picture I had seen. I needed to then go and buy more paint... now I have 2 spare tins sitting in the garage and am quite a few dollars poorer by not testing the colour scheme on the area first. From: Nicola

DIY TipsWhen painting, wear rubber gloves. Fold the bottom up to create a lip that will catch any stray drops and prevent paint running down your arm. From: Matt

When cleaning up the windows for painting the outside of your house (and if necessary for washing down after sanding) use a garden sprayer to wash down and rinse those annoying dirty bits on the inside edges of the windows. It is easy to control so you don't end up spraying water all over the inside of the room. From: Marian

Old wallpaper is a curse for DIY enthusiasts - especially for those of us who have already bought our paint and would rather be playing with that than spending hours stripping paper. My tip is mix a couple of capfuls of fabric softener in a bucket of hot water. Apply to the paper using a spray bottle to minimise mess. Wait a few minutes and then start to peel off the paper straight into a plastic rubbish bag. Respray as necessary. From: Kim

When using testpots paint onto polystyrene cut from boxes obtainable from the fish department of your local supermarket. The tops and bottoms are a good size to show the colour. From: Marie

I have 3 DIY hints to help home decorators:

  1. When using oil based paints, eliminate the smell in the house by leaving a saucer of vinegar in the room that is being painted. It really helps to neutralise the smell.

  2. Rather than trying to carry heavy tins of paint around, adapt the larger size milk containers by cutting away part of the top half but leave the handle area intact with the whole of the bottom half. This makes a really handy paint container that is much lighter to carry up a ladder and can be discarded at the end of the job.

  3. I have found that a new brush works much better if left to soak in clean water overnight prior to use. Aside from these more well known hints, let me just say that if you are married it really pays to consider whether your relationship is strong enough to handle the wonderful (?) experience of home decorating. It can be very trying on couples! From: L Wensor

To get rid of lumps in paint that has been stored, strain old paint through pantyhose - simply put a knot in the hose and pour paint down the leg and squeeze through. From: Glen

If you're like me and indecisive with paint colours, you can use your collection of testpots to get really creative painting terracotta pots. They make good presents. From: Charlie

Fold or roll drapes or curtains into clean rubbish bags and tie at the top. This will keep the drapes clean without taking them down. From: Jo

I always write with permanent marker pen the colour and colour code of my paint as it lasts much longer than the sticker that is put on the tin at time of purchasing. From: Jacqui

When painting skirting boards, place a thin aluminium baking tray beneath the area to be painted. This prevents any paint staining the carpet, gives a nice clean line and is easily moved and cleaned. From: Cherry

Cover door handles with gladwrap while painting to save a lot of hard work cleaning. From: John

For paintbrushes that have gone hard and are no longer pliable, soak in neat Jayes fluid for a day or two and then rinse in cool water. From: Helen

When renovating old houses you often find layers of very old paper and paint. I have found the best way to strip off the old paper is as follows:

  • Use a tool to scour the paper
  • Purchase a wall stripper product and mix up with warm water. (You can also mix hot water with 2 tsp of vinegar, although this is not quite as good).
  • Paint this over the paper, working on one strip at a time. Make sure you wet the paper really well. Leave this for 5 minutes and repeat. Leave this for another five minutes and scrape off with a scraper. You will need to repeat this on each layer if it is very old paper as the chances are it was not prepared properly before being papered. With this method you can get the walls completely free of all old paper with minimal damage. Plaster, sand and seal and it will be prepared to a paint finish standard. To remove old paint we found that it was easy with the right tool. We purchased a scraper that holds a metal blade. Just pull it back across the painted surface firmly and it removes paint easily. We have managed to remove all traces of several layers of paint, right back to the wooden boards. Then give a light sand and seal with Satin Polyurethane. It looks stunning. From: Kerry

When painting corrugated iron, use a fine bristled broom instead of a roller. It saves a lot of time and does the job just as well. From: Freddie

DIY TipsMy Dad had been planning for the last 10 years to build onto a room at our house by knocking out a wall. My sister and I got impatient and took to the wall with a sledgehammer. At first he was angry but it has been temporarily mended now and he plans to start the extension next week! From: Stubbie

My tip is to not have too much paint on the brush/roller if you are painting the ceiling!! From: Lynda

Having just bought our first house, (we are not youngsters) I have found that the easiest way to DIY is to get a professional in to do it.... it works out cheaper in the long run. From: Maureen

Recreate the inviting feel of a garden by bringing in some of your outdoor elements, such as a bench or potted plants. The entry also can be the perfect setting to focus on a water-filled birdbath holding beautiful stones - on special occasions, add the glow of candlelight by floating votives in the water. From: Debra

Don't, under any circumstances, let your husband anywhere near anything remotely DIY or it will either 'turn to custard' or 12 months on it still won't be done! From: Marina

I definitely found that it is in your best interest to put a wedge in the (only) door to the house when changing the door handles... it makes for entertaining viewing for the neighbours watching you climb in and out of the bathroom window (lucky that was open) trying desperately to get the door to open!!! From: Rachel

The best way to clean rollers is to soak them in a bucket of cold water for a minimum of 2 hours so that the majority of paint is diluted out of the roller. You can even leave the sleeves in the bucket overnight. It is then a simple case of putting your sleeve on an extension pole and turning the garden hose on it for approximately 10 min to get the rest of the paint from it. The centrifugal force of the hose water also aids in drying the sleeve quicker. From: Marlene

Don’t be fooled into buying cheap paint. A cheap paint will generally contain less volume solids and use poorer tinters than a quality product, so not only will you generally need to apply more coats to get the colour to cover well, but the paint will also not wear as well. The biggest part of any paint job is the labour, so whether you are doing it yourself or hiring someone to do the work for you, it makes sense to choose a paint that covers well so you can save time applying it.

I have two great DIY tips: Tip 1: We moved into our newly built house in June. As we needed headboards for the spare room and my daughter's room I headed to the local Refuse Recycling Centre. I picked up a worn queen sized headboard for 50 cents and a lovely headboard for my daughter for $2. A quick trip to the Resene ColorShop and I got some paint to match our doors, jambs and skirting. I painted the headboards and they came up like new.

I also painted the computer desk in the same colour. In fact, I have had so many comments about how fabulous they look and how clever I was to get everything to match.

Tip 2: If painting and you are going to continue another day, place the roller or brush in a plastic bag and squeeze out the air. From: Diane

The best way to remove old (60 year old) wallpaper, is to invest in a garden weed sprayer, fill it with hot tap water, and spray a light coat of water over the wall. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, respray and then scrape off using a standard scraper. Using the weed sprayer saves having to refill smaller spray bottles every 2 minutes... This is the best method for people who, like me, react badly to chemical strippers etc. From: Samantha

Always carry lipstick in your toolbox. Whenever you need to drill a hole in a sheet - e.g. where a pipe is going to stick through - you simply put the lipstick on the end of the protruding object (e.g. the pipe), then put the sheet in its place so that the pipe 'kisses'the sheet's backside. Voila! Your sheet is marked with the place to drill the hole for the pipe. From: Duncan and Hilary

When stencilling a wall, it is handy to lightly spray the back of the stencil with spray adhesive so the stencil becomes self adhesive and you have your hands free to do a perfect job. From: Hanne and Matthijs

While painting there is always paint drying on the paintbrush at the level you dip your brush in the paint. To clean, rinse with cold water and soft soap. Comb the paintbrush with an ordinary plastic haircomb to get rid of the dried paint-residue and dry the brush in the shade. The paintbrush will look like new and will last longer. From: Angela

A good idea to brighten up your garden is to paint terracotta pots in your favorite colour. You can paint the pots all in one colour to create impact or different colours to brighten up the garden without plants. Testpots or leftover paint can be perfect for the job. From: Janet

When DIY'ing don't get mad or irritated. Take things nice and slow - don't rush. Enjoy what you are doing and have fun because the worst thing you can do is get mad and wreck things. Don't be too shy to ask for help. From: Jesse

DIY TipsFor easier stirring and better mixing of paint, drill a few holes - say 6mm holes - in your stirring paddle (wooden spoon). From: Ruth

Resene Paint Effects medium is a brilliant alternative to wallpapering and gets noticed by your visitors. I have found that along with using a sponge, you can use a variety of applicators. A good one for a teenager's room is to use an old pair of ripped up denim jeans. The effect of the diagonal weave plus the ribbed seams pressed over the paint effect medium, creates a really unique style. You must be careful to press the fabric lightly and quickly, and not to rub the surface. It's best to use smaller pieces - 30 cm square at the most. A dark blue, with a metallic paint over looks great, as does black and white. Other items to use are; scrunched up plastic bags, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, dried leaves, interesting footwear with designs on the soles, terry towelling, candlewick... the list is endless, especially if you use more than two colours ! I am also an artist and make very good use of Resene testpots - far better than the other specialist art paints. From: Ursula

To keep your brushes in tip top condition and stop them from being water logged and getting bent tips, drill a hole in the brush handle approximately 2-3 cm up from the end of the brush. Use a small metal rod long enough to fit across the top of the paint tin and put the rod through the hole in the brush. This will keep the brush in just the right amount of water and will stop the hairs from going in all directions and touching the bottom of the tin. You should be able to get at least 5 brushes on in one go (depending on their size) in the same pot. Instead of the brushes lying on their tips they are supported and will last longer. From: Nicola

Make sure that you check your batch numbers when ordering large quantities of wallpaper or you may end up with different shades of the same wallpaper on your newly decorated walls. From: Nicky

I recently painted the inside of a shower stall in my home that was quite dark making it difficult to see whether the paint had gone on consistently or evenly. I removed the lampshade off an old lamp stand and placed that inside with a 100 watt bulb in it. I soon saw all my 'flaws' and where I needed to pay more attention. Tip: Make sure you have enough light when painting so you can see what you are doing - otherwise you may end up doing it twice. From: Leisa

My tip is to let the wife choose the paint colours - saves on arguments and she'll be keener to apply the paint herself. From: Steve

If you have been a DIYer in the past but now all your paintbrushes are hard and crusty, soften hard paintbrushes by putting them in an old tin with vinegar and a little soap powder. Bring to the boil, then rinse thoroughly in warm water. Your paintbrushes will be ready to use again. From: Belinda

Don't let hubby loose to DIY, unless you're sure he can finish the job in a reasonable time period (not ten years)! From: Debi

My tip is to invest in a colour consultant. In our case one that was very familiar with Resene paints. They are well worth the cost and can save you lots by not choosing wrong colours. They also choose colours that you would not necessarily have thought of, which is great. From: Lee

Here's my tips for all those with spouses who are unwilling to join in the colour decisions: 1) Sacrifice the colour scheme of your toilet for the greater good. 2) Paint one metre square samples at eye level, and name them with a felt tip. 3) Faint in amazement as within a week he'll be telling you he prefers Resene Fuego for the kitchen and would rather see Resene China Ivory in the hallway. From: Rachel

You can revitalise old concrete or clay flower pots and planters. Clean them up and get a testpot of Tuscany. You'll end up with lovely new terracotta coloured pots and planters. They look a treat, with very little effort. From: Roy

When attempting 'painting for the non-painter', it is a good idea to put suntan lotion on your hands before starting. It makes it a lot easier when you have finished (or given up!) to wash any excess paint off your hands. From: Lesley and Neville

With vast experience in this, I can honestly say never never never do it yourself, always get a trained professional. If you are going to paint a room that is wallpapered, always strip the wallpaper first. You never know what cracks will appear from under the wallpaper after you have painted it and no matter how much plaster you use after the fact nothing works. From: Nicola

When redecorating your house, or purchasing/building a new home, keep paint samples, interior and exterior, on hand at all times. Fold an old cardboard box into a fan and paint a wide strip of each paint colour on a single fold. Write on the card what the colour is, and whereabouts you have used it - i.e. interior/kitchen cupboards/ gold, exterior/brick terracotta red. This will give you a decent size sample to take with you when making other purchases for your house i.e. curtains, plant pots, tiles, outdoor paving/bricks, paint, wallpaper, frames, furniture fabric, rugs etc. Make sure you allow each paint sample to dry properly before folding. Fold it, store it away from the sun, and it takes up virtually no space, an instance reference for you to use when making those 'much later' additions to your home! From: A Cootes

To avoid headaches while painting indoors, have a resealable water bottle on hand - it helps prevent the dehydration caused by the chemicals and you can drink while you're painting. From: Glyn

When painting a steel garage door with lots of grooves and smooth sections, put an old fridge magnet the row above where you are painting so you don't lose your place. From: Gaynor

Don't forget the good old shower cap when two painters (i.e. Poppa and grandson) are painting. The one working at the lower level can wear the cap thus stopping the paint getting in their hair. From: JE Morgan

My tip for painting outside is to get your spray painting equipment ready to go, find your best overalls and a pair of gloves, then get your wife on the job!!! Hey works every time, she loves it. From: G Giles

We have a 'New Denim Blue' coloured iron fence around our BBQ area. I could only purchase green coloured hanging baskets to hang on the iron fence, so I purchased some New Denim Blue paint from the local Resene ColorShop and painted the hanging baskets to match the fence. They look awesome and it was very, very easy with a small brush. In fact, when I took them back to the garden shop to get plants for the baskets, the shop suggested I could paint some for sale in the shop as so many people ask for different coloured hanging baskets. From: Diane

If repainting a previously painted surface, use a common kitchen scourer to both clean and roughen the surface. In many situations it will save you needing to sand before painting, and quite a bit of elbow grease. From: Perry

While you may be tempted to put it off, the ideal time to repaint is when the current paintwork is chalky looking but still sound. Wait too long and you’ll have to spend ages removing the paint altogether before you can repaint.

Store paint tins upside down (check the lid is on tightly!) to prevent a skin forming on the paint surface. From: Stephanie

Always cover everything in the room you are working in. Never think when sanding that because the TV and video are on the other side of room that you don't need to cover them, as the dust will find its way to them and may ruin them. From: Adele

Good tip - never marry a DIY husband. From: Krissie

I have been there, done it all! My best tips are:

  • Be WELL prepared before you start, with everything purchased in advance, even everything you need for the clean up.
  • Put your wet brush into a plastic bag/breadbag while you rescue your child, get a cuppa, etc.
  • I have to admit, I have TWICE put my foot into a paint bucket while coming down off a ladder. Make sure you have a nail/hook three quarters of the way up the ladder, near the top. Pour the paint you are working with into a smaller pot and hang it onto the ladder's hook.
  • Have a long rag available tucked into your pocket (so when you wipe your face, or make a mess somewhere, it can be quickly and easily wiped away with no evidence!) From: Caroline

Leave unopened tins of enamel out in the sun for a short while prior to use. This will warm the paint and make it easier to apply. From: Richardson

DIY TipsWhen painting inside walls, place half an onion on a windowsill to absorb most of the paint fumes. From: Alysha, Sharon and Elisa

After hours struggling with screws in tight spots I learnt a simple but effective method to make the job less energy intensive. Simply rub the thread of the screw on ordinary soap. This lubricates it allowing it to screw in easier, easing both frustration and ebbing enthusiasm. From: Liam

For bigger jobs use a planning sheet to plan the project. Label each major job with a priority number and list the smaller jobs related to each major job. This will help you break large projects into manageable chunks of work. From: Alan

When revarnishing wooden window frames, DO NOT JUST SAND DOWN AND APPLY VARNISH. You will be sorely disappointed, as we were, when after sanding and varnishing from 10am until 6pm, eating dinner and falling asleep, we awoke to find the varnish had turned into huge white bubbles and lumps. Always apply a special wood undercoat first to stop sap seeping through and ruining a weekend's work. Yes, we applied it again and the same thing happened until, third time lucky, we asked for advice! Actually, that can be my second tip... when in doubt, always ask for advice from a professional!! From: Amanda and Scott

My Dad once told me 'If all else fails, read the instructions.' From: Z Kilford

We have 'done up' a few older houses with hard to remove wallpaper and we are now in the process of doing up our own home, which was initially wallpapered in the 1950's and has had subsequent layers added. To remove the wallpaper we use a pump action weed sprayer filled with warm water. Spray a large area top to bottom (having laid down newspapers to catch the drips) until the paper is very wet, wait 10 minutes and using a fish slice peel off the wallpaper. Works great. From: Garry

The small plastic pails (which were bought at Christmas filled with cookies) make ideal paint containers and are easier to carry up and down ladders with small amounts of paint than full cans of paint. From: Pam

After having browsed for ages and trying out numerous paint chips and testpots, I decided I wanted faster results. I scanned a few photos of our house into our computer, printed them out on white thick paper and got a stanley knife to cut out all the white walls around the windows. We took the three sheets to our local Kapiti Resene ColorShop and overlaid the photos over the different paint samples in the books. You could instantly see what the effect was. Within 15 minutes we had the perfect colour, and it looks awesome on our house! From: Jenny

To avoid a messy paint-can, punch a series of holes in the rim groove of the paint-can so that the paint that collects there will drain back into the can. Tape or glue a drip catching paper plate to the can's bottom so that paint won't collect underneath the can. From: Ruth and Graeme

When painting an iron roof, test the temperature with the back of your hand. If you can't place your hand on the roof then it is too hot for painting. From: Sara

Check your windowsills very carefully when buying a new home. When I had to replace some windows shortly after shifting in, it was discovered that the previous owners had restored the outside windowsills by scooping out the inside, and filling it full of medium sized flat stones and plastic bags. This caused quite a laugh among the builders who were preparing my windows. I did find it funny... later! From: Rona

Paintbrushes that have become hard can sometimes be saved by boiling in vinegar for 10 minutes. If the bristles are really hard, place the brush in a glass jar overnight and soak in cellulose thinners overnight. Rinse well before use.

To avoid paint dripping down your arm when painting a ceiling cut a slit in a large sponge and push the brush through. The sponge will catch the drips.

Rub petroleum jelly on door and window hinges and handles before painting - it makes them easier to clean. Or cover them with aluminium foil.

Place newspaper under the door and behind pipes when painting to avoid getting paint in the wrong place.

Make cleaning up your paint tray easy by lining it with a polyethylene bag before you pour the paint in. When the work is done you can easily clean up.

Place the paint container or paint pot onto a paper plate to catch any drips.

Before closing the paint container, draw a line around the outside of the container at the same level as the paint. You can then see how much paint you have left without having to open the can.

Ever wondered what was the difference between a primer, sealer and topcoat? A primer is designed to be the first coat. They’re very important because if they don’t stick anything else you apply afterwards won’t stick either. They also help seal and protect the surface. Sealers do very similar jobs but tend to be used when binding or sealing the surface, when you need to block stains or when you are painting over a smooth surface that normal paints would find it hard to stick to. Topcoats are basically the last layers, often coloured, which help to protect all the coats underneath them against the weather.

Touch up very small areas of paint using a cotton bud.

Hide knocks on white enamel fridges, washing machines or chips on white paintwork with typewriter correction fluid.

When painting stairs paint every second step and allow to dry completely before painting the remaining steps. This will allow you to keep using the stairs while you are decorating.

If you have a handy tip of your own to share we'd love to hear from you - submit your handy tip.

 

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