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Handy tips and funny stories

It seems that even professionals can have a bad day painting. Over time we have received various funny decorating stories and handy tips from trade painters, so we have gathered together a selection for you. Please note that these tips have not been tested by Resene and are included below as supplied to us.

We hope you enjoy these stories and tips and if you have a funny decorating story of your own to share or a handy tip we'd love to hear from you - submit your funny decorating story or submit your handy decorating tip.

Thank you to all those who have shared their funny tales and handy tips.

White outWhite out!

Over the years we have heard many funny stories from professional painters, often involving ladders and spilt paint... stories we're sure weren't funny at the time when there was a massive clean-up job on hand. However, we've found a DIY painter who managed to see the funny side immediately as Della tells us...

"A few years ago, Dad was painting the ceiling upstairs at our home in Blenheim. He was holding a newly opened 4 litre container of white paint.

As he was stepping down the ladder, he missed the bottom rung and fell backwards, his momentum sending him halfway across the room and off the drop cloth. While he was attempting to re-balance and not spill the paint, he landed flat on his back, the container was sent high in the air landing over him, and his entire head and body.

We were downstairs and heard a massive bang, followed by shrieks of laughter. We rushed upstairs to find two eyes streaming with tears of laughter and a cheeky grin poking through a sea of white paint abstractly decorating Dad in his entirety and the brand new carpet.

The story has a happy ending though, no injuries were sustained, the carpet washed spotlessly clean and a valuable lesson was learned... to this day Dad always decants paint into a small container when up a ladder!"

And like so many funny stories, there's something we can all learn – always decant your paint into a paint pot whether you are painting high or low. Not only does it keep the paint in the main can free of bacteria from the walls, but it also means if you do have a spill you won't lose the whole lot.

Look out!

Look outSometimes projects just don't go according to plan as this painter tells us. You'd think laying dropcloths out over a larger area would be the smart move but as Murphy's Law can pretty much guarantee the only spot you don't put the dropcloth is where the paint will always land...

“One day I was working on a job in a really upmarket house, like everything was very expensive even down to the long haired white and grey fluffy cat, which was sleeping on the chair in the bedroom enjoying the sun.

There were four of us on site painting a bedroom. It was just about smoko time and we had been called and told the brew was ready. As a workmate of mine turned around, he knocked the tin of paint off the windowsill he was painting and it landed just short of the dropsheet he had laid down under the window. The carpet had to be the most expensive carpet he had ever walked on, his first thought was, I'm up to be fired, the second thought was, who can I blame this on? Next minute, he grabs the ‘very expensive' fast asleep long haired white and grey fluffy cat and swipes it through the paint on the floor, then yelled ‘bloody cat', to which the owner comes rushing in and sees the paint on the floor, the cat covered in paint running off putting paw prints all over the rest of the carpet!!

When the owner questioned what happened, my workmate declared that he was painting the window, the paint was on the windowsill and the cat jumped through the window knocking the paint tin to the floor. He was apologising while explaining what had happened and the owner said that he shouldn't be the one apologising, she should and what a naughty cat it was!!!”

Needless to say, more care was taken with the paint... and the cat... from then on.

Having had a number of pet related stories in over the years, if a pet ever does end up doused in paint, a quick wash with water while the paint is still wet is an easy fix... the hardest part usually is catching the pet before it has left painty footprints all through the house that you have to clean up later. Of course, the safest option is making sure any area you are working on is clear of pets and kids before you start. It's easy enough for a job to go wrong without tempting fate by adding cats, dogs and curious kids into the equation!

Caught short!

Caught short cartoonThe funniest decorating stories tend to be the ones that involve someone else being the brunt of the story, rather than the storyteller... just like this story that Bevan has shared with us...

"The boss, his son and I were in the middle of painting a rural cottage on a rundown property covered in rata vine and other scrub.

All morning the boss was complaining about an upset tummy, unfortunately, there was no working toilet, common back in the 80s. All of a sudden the boss says out loud "that's it! I've got to go". So off he heads (penguin walking) to the van for some toilet paper, which turns out to be on the shelf on the opposite side of the van and there is only one sliding door. He rushes off into the scrub...

Then we all start cracking up at the same time – at the sight of a long haired yearling beast with a pair of white underpants hanging off its horns. True story!"

Text checker

Check your texts!Remember the old days when we didn’t have text messages? And now think how fast you can send off a flurry of texts to others. Of course, most of us will have sent a text to the wrong person somewhere along the way, but perhaps not quite so spectacularly as Adam did...

“This story features as one of my most embarrassing experiences ever: During my lunch break on the job, I had been texting the woman whose house I was painting, clarifying a few things. As I was eating my lunch, I remembered that evening I was going to have a date with my beautiful wife. I conjured up a slightly raunchy text to her. As soon as I pushed ‘send’ on my cell phone, I yelled “NO!” as I realised I had accidentally sent that raunchy text to my client! I quickly sent another one, apologising profusely, explaining, “That last text was for my wife!” My client was very understanding, but from that point on I could never quite look her in the eye!”


Pinstriped without permission

Pinstriped without permissionIt always pays to make sure you clearly warn others when painting is taking place, otherwise you might just find yourself painting something you shouldn’t as this local painter tells us...

“Many years ago, we were spray painting a commercial interior. In those days we used a large pressure pot and air spray. So, we had a lot of overspray and white out.

The interior was clearly out of bounds, if nothing else common sense made it so.

We used 600mm wide masking paper on both sides of the door frames, so we could still walk through the opening.

Our workmate was in a room spraying the wall by a door frame, as he pulled the trigger a white shoe appeared. A split second later the architect appeared, red faced, wearing a suit with an enormous freshly painted white pinstripe!”

Wrong way up

Updside down wallpaper! Ever grabbed a wallpaper and then scratched your head wondering which way it goes up? As well as checking the batch number of all your wallpapers to make sure they match before you start, make sure you take the time to check the orientation too, as this local decorator tells us...

“Soon after I had finished my painting and paperhanging apprenticeship, I went out on my own, taking on paperhanging a two storey home for a business couple. She had quite an arty taste in wallpaper and had picked a rather ‘loud’ old fashioned 1960s patterned style for me to hang.

I found the paper easy to hang and my clients were pleased with the progress I was making. However, as I got to about halfway through the job it dawned on me, to my horror, that I had been hanging the pattern upside down! The design was such that it was hard to tell!

I debated internally whether to explain my error, but decided as she seemed so happy with what I had done, to ‘let sleeping dogs lie’.

I heard that when they went to sell the place a year or so later, the real estate agent’s first comment was, “if you seriously want to sell this place, you need to paint over the top of that wallpaper!”

Plan twice

Plan twiceIt’s easy to switch into auto pilot when you have been doing a job for a while. You know the way it works – you've done the same job a hundred times before so you work through it without paying close attention to what you are doing... unfortunately that’s usually when accidents happen as this story tells us... the luckily unharmed painter who sent it into us wasn’t rushing to be named though!

“I learned a humiliating lesson as my colleague and I were painting the outside of a two-storey commercial building in the Waikato.

It was near the end of the job and time to pack down our mobile scaffolding. As my colleague went off to pack up our tools and materials, I decided to dismantle the scaffold.

I climbed to the second level of the platform and started to pull it apart piece by piece. I removed each metal bar, dropping them to the ground so that there was less and less of the scaffold holding itself together. Without thinking, I kept going until I pulled off the very last bar that was holding the scaffold together!

To my horror, I suddenly realised what I had done, but too late! The scaffold came crashing down, imploding towards the ground while I was still standing on it!

I was shocked, but completely unharmed. How no injuries or damage was done, I have no idea. But, like the arborist cutting the branch that he was sitting on, I learned a valuable but embarrassing lesson!”

Think on your feet

Think on your feetThanks to everyone who entered the Resene Decorating Funny Stories and Tips competition last year. We were delighted to see some very funny stories and handy tips.

Our story winner was John McCarthy with his very quick thinking solution...

“First day with a new painting firm, I was dropped off at a huge house in the country and told to undercoat all the timber spindles and banisters on two large flights of stairs. He said all the gear was on site and hurried out the door.

It didn’t take me long to find that all the gear was there, except any brushes or rollers... this was in the days before mobile phones and the house was miles from anywhere so I had to get creative.

I filled a tray with undercoat, put a plastic bag over my hand and removed one of my newly purchased sports socks.

I put the sock over the bag on my hand and used it to paint the spindles, this not only worked but worked so well, I blitzed through all the staircases before the boss got back. Needless to say he was impressed with the progress. That’s what I call thinking on your feet!!”

Seamless finish

Seamless finishWith the trend to making things invisible, sometimes it can be hard to tell what you should or shouldn't paint, as one of our customers unfortunately found out…

“A painter rang me up to find out the best way to remove paint from plastic. It turns out he had inadvertently painted over five TV screens in a commercial building that were inset into the wall. He was told to paint them by the property manager who was just as oblivious to them being TVs as the painter.

It’s a shame as a great paint job had been done with Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer and a couple of coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen perfectly covering what was behind them.”

Thanks to Peter for sharing this story!

Midge minefield

Midge minefieldWhen you’re busy painting, sometimes it pays to be a little inventive to tackle any challenges that come your way, as Meg tells us:

“You would think that the Northland coast was the best DIY climate in the world right? It’s dry most of the time, warm most of the time. It has minimal pollution and an easy lifestyle. You would be right too – only we have our peculiar challenges. Midges for example – these ever present sand flies – have a disturbing characteristic. This habit spells disaster for your perfect paint finish.

At certain times of the day they go a little crazy with thirst. They head straight for moist or damp areas. In the north you paint at those times at your own risk.

Take a beautiful wall of faraway blue – using Resene Pattens Blue. Last coat 9am Monday morning. Dry and sunny. Outcome? A blue and black speckled wall. A graveyard. Thousands of kamikaze midges died that morning. They are not fussy on colour either. Anywhere on the spectrum will do fine. A 3pm coat of Resene Melting Moment in the hall met the same fate: Armageddon in sunshine yellow. Now that’s a new angle on the feature wall.

So this tip is actually multiple tips in one:

  1. If you live in a midge prone place try not to paint early morning or late in the day

  2. If you must do so then get a pyrethrum atomiser in there with you to deter the midges.

  3. A cut orange on a plate near the paint works to reduce their numbers – a piece of folklore that actually works – how is anybody’s guess.

  4. It’s not smart to close windows and doors when you are painting. You can, however, hang muslin over the windows with masking tape to give yourself a head start.”

While prevention is always better than cure, if you do find a few sand flies still end up in your paint finish, you might like to try Matthew’s advice… we recommend trying it in an inconspicuous area first just to make sure it works though!

“With wet waterbased enamel it attracts sand flies when drying. Use car burnish cream to remove sand flies once dry.”

It can happen to anyone

It can happen to anywoneWe all know we should secure paint in a vehicle before we start driving, but sometimes it can be tempting to just jump in and go and hope for the best. But it pays to take that extra few seconds to make sure your paint is well secured. Even Resene reps sometimes learn this lesson the hard way, as Phil tells us…

“A long time ago in the empire of ‘Resene Land’, burning with desire to please, a Resene rep one day forgot to load his precious Resene paint delivery safely into his shiny black chariot.

Upon arriving at his destination what should he see but drippity drip, sprinkle dee, a very very very long trail of freshly spilled paint on a well used road for the masses to see.

After quite some panic at the mess he had made, a very quick and smart decision was made. ‘Ring Eco Phil, he’ll clean up the mess and jump through hoops to relieve Resene’s stress!’

Arriving at the scene, what should Phil see but one Resene rep messed up to his knees!

So splitting with laughter I say ‘what can we do, you’ve covered your chariot, trousers, shirt, jacket, shoes and the road too!’

Lucky for the rep and for Resene too, I cleaned up the mess until the road looked as good as new.”

An unusual way to find clients

An unusual way to find clientsSometimes you can find new clients in the strangest of ways, as Phillip tells us…

“I accidentally backed into a car at a carpark in my painting van. I didn’t appear to do any damage to the vehicle but may have pushed the rear guard in a little, not at all very noticeable but just in case I thought I should leave a note on the car but had no pen so I put my business card under the windscreen wiper.

I never thought another thing about it until one day some time later I got a phone call from a lady asking for a quote to clear her gutters. I knew I hadn’t done any advertising for quite some time and asked after she told me her address etc how did you hear about me? She replied there was a business card left on her windscreen some time back.

After the phone call I recalled leaving a card on the windscreen of the car.

I went and quoted the job and ended up cleaning her gutters and quoting to paint the total exterior of the property. 100% successful advertising.”

P.S. While this worked out well for Phillip and his client we don’t recommending trying this out for yourself!

Too good to be trueToo good to be true

Sometimes you can have a lucky streak, but sometimes it can also be a little too good to be true, as Ben tells us…

“One day many years ago at our little shop in Masterton there was a trade promo that was run nationwide. There were counters randomly put into 10L pail buckets. So I thought it would be a good idea to make one up to slip into a paint bucket for one of the boys to open and find. We had a new guy start that day so when the bucket was wiped out the counter slipped into the tray. It was $850 – next minute a fishing trip was going to get booked and there were all these other plans of what to spend the money on – so many options. The boss rang the rep and he said bring it into the shop to get a picture for the local paper. So I had to come clean and reveal what I had done before the boss was made a fool of. Long story short – the boys were not happy… and there was no more fishing trip…”

Avoiding distractions

Avoiding distractions...Distractions are responsible for many a job taking far longer than it should. From kids and pets, to lovely clients feeding you lots of morning and afternoon tea, it’s very easy for the time to slip away. And of course, there’s also the distraction those near the painting project face too, as Dave tells us…

“A few decades back, myself and another tradesman were working on a Primary School job doing exterior work. We had fixed windows to paint. We set up the trestle and planks and started to sand down.

The teacher got his guitar out and started to play ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’. The kids all started singing so we started to join in. After about 10 seconds the kids all stopped singing and it was just us two with the teacher still playing. He gave us a dirty look and the kids all just laughed.

Next day, were back doing the same windows in a final coat. We said that we better not upset the teacher again. This time he was writing on the blackboard while the kids were all doing reading. No problem, so we thought!

My workmate then tapped me on the shoulder and said “Houston, we have a problem”. He said have a look at what two of the girls sitting together at the back have done and I had a look. They had written on a pad in large letters and were holding it up to show us. It read – Bryan – I LOVE YOU.

We got down off the trestle as quick as we could and finished the windows in the next break the kids had.”

Connecting the dots

When you’re an old hand at a job, it’s easy to gloss over the details that a newbie might need to know, as Dave tells us…

“Back in the early 1990s I was doing a new house which had a lot of rooms with rimu timber that required varnishing. I employed an older guy who was a brush hand to help out. This day he started sanding timber before the final coat of varnish. After doing this for a few hours he told me it was all done, just needed dusting down. The builder had a compressor with hoses everywhere to power the nailguns etc. He handed the brush hand a spare duster gun to make it easier to dust down. After a few minutes in a room, he told us that the air duster was not working very well. He showed us by pulling the trigger and nothing happened. We all burst out laughing, then when we dried our eyes, we told him that it works better when you have it connected to an air hose!”

Thanks to Dave

Check twice

Check the  hand brakeWhen it comes to wallpaper, the old adage goes measure twice, cut once. The same applies to many things, including parking the van as Dave tells us…

"Had a gang of painters doing a new house. I was in charge with another tradesman and two apprentices. The young apprentice was always keen to get back to the yard at the end of the day. As it was in the winter, the van we had always needed warming up with plenty of choke.

The apprentice started the van to warm it up, but he forgot to apply the handbrake. He came inside to pack up. The van was on the driveway which was not level but on a slope. The van vibrated and slowly started to move down the slope towards the road. We looked out the window to see the van wipe out the block gate post before coming to a stop in the middle of the road. The boss was not too happy when he was told what had happened!

P.S. The apprentice was banned from starting or driving the van from that day on."

A cat-astrophe

There have been many stories over the years that it is best to avoid working with animals and children, but sometimes even when you don’t work with them, they still cause chaos as Winsome tells us…

A cat-astrophe“Tip: Remember to lock that cat flap!

There were lovely original tongue and groove timber floorboards. We sanded the kitchen and dining room floors and put on the first coat of poly. It looked great, dried and we put on the second coat.

We checked it the next morning… the lovely dried semi-gloss finish was reflecting the sunlight streaming in AND paw prints in all directions in both rooms!

Back to re-sanding and recoating… and oh, locking the cat flap.

The home doesn’t even have a cat! It was the friendly neighbourhood cat!!”

Talking about polyurethanes, the Resene technical team have been working on the Resene Qristal Clear range to make them a little less tough on the nose. Resene Qristal Clear Poly-Flat, Poly-Satin and PolyGloss are all moving to a reduced odour finish. This means you can choose lower odour solventborne products when painting indoors, from Resene Super Gloss and Lusta-Glo to Resene Sureseal and now Resene Qristal Clear. The new formulation reduced odour variants are coming through as the old stock runs out.

Wet behind the ears… and everywhere else

When something goes wrong, it’s so easy to be so focused on the issue at hand and forget about the bigger picture. When things don’t go according to plan, stepping back and thinking about how to solve the problem in a different way might save you a drenching, as Rosemary tells us…

“We sent one of the guys outside to wash gear and he had dramas once he turned the hose on. He couldn't catch the hose. With heaps of pressure it was going everywhere. He was absolutely soaked and swearing at the hose. This went on for about five minutes until he managed to catch it. Anyone else would have turned the hose down, not him!! He was drenched.”

Nature coming indoors

There’s a definite trend to nature coming indoors, but in most homes that’s using greens or botanical wallpaper. Ben tells us about his less than desirable experience with ‘nature’ coming indoor...

“Most kiwis like pukekos. I don’t. Here’s why...

In the past they have repeatedly uprooted my tomato plants by day and at night they have run across my roof like a band of demented line dancers.

So when on a hot summer’s day a lone pukeko enters a new house I am painting and wallpapering, I lose it.

Arms waving, cursing I ran at it. It panics. Forgetting how it got in, it takes flight unleashing the contents of its bowels everywhere, before alighting on the windowsill and pukeko pooping on the sill and down the newly hung wallpaper. That was expensive wallpaper. Even David Attenborough would have had to reconsider his love of nature. It left and I was left with an expensive headache.

My son thought it humorous to buy me a porcelain pukeko. I put it on the toilet window sill. It’s rear end faces the bowl.”

Wrong way up

Wrong way upIt pays to make sure you carefully check the wallpaper pattern before you start hanging – not only to make sure the colour matches, but to also make sure you are hanging it the right way, as Juliet tells us...

“Mike and Lynne, a young couple, had just purchased their first home and the bedroom decor was in dire need of an upgrade. Mike worked for a company that employed decorators and arranged for one of the lads, an Irishman in his 30s to do the job while they were at work. The couple agonised over several wallpaper designs and finally agreed on a magnificent purple floral pattern which would be a feature wall behind the bed.

Lynne and Mike bought the wisteria wallpaper and booked Danny in for later that week. Lynne was so excited to see the finished result, as they rushed home from work. Once in the bedroom, they looked at the wisteria wallpaper, looked at each other, and both said “Bugger!!” The Irishman had hung the wisteria upside-down! Mike rang the Irishman the next day and said, “Mate! You did a good job of hanging that wallpaper, but those flowers are wisteria and you’ve hung them upside down.” “Wisteria?” he says, “I thought they were lupins!”

Cloud clashCloud clash

Always check the weather before you start painting, as Steven tells us…

“I was painting a roof on a clear warm day. There was only one small cloud in the sky, in the far distance. Nothing to worry about.

As I continued to paint I was aware that that small cloud was coming my way. It also was a little dark in colour. It eventually was above me and that was when it decided to rain. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I quickly got off the roof.

Within seconds the shower was over. I went straight back up on the roof. Yes, that last lot of painting was washed away. But when I looked down on the ground, on either side of the house it was wet approximately 2 metres out from the building.

That cloud had it in for me. I was its target for the day.”

Tea break delays

Tea break delaysKeeping a job on track is easiest if you can keep interruptions to a minimum as Richard tells us:

“Back in the sixties I was doing a job in Golders Green London for this lovely old lady. She looked after me very well, introduced me to all her friends as “this is Mr Hart my interior decorator”. Made me feel important like I had a title or something.

She had an old Victorian house with 12 foot high ceilings. I was wobbling about standing on the top of the steps hanging wallpaper, when the door opened and the words “Tea up” rang in my ears. She said “I’ll put it on the edge of your papering table”. Thinking tea might get spilt on the cut paper, I said “I’ll get it”.

Not thinking I stepped off the rung and came crashing down smashing the table to pieces with bits of wood flying everywhere.

The tea and jam scones catapulted off the table, the tea going all over her dress and a scone hitting her in the face. I was shaking.

She was devastated and took all the blame on herself. I did have a title therefore an appointment for tea break was necessary. That was the most expensive cup of tea I never had.”

Leap of faith

Leap of faithHumans are a funny lot. You put out a wet paint sign, and some of them just have to reach out a finger just to check if it is really wet after all. Or as Philippa found out, her wet paint sign was more of a dare than a deterrent…

“I arranged with the manager of the building to paint the foyer floors to the lifts on two floors in the week between Christmas and New Year thinking that it would be a quiet time – yeah right!

We taped off the lift access on the floors and put plenty of signs up for people to use the outside drive to the carpark.

I was right in the middle of the painting job having just painted the gap between the lift door and foyer door. The lift opened and I looked at the young woman. She eyed me up and down then the floor. Her eyes narrowed and she took a step back. She crouched slightly and in that instant I knew she was going to try a jump. I yelled “N, No Noooooo!!!” “Didn’t you read the sign?”

So glad I was there to stop the wanna-be Wonder Woman.”

Check then check again

Check then check againIt always pays to double check the job instructions, and while it may seem obvious, that includes checking the address as Jesse tells us…

“Basically, this is a classic true story of our guys here in the Hawkes Bay region who were attending an exterior paint job of a farm property in the region.

Our guys turned up to the farm address but on that property, there happened to be 3-4 small houses plus sheds quite close together.

What the painting foreman was told was the one on the right. Little did we know they were all on the right of the shared gravel driveway.

One week in we have almost finished the whole exterior of this little cottage and a farmer pulls up. We have not seen anyone the whole week. He says “absolute brilliant job the cottage looks awesome it has totally been brought back to life”...

The farmer then started laughing.

The painter then asked “why is it so funny?” chuckling awkwardly also. The farmer replied “mate it was the house next to this one your crew were supposed to paint but I’m absolutely chuffed you painted mine instead of the neighbour’s, suppose you better get started on their house now you’re a week behind schedule.”

That’s why we always double check jobs to make sure it is the correct property. A good training exercise we may call it.”

Rhino dog

Rhino dogPets and kids are a recurring theme in many funny decorating stories, and this one is no exception as Matt tells us…

“It was a Monday morning and like many Monday mornings it began with the usual mental realignment… moving from a weekend frame of mind to work. Never easy but this particular Monday had the bonus of beginning with a nice easy job.

A client wanted a change of colour in her daughter’s room as a birthday present. The house was a recent build and the walls had been painted in a neutral colour. The job involved moving furniture, laying dropcloths, minor filling where pins had held posters and then two coats of Resene SpaceCote Rhino. A nice easy uncomplicated start to the week.

On arrival we were greeted at the door by a heavy set old Labrador dog who from her barking was less than happy to see us. The client showed us the room and then left for work.

Myself and my colleague proceeded to set up the room to paint. We opted for a roller tray suitable for large rollers. As I opened the can of paint I had a laugh at the irony of the name ‘Rhino’. It reminded me of the heavy set, short legged Lab.

Within minutes of starting, I was up a stepladder cutting in, suddenly I was shaken by that same barking that greeted us on arrival. The only difference was it was accompanied by the sound of claws on plastic. I looked down not wanting to believe what I was looking at.

There was the Labrador in a state of panic stuck in the roller tray sliding, scraping and flicking paint everywhere. My colleague was watching equally in disbelief. There was a real risk of the panicked dog gaining some traction, getting out of the tray and running through the house. I leapt from the stepladder and held the dog. I turned to my colleague who was still watching in disbelief and instructed him to get a dropcloth. We managed to wrap the Lab up like a baby to contain the dripping paint. It then took the both of us to carry her outside. We then spent the morning washing the dog who sat very obediently while we washed her.

In fact she seemed to enjoy the attention. I couldn’t help feeling as our nice easy Monday slipped away that the ‘Rhino’ looking dog was having the last laugh.”


Top decorating story winnerIf in doubt, ask. If still in doubt, ask again. As Winsome Lam tells us, it pays to ensure you know exactly what the job is before you start…

“Question: Paint everything? Answer: Yup… everything!

A potential client decided to be kind and generous to a neighbour’s teenage son and help him earn some pocket money and save some money herself at the same time. (I didn’t think I was overly expensive?!)

Anyway, the young man came over and I had left the cans of Resene Black White paint in the bedroom on behalf of the client. The client had removed most furniture but left a lovely old mahogany dresser unit in the middle. The client showed the young man the room and expecting him to paint the ceiling, walls, window frames and doors, said pointing around “paint everything”. He asked “everything?” She said “Yup, everything”.

Off she went to tennis, hair and other appointments. Off he went whistling and painting. At the end of the day, she returns and checks in. He’s still whistling and just adding the final touch to the last brass window lever, now Resene Black White. She looks. He smiles.

He had painted everything in the room… everything. The ceiling, walls, doors, door frames, windows and frames, all knobs, hinges, levers and latches, electrical switches and plates, light fittings, lamp shades, brass curtain tracks AND the whole mahogany dresser, including inside the drawers and cupboard!

I received an SOS call that night!”

Drip saver

We’ve all ended up with drips of paint in places we didn’t quite intend. Steven Martin has this handy tip to help contain the drips…

“I always put the paint for brushing in a small bucket. And that bucket is put in a 10 litre plastic bucket. When I walk around with the paint it is doubly protected from spilling on the ground. I have tripped many times and the buckets in my hand have never spilled any paint. I keep it covered with a 10 litre paint bucket lid.”

Always use protection

Wear the right gear - painting protectionRead the instructions? Nah… well at least not until it goes wrong. Wear the right gear? Nah… I’ll be ok.

While it’s tempting to ignore the instructions and not wear the right gear, those few extra minutes up front reading the instructions and making sure you have the right gear on, can save a lot of headaches, or worse, down the track as Russell tells us…

“Back in the good old days when I started life as a painter, pigmented sealer was the ‘go to’ for sealing plasterboard for painting.

My first job as a painter, the boss was all set for me being there. Well, no, not really. He was supposed to pick up a respirator mask and overalls for me on his way to work that morning, but he forgot.

We were painting a new two storey home. All the upper storey windows and door frames were masked, ready for the walls and ceilings to be sprayed. With just the ground floor to mask off, he decided to start spraying up top while I masked off below. Will be no problem, just work fast boy!

By the time I finished the masking, he was working his way along one room behind. I opened the front door, stepped outside… and woke up on the ground with the boss shaking me. I was so high on solvent paint fumes that the sudden shot of fresh air outside caused me to pass out and face plant the dirt. Nothing like a spoon full of sandy Mount Maunganui terra firma in the mouth. And up each nostril. Luckily the concrete paths hadn’t been poured!

30 years later I only have to lift the lid on a can of good ‘ol pig sealer and it’s an instant headache.

My fellow countrymen and women, always wear the correct protection.”

Paint has come a long way since then. So where you can, use a waterborne alternative and make sure the area you are painting in is well-ventilated. Plus if you are using solventborne paint, wear the right gear.


Kids helping outHaving young children ‘help’ on the job can be a good way to keep them entertained… as long as they know when to stop ‘helping’ as Carol tells us…

“The job was done. The young mother was ecstatic. She had saved hard to have the lounge repapered. The kids were fascinated. They watched us strip the paper and then the final rehanging. We gave them bits of paper and glue to play with. This was better than ‘playschool’. So much fun! Later… a frantic call from mum. Could you please come back quickly? The kids have been stripping the new paper off just like you did!!! A quick trip over and all repaired. One of the better jobs that put a smile on my face.”

Always keep a phone handy

Always keep a phone handyDave tells us about a problem on the job a few years back, that could easily be solved now by always making sure you have a cellphone handy and fully charged, just in case you find yourself stuck somewhere you didn’t quite intend to be…

“25 years ago, I was repainting the interior of a two storey house.

This day I was upstairs, papering ceilings with anaglypta paper. I had a brush hand giving me a hand. He was working downstairs, undercoating doors with brush and roller. After morning tea he started doing a small door under the stairs. He unscrewed the handles, took out the spindle and started on the inside of the door.

Unfortunately he pushed the door too hard and it closed. He had left the handle and spindle on the outside so was locked in! He tried yelling out and banging on the wall, but as I was upstairs and had the radio going, so I did not hear him. On stopping for lunch I came downstairs but could not find him for a start, till I heard him yell out. Not many doors done that morning!”

Watch the water

Watch the waterWhile painters are busy at work, there is often lots of other activity going on… and often that activity can end up somewhat of a distraction to getting any painting done, as Alex tells us…

“I was asked by my son to come to London and be his painter in his construction team. We were working in Old St converting an old warehouse into an apartment. Below us was an office complex.

While I was painting my son was removing a double brick wall as part of the extension. In the process we had to move and reconnect a large radiator, under the window I was painting. The boys reconnected the heater and fired up the boiler but the piping under the floor to the radiator began to leak quite badly. Panic stations set in as we tried to shut down the boiler and stop the leak.

For a start I found a bucket but it quickly filled. Then I found a large plastic bag to replace the bucket. We thought we had the situation under control! When suddenly the large plastic bag and about 10 gallons of water disappeared through a ceiling panel down on top of a gentleman at his computer desk. As you can imagine he wasn’t impressed; he was totally drenched.”

Thanks to Alex.

Always use a paint pot

As Anthony found out the hard way, never paint from the master tin…

Always use a paint pot“Many years ago I was painting a kitchen. I had basically finished but needed to put the cupboard doors back on and do the final coat on one window sill. All the client’s plates, cups, bowls etc were back in the cupboard.

I couldn’t be bothered pouring enamel out of a small pot for one window sill so I used the master pot. After I finished painting the window sill I was walking back to the other end of the kitchen and caught my foot on the step ladder and fell forward. I tried to lift the paint tin to stop it hitting the ground. As my chest hit the ground the paint shot up like a volcano up my nose, face, over all the dishes. I spent the next two hours cleaning up my face and all the dishes in turps then washing all the dishes three times normally. P.S. Turps isn’t nice up your nose!

Thanks to Anthony.

When you paint using a brush or roller, you are transferring whatever is on the surface back into the paint. Painting from a separate paint pot helps to keep the original master pot of paint in pristine condition, which will be especially helpful if some of it is going to be stored for use later.

Black meets white

We’ve often said to avoid pets when painting, and here’s just another example of why as Roger tells us…

Black cat meets white paint“Working on a job in Remuera I was being hassled all the time by a big old black cat. It wouldn't leave me alone; it would burrow under my drop sheets which made it difficult to move my ladder around. Then one morning it jumped into my roller tray and ran up the hallway leaving a trail of white paw marks. I was horrified. I was using Resene Quick Dry undercoat and I had to go at speed to clean off the paw marks. Lucky for me it was a highly polished wooden floor and tiles and I managed to clean them all off with methylated spirits. The lady I was working for was really fussy and she loved her cat, which was now hiding under a dresser.

It had another go at me in the afternoon. I’d just finished undercoating the walls in the hall, and in it came with white paws up to its ankles, tail in the air, purring like crazy, and came rubbing along the wall I had just painted. The paint had turned tacky and the cat left a trail of black hairs stuck all along it, but worst of all when it turned around ready to bolt it was white down one side!

I knew when the lady arrived home after work by her loud scream. The cat had greeted her in the driveway. After she had calmed down she could see the funny side of it, but wanted to know what to do to get the paint off the cat. I suggested that she could try getting the paint off with meths but it might be a bit hard on the cat's skin, then added flippantly that I could paint the rest of the cat white, after all Resene paints last forever and I could always give it a recoat later if it was still around. We both had a good laugh at that, but that was one job I didn't get!”

Thanks to Roger Parker.

Be specific

When you’re embarking on a paint project, it always pays to ensure you have very specific instructions, as Simon tells us:

“My mate Les was doing a bit of property management. So he rang one day to see if I could fit in a small exterior repaint.

It was one of a row of about eight joined townhouses. ‘Second one in from the end, next to a ‘nice old lady’ was the instruction. I arrived at the job, met a nice old lady, counted in one and proceeded to wash down, sand and prime. I left the job planning to carry on the next day.

On arrival the next morning I found a note on the door of the flat asking if I was sure I should be painting here. In a quandary I rang Les and asked if he knew what the note meant. Les liked a good joke and guessing what had happened, managed in his laughter to ask what end of the townhouse row I was on. Of course there was another ‘nice old lady’ up the other end.

Moral of the story: don’t make assumptions and get clear, specific instructions.

For my presumptuousness the gods of painting decided to punish me. Les also asked me to do a little painting inside the flat.

It was vacant at the time and I went in and stood in the lounge looking at what needed doing. Within a short period of time I felt a strange crawling on my legs. An examination revealed a mass of starving fleas all over my shoes, socks and legs. Never seen anything like it. Another call to Les!”

Thanks to Simon.

Paint pot holding

If you’re finding you’re getting a sore arm from holding your paint pot, you might not be doing it quite right as Leon tells us…

“One of the first things I learnt, over 40 years ago, is how to hold your paint pot using four fingers only no thumb. Your two middle fingers go around the wire, your pinky and index finger on the outside. When you twist your wrist, your outside fingers go under the wire as you lift your paint pot to dip in the brush where you have an unimpeded area around the top of the can. i.e. no paint on hands. It may take a little to get used to... but it’s the best way to hold your paint pot.”

Thanks to Leon.

You never know what to expect

You never know what to expectIf there is one thing we've learnt over the years, painters can end up in some very odd situations. It seems that being able to deal with anything should be part of the job description as Dave tells us…

“Years ago I was painting a new crematorium with a colleague who was rather superstitious. During the first morning on the job my colleague, nervously looking around, confided that he found it scary working in a building where people would be cremated. Later, we were working in separate rooms when we both heard a long, low moaning sound echoing through the empty building, enough to raise the hair on the back of the neck. He came running into my room and asked if I had heard it.

Stifling a grin, I said, “No, I didn't hear a thing.”

We heard the same sound after a while, and by this time my colleague was quite spooked. When the loud, long moan echoed through the empty crematorium a third time, my colleague was about to leave the job, convinced that the place was haunted.

So I thought that it was time to let him into the joke by taking him over to a window overlooking the field next door, where bulls used for artificial insemination were tethered!”

Don't be alarmed

There are tips and tricks that make every job that bit easier. Sometimes they help you to save time, and sometimes they save you hassle, as Simon tells us…

“Here I am once again on a job, sanding my plaster work on a ceiling getting it ready to seal and paint.

Job is on the sixth floor central city. Suddenly beep beep beep!!! Ahh the forgotten smoke detector going off again, not to worry this has happened a few times in the past, get my trusty rag out and wave it around the detector. Hmm won’t shut off.

Gosh something is happening in the city, all the sirens going off, minutes later with no luck to shut off the noise. I hear many sirens very close, suddenly my heart sunk. I went to the front window of the building, down below on the road. There were two fire trucks and everybody was being evacuated out onto the street. The street was closed off and I was on the sixth floor watching from the window. Ok I have to brave up. I took the lift down. Covered head to toe in plaster, being next to the high end hairdresser, seeing the ladies on the street with their hair colour half in, wrapped in plastic bags, I felt like 6 inches tall. Umm there is no fire guys I said to half a dozen firemen. They wouldn’t hear me out, they still had to investigate, while I was also outside feeling like a rabbit around a pack of dogs, must be 100 people outside on the street, and I caused all this.

I never sand now without asking if the smoke detector is connected to the Fire department. I did get the alarms turned off until I finished the job.”

Clean as you go

Clean as you go. Keep a clean, damp cloth close by and wipe up paint splatters as they happen. Dry the area with paper towel to remove any excess paint film. Tidying as you go will help reduce the clean-up job at the end.

From Gemma

Keep everything in an empty bucket

I always put paint tins (anything 4 litre or less, that is) into an empty bucket. It's easier to carry them, the brushes can go in too, so that they are always there, there are no more wet rings where the tin has stood, and a cloth can be hung from the handle at the side. I can't think why it took so long to think of this.

From Anna

Use a grabber tool to help you clean

To keep paint work on ceilings in top condition, use a ‘grabber tool’ to remove marks and fly dirt. Place a moistened cloth in the grabber claws, then work gently on paint work to clean marks. Saves getting up on a chair and the whole house is done in no time.

From Joanne

If you like to be able to clean your ceiling, use a durable waterborne enamel, such as Resene SpaceCote Flat, rather than a standard ceiling acrylics. Resene SpaceCote Flat is designed to be cleaned without burnishing. Standard ceiling acrylics aren’t designed for cleaning.

Sign of the times

Sign of the timesWorking in an office building stairwell. Not the easiest place to work, as it was the only way to the next level but not a problem for most working that day. I set up a ladder and beavered away. A lady working on the first floor made more than a few trips up and down the stairs coffee trips x5, toilet stops, plus trips for general chats to others on the ground floor. Each time she passed I dismounted the ladder and stood aside, after a while it was like a fitness work out and neither of us was getting much work done in a hurry! A couple of hours later almost done, I find myself confronted with the same now disgruntled lady who had managed to get a touch of paint of her jacket!

“Where’s the sign?! You should have a sign”... all my fault… wasn’t I the sign? On such a difficult site where would I put it? Pin it to my overalls?!

From Elaine

Dual purpose rubbish bags

Being inventive on the job can help save time and money. Adams Painting tells us their top tip to save curtains from paint…

“Although it’s important to protect items such as curtains from paint splashes when doing renovations, removing such items can be a time consuming hassle. In order to save time for the job I had of painting the small ceiling and paperhanging the walls in this room we came up with a quick and simple solution: place the curtains in plastic rubbish bags! You can still use the rubbish bags afterwards and the curtains remain free from paint splashes. Problem solved.”

Drop what?

The painter said his quote did not include the use of dropsheets
It always pays to check you have detailed quotes so your customer knows exactly what to expect. Sergeant Decorators shared this true story with us…

On a recent quote, the builder shared that the last painter was painting the ceiling in a bedroom, standing on the bed with his boots on and no dropsheets in sight. When questioned the painter said his quote did not include the use of dropsheets.

Roland’s tip? "Have confidence and choose a Master Painter."

From: Roland

Bionic glasses

If something sounds too good to be true, it often is as LB Painting Services tells us…
A practical joke of pecial cutting-in glassesOnce our fellow painter (and great joker) Russell Barr was working on a commercial site with me and my team. He walked in one day wearing some unusual-looking glasses. They were about 20mm thick, made of lightweight foam and had no lens.

When questioned about these odd-looking glasses, Russell told the guys that they were "special cutting-in glasses" designed to improve your accuracy with the brush. He had a few extra pairs so he handed them out for all my painters to try out for themselves.

Three hours later I returned to site to find my whole team still wearing these 'magical' cutting-in glasses and working away. I couldn’t help myself but break into hysterics at how ridiculous they all looked, and how seriously they were taking themselves. When they asked me "What’s up boss?" I asked them how they were finding the glasses. They told me that they were actually working for them!

This made me laugh even more until I was forced to spill the beans: the 'glasses' were in fact Styrofoam padding designed to protect the eyebrows on new mannequin dolls, which Russell had picked up somewhere and put on as a joke.

From: LB Painting Services

Kids and paint don't mix

Kids and paint don't mixThere’s something about wet paint that can attract small children like bees to honey. You can pretty much guarantee if there is wet paint around a child will have stepped in it, gotten it on their clothes, or worse, within minutes.

So before you start any painting project, the first step is to make sure any children are busily engaged doing something else before, during and after you have finished painting, before you end up with a project like Tracey (aka 'the old painter lady' in this decorating story) where the pristinely painted room didn't last that way for long.

"You boys, you’ll get covered in paint if you come in here," yelled the old painter lady. She was painting Johnny's bedroom walls in a creamy colour with matching skirting boards, windows and doors.

Johnny said to the painter, "Tonight I have to sleep in the lounge room, because Mum said that the smell of the oil paint will give me a headache." The painter didn’t say anything.

From: Tracy

Last laugh

Have you ever sprinkled on a ceiling?I was in my local Resene shop the other day explaining that I wanted to patch up the ceiling in a porch that had a texture finish.

My friendly staff member suggested SRG grit which wasn't thick enough. Just then an oldish painter came along and suggested I could sprinkle on a coarse sand type grit. Have you ever sprinkled on a ceiling?!!

He had obviously missed the start of my request!

From: First Impressions

How to touch-up paint (and some other useful paint stuff)

Repairing paint on a wall by touching-up sounds simple but it is easy to make mistakes that can highlight your invisible mend.



Always check first

Always check first When you delegate a job, it always pays to check the quality just to make sure it meets the expected standards, just in case you have someone creative on your crew…

I am a retired signwriter. I worked with paint from the 60s to the 90s. At one shop where I worked the manager was obsessed with shoplifters. One afternoon he asked me to paint 20 signs to say 'Shoplifters will be prosecuted'. Halfway through this job I got fed up and started writing 'Prospectors will be executed' and 'Prostitutes will be uplifted'. The next morning the manager was up and down the ladder tacking these signs on the walls and wondered why the staff were in fits of laughter. When he realised why he took down the signs smartly and stormed out the back to my office and said "If there had been customers in the shop and they saw this you would have been sacked".

I couldn't stop laughing!!

Concentration.. or lack of

Lack of concentration results in poor paintingPainting seems like such a nice easy occupation. Take a can of paint, add a brush and spread it all over the wall. How hard could it be? Of course those of us who have been around for a while know there's a lot more to it than that. Paint type, colour, application tool and method to think about, not to mention the weather, plus health and safety requirements… are just a few variables, let alone the painter themselves as this story sent to us serves as a warning…

I work for a firm and one day I got put on another job. It was a big old barn that had been converted into a 'convention centre'. The size of a small aircraft hanger, it needed fireproof painting. I turned up and found the foremen smoking weed. They continued to smoke up throughout the day. I helped out with prep, then the next day I was on another job.

A few days later I was sent back to this job to help with emergency repairs. There were big patches where the paint had 'dropped off'. Turns out the instructions advised to apply the paint at above 7 degrees...

Clearly the instructions hadn't been followed, and there was a wedding booked for that weekend! I guess it pays to be able to concentrate properly!

Rescuing the boss

Rescuing the boss when he's painted himself into a cornerWe're all human and anyone can make mistakes…
They say that the apprentice always gets himself in a bind and has to be rescued in one way or another. Well, the opposite occurred years ago when I was a very young apprentice. You see my boss, the old master himself, was painting the roof and Peter his son and I were on the walls.

When it was lunchtime we heard him call down and ask for me, which we thought was strange until we saw that he had painted himself into the corner of the roof and was stuck and I had to rescue him!

What a hoot that caused.

From: Max

Even in the dark

Even in the dark it's posible to do a great painting jobWhile we wouldn't normally recommend painting in the dark, Matt tells us it's definitely possible to get a great result…

It was 6pm and I had to final coat a large black/white ceiling then and there so we could do the walls on the next day. All the home's lighting was disconnected and being winter, night time was there. There were no lights in the van to bring in and my paint was in the tray ready to go. I decided to roll it out with only a bit of street light shining in. I hoped for the best knowing I've done it a million times in daylight and the product (Resene Decorator Hi-Op Ceiling Paint) had never failed me before on coverage. I rolled it out, worried all night. Came in the next morning the ceiling was faultless to my 10 year tradesman standards.

From: Matt


They say never work with children or animals and we've heard many a story over the years as to exactly why it's best to avoid working with both. Very occasionally though decorators do find a way to let them 'help' with the project…'

Never work with children or animalsA painter mate of mine was touching up around a downlight in the lounge of a property. He had a small dropsheet folded to a square with tray (paint in) and a nook roller and brush and three step ladder.

When he stepped down off the ladder he stood on the tray and flipped it sending paint over the dropsheet and new carpet. Opps and ohh #@&! was the thought. Quick thinking he noticed her little pooch sleeping on the couch so he picked it up and dabbled its feet into the paint and made it run away leaving print marks at the same time he yelled 'oh no you stupid dog'. The woman who was in the kitchen came in saying ‘oh chuckles you silly little boy' and to the painter 'are you alright'? Painter – 'I'm ok, just a little shaken'… and the rest is history.

From Tony

Hot stuff!

Always take care when working with flames as Bob found out the hard way…

This happened quite a few years ago when living in Auckland. The job was in a lovely old villa on Auckland's North Shore. It was a huge place and the job was to strip and repaper the lounge, dining room and hall and repaint the ceilings and all woodwork which was thick with several coats. The two of us decided to first strip the paper then get the ceilings done. This done we would make a start on the joinery, skirting and architraves. My mate would then start the papering.

Burning off hairs from old wallpaperAs it was winter it was very wet and rather than go in and out with all the old paper, we put a big tarp in the middle of the lounge and dumped it all on that, also our morning papers, lunch wrappings, the boxes the wallpaper came in and the old paint we burned off the joinery. Also dirty turps.

When my mate started to prep the walls, which were fibrous plaster, he found there were hundreds of hairs sticking out of it. The old paper was very heavy embossed stuff but the new stuff was very fine with lots of high gloss areas. Problem – how to get rid of them? We tried sanding and cutting. Sanding didn't work and cutting would take forever. Gave it a bit of thought – maybe being hair it would burn off! I fired up my blowtorch (no heat guns then) waved it across a small area – perfect! A light sand and ready to go.

As I was still using the blowtorch on a few areas my mate went and got the gas bottle and flamethrower – after he had done one wall he called me to have a look. It was great.

Well there we were standing there telling each other how clever we were. Unfortunately my mate had turned the flame away from the wall so it was behind him – straight into the pile of rubbish. Well the whole lot went up. Talk about panic!

We grabbed the edges of the tarp and pulled them over the fire and smothered it. We got it out and then dragged the whole lot out to the ute and I took it to the tip. While I was away one of the owners arrived unexpectedly and commented on the smell and a bit of smoke still lingering. My mate said we had to burn a bit more paint off the joinery. The job was duly finished with no more dramas and looks great. We did more work for them later.

From: Bob

60 years young

Paint, well stored, can last a long time… but that doesn't always mean you should use it as Errol found out…

Recently a client required a concrete block garage wall to be painted.

On arrival at the property the owner advised me that they had the paint on hand for the job. One look at the one gallon tin with 53 on the side and lid started the alarm bells to ring. Danger. Danger.

Prising the lid off I started to stir the contents which resembled hard putty. The client appeared at the garage door to check on my progress. I immediately stated in no uncertain terms I was off to buy new paint but oh no I had to use theirs.

After what seemed like hours the paint was getting to the point of reasonable consistency when the client appeared at the garage door checking on my progress. At this point she could see that the paint was a liquid of sorts and was satisfied with her decision to use it.

Before she departed I lifted the tin off the floor and the total contents poured out. I had stirred the bottom out of the tin.

At this time my patience had worn pretty thin. I asked her what happens now with this mess. She said I will clean it up. Music to my ears I thought as I was off to buy a new pail of paint. But STOP said the client you don't need to, there is another tin in the shed.

Turned out 53 was the year they acquired the paint from a friend who painted concrete bridges.

From: Errol

Nature's Art aka Do NOT trust the weather forecast!

The weather and nature's artYou get up, listen to the weather forecast and plan your day accordingly. Works well most of the time, but when it doesn't you end up with 'nature's art' as Winsome tells us…

We were painting the handrails and fences at a community hall. The timber handrails were bolted to steel posts on a low concrete wall and concrete entry bridge to the hall. The fences were just around asphalted carparking area. The colour was a lovely bright red as you would expect with community halls. Mid afternoon and the weather was cloudy but the forecast was for NO rain. It was a lovely red when all done. Should be touch dry in 20 mins. Packed away and ready to leave and one drop, two drops and it started spitting! AaaarrrgggGGHH! Bl*#:y forecast!! No can do anything, eh! Drove away and turned on the wipers! Came back the next morning and it was an amazing sight. Red streaks down the rails onto steel, random red lines down concrete walls and wavy puddle patterns either side of the bridge. Nature had designed a soft, organic themed bridge to walk on. Asphalt with red streaks flowing like a stream, lots of streams.

From: Winsome

Going green

It always pays to take care when you decide to put down a paint bucket or canIt always pays to take care when you decide to put down a paint bucket or can, as you never quite know when it might end up unexpectedly in the way, as Paul found out…
A few years ago my business partner and myself were painting the local playcentre in a lovely colour of Resene Permanent Green. As we do on most occasions the paint is sat down beside the van so it is convenient for top-ups.

Unfortunately for us on the day, due to the fact we are both Volunteer Fire Brigade guys, the alarm decides to go off. Even though we were working directly next door to the brigade we still jumped into the van and reversed out and off to the callout.

Oblivious were we to the fact that the paint had been left behind the van at the time.

Imagine how embarrassed we were to return and find a lovely green coloured driveway merging onto the road outside. We both looked at each other laughing at first but also thinking how the h… are we going to deal with this? Of course we did our community duties to both the brigade and the playcentre by cleaning up the lovely green and then of course a trip to our local Resene shop to get some more!

Tip: Never leave your 10 litre pails sitting behind your van even if you are not on voluntary duty!

From: Paul

All ruined work was hosed offDouble duty

If you have a contract to undertake and it is of a grand scale outside and has to be done during winter you may want to consider being a volunteer firefighter. The benefits can be rather handy!! The good 'ol attitude of 'she'll be right' didn't quite pan out for us. Just as the final square metre of Resitex was sprayed the heavens opened up! Luckily the local volunteer fire brigade was just down the road of which I was a member. With a few desperate pleas all ruined work was hosed off, saving the job from being a complete mess!

From: Michael

Handy pot holder

Handy paint pot holder Sometimes feel like it would be handy to be an octopus and have eight arms to juggle everything? Thanks to Bill Coupland we have a handy idea to help you free up your arms:
For a number of years I have been using this idea to carry a paint pot without holding it. I use a strap that is adjustable and a tie down hook, placed through the pocket hole in my overalls and around my waist. This idea leaves one hand free to hold on while painting. If placed on outside of overalls it will slip down.

From: Bill Coupland

The extra mile

Often it's the little things that people notice and these can have more effect on your reputation than years of advertising might…
A few years ago one of my clients passed on his tip to me for cleaning paint off door hinges, window catches and screws etc. Take one pot, fill with water and put in baking soda, bring to the boil with your hinges in it. I bought a large container of baking soda of 400gms. I have been putting in about a third of the container. I did about 36 hinges at a time this way. I kept the pot simmering for at least an hour. I then let the water cool down and cleaned any paint off the fittings with a green pad. Then I rinsed all the fittings and dried them. Then I sprayed them with CRC, wiping off with a cloth the excess spray, especially for the older fittings. They go back on looking new.

I've been doing this for each house I've been to, really surprising the clients. Going the extra mile is well worth it. It shows you care about their home.

From: Steve Martin

Friends in high places

Working at height can be tricky and it always pays to be properly preparedWorking at height can be tricky and it always pays to be properly prepared. It's best to avoid taking short-cuts as Mike tells us:

I've got to tell this, as it happened, some years back in Auckland. Working on a Hotel in K'Rd. I was with our painting instructor at the time, Larry, and his two sons Garry and Barry who were power lifters, rep rugby players and very strong.

Larry got us to pick up all the extra ladders to save the company scaffolding. Two triples, two extensions. As we got all the ladders on the wall area we were set to go. Larry came out and said I'm going to show you once and once only because I've got to finish off some areas of the interior of the hotel.

As Larry got close to the top of the ladder with his white overalls and shirt tied on and a pot of paint, Larry's wife pulls up in their car and says you better not be sending my sons up there. 'No not us Mum, Dad said he's going to do it for us while we hold the ladders'. And Larry at the top says 'Yes dear I'm going to do it'. And as she pulls away she calls out 'I'll be back to check'.

It's one of the funniest moments of all time I've had working with painters.

From: Mike

One of those days

We've all had one of those days, or weeks, where no matter what we do, nothing seems to go right. If it's any consolation you're not the only one. Dane shares his worst decorating day with us…

Well I know everybody has a really bad day in the first few years of working for themselves, so here's my story.

It started off like every other morning, shower, coffee and drive to the job. On my way to work I get a phone call so like every tradesman you answer the phone in hope it's a potential job. Not 30 seconds after saying hello I see the red and blue lights of the police in my rear view mirror. Great!! $80 dollar ticket for talking on my phone.

I get to the job and pull up on the brand new driveway, open the side van door and boom paint gushes out all over the driveway. A 4L of Sureseal had fallen over and the lid had popped off. I grabbed dirt and threw it on and scooped as much as I could up then rip roared as fast as I could to Resene to get as many bottles of turps as I thought I would need to clean it up. And then what do I see in my rear view mirror but the too familiar red and blue lights again? Awesome!! This time a ticket for speeding and from the same cop!

I finally get back and got the driveway cleaned up as best as possible then thinking to myself right let's get some work done… 'wait a minute where's my tools I left in the garage?' The site had been broken into and everything had been stolen! You have got to be kidding me!

At this point I had had enough so I went home to make calls to my insurance company. Worst day of my working life.

From: Dane

One of those days

Triple marks

When you're out and about driving in the warm weather, you often see random extra roadmarking, which most of us probably assume are due to a roadmarker's temporary lapse of attention. But as Leon tells us, perhaps that's not always the case…

I'm a shocker at putting (not) lids back on cans and pails when I'm into a job. If I put them on tight then I can never seem to find a can opener, so I was in a bad habit of just sitting the lid on. Then when clearing out after a job, always in a hurry, chucking pots and pails into the van, lids just sitting on, even not clicking the back door of the van tightly shut.

One day the situation was as described, as I was in a hurry to get out of the place at the end of the day. Backed out of the driveway and started to accelerate off, the back of the van flew up and a 4L pot of Resene Quick Dry undercoat plopped out onto the road. The can rolled into the gutter and before I could do anything about it a woman drove up behind me and her tyre drove through the pool of paint. She finally stopped bewildered, backed off and drove over the white lines on the road to pass me, leaving a new triple form of roadmarking at the end of that street. This was several years ago and the marks are still there today – testament to the quality of Resene paint. Tip: Always put the lid on tightly and leave a can opener with the tightly shut can. Always shut the back of the van properly!

From: Leon

A new triple form of roadmarking

Thanks to Jayden for this funny decorating story turned into a poem…

Gone green

A misadventure with a can of green paintThis is a story all about how
A bucket of paint tipped upside down
If you'd like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how it landed in Samuel's hair.

The day was nice
But the wind was strong
Sam thought nothing in the world could go wrong
He whistled and he sang
While he worked away
No clue he was about to have a bad day.

A ten litre pail, tinted green
A colour match special, straight from Resene
On top of the scaff with a dodgy wheel
That's where Sam left it
While he ate his lunch meal.

When smoko was done
Sam came on the run
He bound up the scaff
And the faulty wheel spun.
With a hiss and a roar the scaffold did shake
A whole lot worse than a major earthquake

And the paint bucket twirled
As the whole lot of paint
Came down on his head.
It's so funny to see a grown man sulk
Especially when he looks like
The Incredible Hulk.

From: Jayden

Mystery solved

A funny story about a mysteryious stainSometimes things are not quite as they appear, as Ian Wilson found…

We painted a three storey office block in Highland Park.

Weeks after we finished I was called back because of a mark at the front of the building.

Luckily my big ladder could reach. It was indeed a mark? Almost dirty? Had a bird flown into it? Something bleeding through?

Anyway, I resealed with Resene StainLock and repainted with Resene X-200. Another month went by and another phone call same problem? Got the ladder out again, same stain?? I did the same as before… sealed and painted.

I did it four times over an eight month period, scratching my head each time. Then I heard nothing. Must have finally worked – Hallelujah!!

Bumped into the owner last month and said how we must have finally sealed the bleeding. He embarrassedly said "the cleaner was opening the window and banging his used vacuum bags on the wall."

He would only do it when the vacuum was full, so only every three to four weeks… I did laugh!!!!

From: Ian Wilson


A funny story about sneezing dentures into a pot of Polythane He sneezed violently. We looked on in stunned silence, didn't dare laugh. He's not a nice man, given to mood swings and implied violence. But he paid our wages and we paid him respect for conquering alcohol addiction.

His diet was cigarettes, coffee and biscuits. Times were tough, but he got the work and could be charming and funny. With his thin frame, piercing black eyes and ill fitting dentures he haunted many a building site.

But now he has just sneezed his upper dentures into a newly opened drum of Polythane. The air was thick with blue language and cigarette smoke. Gave him plenty of space that day.

In the days that followed, with his teeth back in their rightful home, he seemed to smoke less and less. Even though he vigorously cleaned them he said cigarettes now tasted terrible. Eventually he quit. Two addictions conquered!

From: Ben Prattley

Winning tip

And Mike Treves sent in a clever and winning tip to help you with those roof painting projects…

The best tip I can give on painting is spraying of long run iron by using the Graco pole gun which I modified the valve of the single tip and made a two-tip valve to spray the upstands on flat trays. After testing and adjusting, it worked fantastically well.

I was able to spray 15-20 metre lengths in no time at all, also getting no runs, sags and no laps on the flat trays. Just walking up and down each length.

I saved two weeks labour and used less of my order. Property Engineers checked my film thickness with a micrometer for two coats and I had put on an extra 50 microns with their readings so they signed the completion order and paid within 7 days. They even said they couldn't believe what a short time it had taken me to do it myself. Also other roof jobs followed and yes that pole gun did it again. Used with Resene Galvo One primer and Resene Summit Roof.

From: Mike Treves

Always make sure your ladder is set right before you climb…

Always make sure your ladder is set right before you climb Using my Resene paint tray, putting two litres of Resene waterbased paint in, fitting in as much as it would take, I climbed up my ladder unfolded but not clicking on the clip for safety. I climbed up with my paint tray putting the tray on the roof against the gutter. The ladder folded in half… I ended up hanging onto the gutter, with all two litres of paint running over my head down my back and front and in between my overalls and bare skin as it was a hot day. I couldn't let go of the gutter as I could feel my skinned legs between the rungs of the ladder and knew they'd get broken if I fell. I had to yell out to the builders who were laughing to get me down.

From: Beachgrove Partnership

Five tips from fellow decorators

I always carry a pump bottle full of water and an old bit of towel because on a couple of occasions a blob of waterbased paint has missed my dropsheet and hit the carpet. Straight on with loads of the old aqua and blot with my towel and it's gone!

From: First Impressions

Punch holes in colour charts in the middle of colour. This makes it easier to colour match.

From: Absolute Decorator

Also to help you with this, on many of our colour palettes and charts we are now bleeding the colour chip to the edge to make matching easier, and don't forget most Resene colour charts are printed using Resene SpaceCote, so it's real paint and a better match than printer ink.

With a low tack tape, mask up the top and one side edge of a metal plastering trowel (or wide knife). Using the handle of the trowel hold taped edges tight against the timber sash and paint away, moving it along the frame as you go. Occasionally wipe any excess off the tape on the trowel and once you've finished, remove the tape completely and your trowel is as good as new!

This tip was passed onto me by a painter from Europe and is a real time saver, plus you no longer have to worry about any peeling when you remove masking tape from glass as the paint isn't drying against the tape.

A perfect, straight line every time.

From: HC Painting & Deco Plus

Tip to help avoid paint going off when the container is only half full: Fill up a container with water – e.g. a jam jar or a plastic container with a screw top lid – and put it in the paint container to raise the level of paint and reduce the amount of air in the container. This helps to prevent the paint from going off. It works for me! Try it!

From: Building and Construction Specialists

Another option is to place some clear cling wrap on top of the waterborne paint to prevent skinning.

So simple, when pouring paint from a container pour away from the label side so as not to obscure the colour code etc for reference in the future. Nothing worse than trying to scrape off the old paint to find out the particular details.

From: Ron Brewer Decorator

Try paying your wife – as a test

Try paying your wife – as a test of your business's viability and successIf you want to know just where you and your business stands, whether your workmen are working for you, or you are working for them, try giving your wife a definite sum each week throughout the year – say at least the equivalent of a journeyman's wage. You must agree not toborrow any of it back or to permit her to spend any of 'her' money in, or for, the business.

If a master painter can do this and keep out of debt, he has put his feet on the first rung of success.

Try out this plan. If you find that you cannot pay both your wife and all your business expenses you will probably end up a bankrupt, UNLESS you do one or all of three things – raise prices, increase volumes or curtail expenses.

Reprinted with thanks to Master Painters NZ. First appeared in Painter and Decorator magazine – No 11, December 1958!

Less than lucky

A far-sighted prank when wallpapering We were waterblasting the roof of a newly clad plastic/nylon weatherboard house. Before we started we jammed a piece of plywood between the waterblaster exhaust and house, then halfway through the roof we ran out of water. We came down to find the ply had slipped and there was a half metre diameter hole in the side of the house – oops! Same job, removed an ensuite slider (plywood veneer) and lent it against porch wall. During the afternoon the wind blew it down straight through the mailbox sitting on the porch floor. We couldn't wait to leave the job before the third accident happened!

From: Dave

Ladder slide

My parents were overseas and I decided to paint the eaves and soffits of their house. The easel type ladder was used to get under the job and the oil based paint brushed on the edges prior to rolling the broad areas. I was using a 1 litre can of paint in one hand and paint brush in the other. One leg of the ladder suddenly pressed into the soft flower garden soil and I fell onto the soft garden and lawn. The can of oil based paint had an even softer landing on the side of my face. Paint poured over the side of my head, into my ear, into my hair, over my now closed eyes and mouth. I didn't want to open the closed orifices so headed off to the workshop like a blind man. I found rags and began the hour long clean up. Inevitably some paint and turps found its way into my eyes which stung. That was about 30 years ago and I'm still painting houses!

From: Ian

Paint catcher

Painting windows on a 2 storey building using ladder brackets with plank in between. Being a green apprentice I didn't quite have the chains on the ladder brackets tight or straightened out. I stood on the plank with a pot of paint beside me then the chain adjusted, down we went, pot of paint first to take the plunge, me following close behind. Paint hit the ground and decided to come back up – I didn't want to make a mess so I caught it all – all over my face, the works. Thank goodness for overalls but the roses and other plants didn't look good!

From: Dave

Patience wins... in the end

A far-sighted prank when wallpapering When you're stripping wallpaper it's amazing what you can find underneath… normally it's more and more wallpaper, if you're lucky some of the history of the home reveals itself, but sometimes you might find something a little more unusual as Avi tells us: I was wallpapering a new extension several years ago when I pulled a far-sighted prank. On the base wall I wrote in red marker "I'M WATCHING YOU" before wallpapering over the area. I completely forgot about this over the years until a couple of months ago, when I got someone to come in and paint that room for me.

Naturally he spent the morning taking down the wallpaper. He wanted to stop for a cuppa about three-quarters of the way through and I agreed – the guy was as pale as a sheet. He looked like he'd seen a ghost and it suddenly clicked.

Remembering my hidden message, I decided to keep the joke going. Nervously trying to make conversation, the guy asked why we'd decided to redecorate the room. "We thought it was time for a change" I answered. "We had someone renting it out but one day he just disappeared".

Thanks to Avi

Stick to what you know best

Sometimes when you master one job, it can be tempting to tackle another. Sometimes it pays to resist that temptation as Kerrie's story demonstrates… My mere male DIY husband decided he could save us a bucket load of money by tiling our bathroom himself. He wanted to take care of the whole process himself, and being a painter decorator he thought he would have it all under control. We did the sensible thing and got a plumber in to install the new hand basin and toilet and then went to work on the walls.

The GIB® needed replacing before the tiling could be done and so with great gusto out came the sledgehammer and voilà the GIB® was gone. Now this was when the fun started. New GIB® was installed, great I said, looks like you have done an awesome job. GIB® tape on, sealer applied, couple of days later, now we can start tiling. We had purchased enough tiles to do the job and have about 30 left over to cover for breakages.

About 3 hours into the job hubby calls me in and says I don't think we have bought enough tiles. Looking at the bottom of the bath I could understand why – there was a mosaic about 2 inches deep in the bottom of the bath and he says to me "By the way I can't find some of my tools, I think the kids have taken them".

So I dashed off to the store to buy more tiles (and this would not be the last time) while he stayed to search for his tools. I got back to the kids looking rather upset at the fact that Dad had accused them of stealing his tools and that he did not find it funny. It took about another half hour for the penny to drop.

The tools were now safely enclosed in the wall that he had installed the plasterboard over – he had put them on the framing for safe keeping. He had to bash a hole in the inside wall of the wardrobe in the spare room to get them out and that hole is still there to this day as a constant reminder of what not to do with your tools.

And the moral of the story? Stick to your day job!

Painting the hard way

With the cold starts over winter, it can be tempting to either stay in bed or just stay snuggled up in a dressing gown. Still as we all know, when it comes to painting, most shortcuts end up creating more work than they save, as one of our Resene staff found out the hard way… Never decide to paint a room while you are still in your dressing gown and slippers as I once did. One morning I got up and decided my bedroom was ready for the second topcoat. Not wanting to get dressed right then I decided to paint in my PJs. Up the ladder I go and start painting. As I went to move along the wall my slipper slipped off. As I was lying on the floor with paint all over me I realised I had tried to grab the wall on my way down and across the wall were my fingermarks going from the top in an arch all the way to the bottom. Lesson learnt. I got dressed and finished the job.

Never a dull moment

You don't need to join the police to have interesting work stories, all you need to do is become a painter… At the time of these things happening they weren't funny but looking back at them now… see what you think! Like the time I was mixing up some wallpaper paste and left it outside near a field, only to find it was empty when I returned half an hour later… a horse had eaten it. Or the time I was rolling a ceiling when a cat shot out from nowhere straight through the paint tray and ran round the house leaving white pawprints everywhere or the time a co-worker threw half a cup of coffee out the van window after smoko and soaked a motorcycle cop who was riding past at the same time. Or the time when we thought we had tied the wallpaper to the roof rack, only to find it wasn't when we stopped at a red light and it shot off and landed on the boot of the car in front or the time we had a painter help us for a while only to catch him thinning the paint with lemonade…!! Top tip – sometimes stay in bed in the morning.

Thanks to the Stone brothers

False alarm

Make sure that the target of the joke has a good sense of humour firstPainting can be a serious task and sometimes it pays to lighten the mood a little – just make sure that the target of the joke has a good sense of humour first…
At one of the flats we were painting there was always a lot of young people coming and going – all day. The occupiers were students, not young students, but mature students. The occupier always refused to let us get to the rear of the building through his flat.

However one sunny day I was up the ladder painting the window sashes on his flat. Loud music was playing and a bit of a party was going on inside.

I knocked on his window and as he looked at me I yelled "the cops are here, the cops are here".

Well the partygoers ran in all directions, the toilets flushed and noises of panic came through the glass. Five minutes later I knocked on the windows and told the occupier – "just joking!"

The verbal abuse had me laughing my head off as I jumped down the ladder to be with my painting partner who was also laughing loudly.

A painter's funny storyCoverage more or less

A couple of years ago while painting a large block of flats – to get to the door of the property we had to go through one of the flats. We knocked on the door and the female occupier opened the door – ahh – no top on – aghast we told her we needed to go through to the rear. She led us through.

The following morning knock knock – I nearly fell over – the lady appeared totally nude; still in shock we went through to the rear of the dwelling.

Meanwhile the owner had asked me to paint a couple of rooms inside. Gladly I undercoated the bedroom trying not to look anywhere but at the wall.

The next day she answered the door fully clothed and went off for the morning. I worked outside for a while and then went inside to topcoat the room. As I was getting my paints ready the lady returned, stripped naked, and went about her house as if I was not there. Uncomfortably I topcoated the room.

That evening the owner phoned me and asked if I had been drinking – "no why?" "You painted the room three different colours!" I assure you I was a gentleman at all times.

A painter's funny storyShort term memory

It's amazing how fast people forget things, which is why it always pays to block off the area you are painting in to avoid others causing mishaps as Dale Gilmore found out…
I was about halfway down a service driveway at the back of several shops signwriting a wall, about three or four metres off the ground, on a plank supported by ladder brackets on my split extension ladder.

The driveway was asphalted and wide enough to get a car between my ladders and the tall wooden fence on the opposite side. At the far end of the drive was a dairy and the owner had carefully driven past me several times while I was up on my plank.

This particular time the dairy owner got into his car and started to back down the driveway as he had on earlier occasions. Hearing his car start I looked down and then watched in disbelief as he backed out, making a beeline for the nearest of my ladders. He had obviously forgotten I was there. With the realisation he was going to hit me I started yelling. He didn't hear me. I yelled louder. He was oblivious. He got closer, I yelled louder. He got closer still, I yelled louder still. His rear bumper nudged and started shifting my ladder. The yelling became desperate screams. The ladder was being pushed over and one end of the plank started descending into a decided downhill drop. I started looking for a soft landing place to aim for when it became necessary to abandon the plank. The car roof, appearing a long way below in my heightened state of terror, looked the best option rather than the painfully hard looking asphalt. The thought flashed through my mind 'it's probably softer and will crumple when I hit it, it's also closer'.

After what seemed a heart stopping eternity the driver heard my desperate screams and halted the car. The ladder had been pushed a foot or two out of alignment and was resting against his bumper, the plank was down quite a way at one end. I slowly inched my way back up the inclined plank to the second, still straight, ladder and gingerly climbed down as best as my shaking, jellied legs would allow. The completely oblivious, untouched by impending tragedy, driver emerged from his car with a cheerful, 'sorry I forgot you were there', just as I was still shakily clinging to the last rungs of the ladder. I assured him I was O.K. He got back in the car, went forward, then backed carefully around the ladders and took off for the street. After briefly pausing to reflect on the peculiarity of some people, and to settle down a little, I straightened my ladders and plank and slowly, carefully, climbed back up and started work again.

A while later, having regained my confidence and carrying on with the job, I heard a car speeding down the road toward the driveway entrance. I looked around because it sounded so obviously fast and loud. I saw, you guessed it, my dairy mate. He swung a wide arc into the driveway, (going miles too fast), and with an audible thump hit the kerb almost bottoming the car and coming perilously close to ripping his sump off. With a heart lurching jolt of horror I realised the car was heading straight for me, again! With what seemed a sudden, last minute realisation he saw my ladders and swerved away. Unfortunately at the speed he was going he over-corrected, shot across the drive and drove straight into the fence, ripping the side of his front bumper off and coming to a sudden stop. This time I could tell, he wasn't cheerful. He got out his car, looked up at me, said, 'that was your fault', picked up his piece of bumper and disappeared down to his dairy. I don't think I saw him again.

Thanks to Dale

A funny story from a painterFamily support

And just in case you thought you might get your family working for you over the holidays, you might want to read this story from MPL, Tauranga first… My son was home on holidays and I had him working for me to pay a few debts etc. I dropped him off at a house at the Mount and showed him a bathroom downstairs which I had sealed the day before and he was to sand so I could topcoat it before the tiler arrived. I left him to it and went to another job. The house was in two stages; the upstairs bedrooms and two bathrooms were already completed.

I arrived back, the bathroom was all nicely sanded – well done I thought – he was sitting down reading a magazine – and I asked him was he finished. "Yes" he replied, "and I also did the two upstairs bathrooms as well" Yes you guessed it, for some unknown reason he went upstairs and sanded the nicely finished bathrooms. He failed to notice the water in the shower or the towels on the heated towel rack. I was speechless to say the least… I was halfway through recoating the upstairs bathrooms when the owners arrived home… luckily they saw the funny side of things… Needless to say he finished with me the same day, he is now doing very well as an electrical apprentice and we hope he knows his red from green.

Thanks tp MPL

Watch that artwork when paintingWatch that artwork

If you're working in a house with expensive ornaments or artwork, then you'd best avoid the predicament Peter found himself in…
We had a contract for painting a new double storied French Provencal concrete house. It was very elaborate with a very large foyer and the ceiling was at least 6-7 metres high. The owners had an artist paint a depiction of Michaelangelo's painting of "The Finger of God". It truly was stunning.

On the second floor landing above the foyer was a library full of shelving that had to be painted. I had to spray these shelves, so I set out to work with my spray gun machine. I turned the machine on and went to pick up the gun which was lying on the landing. As I picked it up I mistakenly pulled the trigger!! And yes the safety wasn't on, and to make matters worse there was no tip in the holder!! So it shot out a stream of Resene Lustacryl right across the painting!!!

I went into a frenzied state of panic, and yelled out to my worker to grab some wet cloths. I had to wrap these around roller poles. As we attempted to wipe the paint off the artwork, it became smeared with off-white acrylic and the Finger of God was hidden behind clouds of paint.

At that moment the lady of the manor walked in as she was showing some friends around who particularly wanted to see this famous painting. I looked skyward and wished that somehow I could just disappear. We all looked at each other then up to the painting and all in the room were speechless.

In the end we managed to get this beautiful painting back to its former glory. The artist had coated it with a waterproof sealer, lucky for me! It was one of my closest calls yet.

N.B. What we learned from this is, always take extreme care, and check tools or machinery prior to using.

Thanks to Peter


A painter's funny storyWhen you are having a less than perfect day on the job, bear in mind Steve's story. You might just decide your day isn't so bad after all…
Some time ago I employed Lindsay, a classic old tradesman who was meticulous in work habits, particularly pedantic in cleaning gear, even roller sleeves past their use by date that would be more cost effective to be replaced. Lindsay and I were working on a house under construction with many other tradies. Cleaning a solvent roller sleeve at our workstation, tins and gear neatly in a semi-circle, he cleaned it perfectly and left it soaking in clear solvent on top of a texture coating bucket.

Later on I arrived at the workstation and plonked myself down on said bucket. Somebody had taken off the sleeve but left 40ml of clear solvent in the lid. Well, as you know these buckets are low and requires one to almost straddle to sit for a decent sized bloke. Holy mackerel! Burning hot solvent up my tender areas, got me jumping, yelping, threatening revenge on Lindsay. Tearing off my overalls I ran outside to the only tap onsite. So there I was shorts around my ankles bending over spraying soothing water on my burning butt when the chippies and plumbers came around the corner for smoko. One of the chippies laughed so much he dropped his pie which only made the others laugh more! The embarrassment was too much so with wet rag on my butt for relief I jumped in the car stripping off my soaked t-shirt.

Driving home for a shower was quite a feat as it burnt to sit down on the seat. Arriving home I decided to make a dash for the slider but my little girl, who was playing inside, had locked the door. Covering my private parts with my hands I was bending down to her level telling her to unlock the door. To my relief she came to the door but I realised she was looking past me. With trepidation I turned round – my mate's religious and straight laced wife had driven up behind – she was just sitting there at the wheel wide eyed mouth open staring at this naked man bending over with a white rag covering part of his butt.

So I guess the tip is, sometimes it's better to just buy a new sleeve!

Thanks to Steve

A prickly storyA prickly story

Just in case you thought moss and mould was something that could be ignored, this story from Don is a handy reminder of just how one little slip on mould can cause more trouble than you'd think. So next time you spot some moss or mould around about the place, tackle it quickly and easily with Resene Moss & Mould Killer or risk the consequences!

My father and a number of other local farmers descended on the local rural community hall to give it a long overdue coat of paint. As we had one of the few high light front end loaders in the district he brought the old Farmall A along so the painting gang could reach the higher regions of the hall's walls. Roy was duly lifted up the side of the south wall, which sported a bed of bracken and self-seeded blackberries below. The loader was lifted to its fullest extent with Roy in the bucket – paint and brush in hand. Unfortunately my father had not cleaned up the moss/mould off the surface of the bucket, which had remained parked out in the open most of winter. Roy slipped on the surface and to break his fall reached back with his free hand to steady himself on the back edge of the bucket. However he inadvertently tripped the tipping lever of the bucket which releases the pin enabling the contents of the bucket to be emptied! This resulted in Roy being dumped from some 4-5 metres into the bed of blackberries and bracken underneath. Not only this but Roy's paint also ended up spilling all over his body and partially turning the Farmall A tractor's loader (painted bright red) to a speckled white.

Roy struggled to his feet with paint dripping from his hair complaining of a bruised back where the back of the loader bucket had caught him as he headed into the blackberries. He was also swearing rather profusely from the pain and discomfort of multiple blackberry vine prickles now embedded in his legs, arms, back and rear end. My father's initial reaction of laughter was not well received by Roy but he recovered his composure and went to Roy's aid!

Thanks to Don

Watch out below!

We are a commercial abseil company and I had two of my guys painting a 6 storey building in Newmarket. For one section the guys were using rollers so they had their large roller trays hanging off the sides of their bosun's chairs. At the bottom of the face there was a glass canopy over the footpath, which the guys had to pass by. They did this by doing a little push out and then quickly descending past the canopy into their exclusion zone set up on the footpath. They had done this manoeuvre a few times throughout the day without a hitch.

They came to the last jump of the day, the first guy successfully did the jump and then stood to one side taking off his harness, the second guy jumped out... and found a fast spot on his rope!! He fell much quicker than anticipated, he flew past the canopy and plummeted downwards. He hit the ground before he could get his feet under him, causing him to land flat on his back... right on top of his roller tray!!! Limbs flailing and paint strewn everywhere, painting his back and the footpath a lovely Resene Double Spanish White!!

This was all in full view of his co-worker, passerbys and the whole intersection load of cars who had been sitting waiting for the lights! It took them a while to clean up the paint but apparently the pure slapstick comedy was worth it!!!!

Thanks to Chris Johnston of Off The Ledge

A think before you leap funny storyThink before you leap

I had a job that I will never forget 15 years ago and we still laugh about it today.

We had to paint an interior of a launch that was docked in a marina. We painted the whole interior in Resene Alkyd Gloss Enamel. On this particular day we packed up and decided to go home. We usually just jumped from the launch to the wharf, which was about a metre. My partner went first and made it as usual with no problems... But I decided to carry two paint pots of Resene Gloss Enamel half filled, one in each hand.

I jumped cautiously, but as I jumped the back of my foot clipped the rope that holds the boat, and I fell into the drink!! I can still clearly remember going down holding onto the pots of paint, thinking where the heck the bottom is! I ended up finally letting go of the pots that were dragging me down into a seemingly bottomless abyss!!

As I swam up to the surface I didn't give the paint a thought. As the pots filled up with water they floated to the surface causing a film on the top of the water that I had to eventually break through to get air! As I popped up through the paint slick my partner was in uncontrollable laughter as I was wearing bib and brace overalls and was white from head to toe.

Every orifice on my body had white paint in them, on them, around them - there wasn't an inch of unpainted flesh to be seen! There was a high pressure hose nearby thank goodness - when I was hosed down it got 85% off, the rest I left up to my wife to scrub off me. Bottle brushes had to come out. We managed to disperse the paint that was on the surface of the water with the high pressure hose.

What we learned from this, safety first, NEVER take shortcuts. And always think before you do anything!

Thanks to Peter Ferris

The joys of paint

Why we need Resene paint recycling centres After 5 years painting in Sydney town it was time to return to NZ. The last chore of the departure was to rid myself of a small mountain of surplus paint residing in my rented apartment laundry. The obvious solution had to be my expat kiwi painting mate Mike. After settling on a suitable amount of locally brewed lager for parting with my assorted range of oil and waterbased paints we loaded Mike's ute for the short trip to his place. Not sure if it was Mike showing off his new ute's cornering capabilities or the summer heat but the first turn saw us with tail gate down depositing a total load of multicoloured product over several parked vehicles belonging to the local police station. I have to confess that afternoon proved to be one of the biggest learning curves in the removal of splattered paint off motor vehicles of my career. All under the watchful eye of New South Wales' finest I might add. Oh for a Resene paint recycle centre!

Thanks to: Al Wilkinson

Going bananas

A number of years ago I was working for a painting firm which was owned by a Dutch gentleman. My workmate and I were discussing paint finishes while our Dutch boss was nearby. We talked about a certain roller sleeve which would leave an 'orange peel' texture on the wall. Some time later we heard our boss tell our other workmate who had just returned from an errand not to use this certain roller sleeve as we had discussed as it would leave a 'banana skin' texture!

Thanks to Adrian Greenwold of Excel Decorating

Colour edge

The only way to guarantee no bleed on a masking tape edge, regardless of tape type, is to cut the colour that you're masking on the new colour side of the tape, allowing that colour to do the bleeding onto itself. Then follow with the new colour. It takes a little extra time, yes, but it is well worth it especially in critical areas like feature walls.

Thanks to Dave McLeod

Paint that bounces back

Brent Hare learnt the hard way that it pays to take care where you put your paintBrent Hare learnt the hard way that it pays to take care where you put your paint!

One Saturday a few months ago I decided to have a cleanup and take some rubbish to the tip. My son and I filled the work van up and off we went. It was all go when we got there, the truck was in the pit clearing all of the rubbish.

I backed up at a cleared area and we opened the back door of the van and started throwing the rubbish out into the pit. Along with the rubbish there was a can of oil based enamel that I had put aside but had forgotten to tell my son to leave in the van. Before I could say stop, I saw the can sailing through the air into the pit landing the right way up.

We both then turned around to get more rubbish out of the van when suddenly we heard a bang and felt a shower of spray come over us. As I looked over my shoulder I saw that a truck had run over the paint can and popped the lid off causing an explosion of paint spray that just happened to land all over us and gave the van a new paint job. The unfortunate thing is that I had just had the van signwritten three weeks earlier.

Thanks to: Brent Hare

Clean off Resene's Smooth Surface Sealer with methsRed-faced

We were redecorating a school's smoko room and left our labourer to seal up some stains on the ceiling. All we had in the van was Resene's Smooth Surface Sealer. Meanwhile our labourer who holds his pot under his armpit with his arm wrapped around it instead of holding the handle, slipped off his steps and of course the paint ended up covering his face, hair and cupboard doors. Our foreman turns up to find a VERY RED faced worker who had tried to clean a meths based product off his face with TURPS!

Thanks to Sharon Campbell of Holmes Decorating

Inside job

First up, the tip:
To keep your hands clean delegate the work to someone else!

And now for the story - this one definitely brought a smile!

While driving along the road miles from anywhere with my van so full I had to have the back doors open to accommodate my ladders etc a car came up from behind and proceeded to flash his lights. Thinking he was in need of something I pulled over to the side of the road. He driver got out of his car and came to me with an unusual request for someone so far from anywhere.

"Have you any clean rags and turps in the van?" he asked. I replied that I had. "Come and look at my car," he said. A tin of blue paint had fallen out the back of my van and splashed over the front of his car.

He was smiling as we proceeded to clean the grill lights, etc. I said he was very good about the misadventure. "Oh you won't believe it" he said "but it happened to me last week, I'm a painter too." We had a laugh together and he went his way. I don't think I even asked him his name. Goodness knows what people thought as they drove by and saw two people polishing a car on the side of the road miles from anywhere.

Thanks to John Holt of Onehunga who shared both a tip and a story with us

Spilt paintWatch where you put that pot

Don't leave your pot of paint on top of steps. An employee of mine left his pot of paint on top of his steps to talk to me. He lent on the steps, tipping the pot over, running paint down the treads, pouring over his hair and down his face. He was covered in paint. Time and time again I had told him not to leave his pot on top of steps etc. A lesson learnt and I never laughed so much, he couldn't see the humour…

Thanks to Dave Thomasen

Mark mover

Apply a layer of varnish over old marks (i.e. pencil, pen, pen marker, paint) on wood, then, while it is wet, sand it off and you'll find the marks come off too.

Thanks to Emere Bell of Napier

never work with animalsNever work with animals

When building our own house, we were up to painting our first wall with undercoat. At the time we had a young Kunekune pig who lived inside with us as a pet.
I had set up my work area and had popped up the ladder to start cutting in when I heard our pig come into the room. I looked down to say hello to her when I heard her grunting, only to realise I had forgotten to put the lid on my paint! But before I could get down the ladder, the pig stuffed her snout into the paint can and of course lifted her head up at the same time!

She squealed as the paint tin refused to come off and she ran around the room backwards in a panic!

Paint was running out of the can all over the floor. By this time I had got down and was trying to help her but the more I tried to get her to stop the more she ran and as she was backtracking around she was also running through the paint and spreading that around with footprints too! Needless to say the place was a bit of a mess and no painting was done that day – only the cleaning of one distraught pig and our floor!

Thanks to John Schischka

TimberLock to the rescue

Instead of scraping back then sanding up your paintwork then TimberLocking it… Just scrape it back then Resene TimberLock. This saves the edges lifting after you sand and having to re-sand the edges. You sand the following day then do spot priming. As Resene TimberLock absorbs into the timber there's no problem in sanding it off. Otherwise if you sand too much then you may need new windows.

Thanks to Shane Murphy


I was painting a friend's roof (alone), when halfway through my ladder was knocked over. Just after this had happened, the weather decided to turn bad, so I was unable to continue. I was stuck on the roof with my airless unit pumping away hard out on the ground. My only way down was to take a flying leap to a bank at the back of the house, which was a four metre leap. I decided against this as I didn't like the thought of a broken leg as the landing spot was rather rough. So I yelled for help but that was hopeless. What do I do now?!! Bang! My airless blew a hose right at the pump. Paint went anywhere, all over the drive, all the house... so I did a flying leap and landed safe and sound. What a day!

Thanks to Charlie Lawry of Blast It

Homemade paint waterfallHomemade waterfall

I have a funny story about the first time I tried to use an airless sprayer… I call it Airless Novice… I was trying to grease up the mother in law and told her I would paint her house. Seeing the old villa was white, the windows were white, it went up to a white spouting and down to lawn, I figured I would use an airless sprayer. My father had bought one, done his roof and then my brother had done his, both were a success. I set it all up and thought I would start around the corner on the house on two concrete Greek urn planters as a practice. After a couple of minutes of no paint coming, with me twiddling the knobs, I went back around the corner to check the machine. There was a horrific sight.

The hose had burst sending the paint 40 feet straight into the air. It was bouncing pretty hard onto the eaves of the house as well. By the time I got there it was rolling down the side of the house about 500mm wide like lava.

No sooner had I turned it off and thought "How am I going to fix this?" that I realised that the wind had also taken the paint onto the next door neighbour's house.

Gosh! There were about a 100 drips on the house next door drying fast in the sun. But these weren't just drips they were about 500mm long and some traversed four weatherboards. I chucked the ladder over the fence grabbed the wet cloth and over the next hour it took to get it off I thought to myself "This could have been much worse". In the end it looked like I had never been there.

This was unfortunately not the case with the mother in law's house however. By the time I got back the paint on the wall had dried significantly. Great big sagging festoons of paint adorned the wall that couldn't be budged with scraping. Luckily there were no windows and I figured well at least that bit was well protected. I got there in the end and as far as I know she has never ever noticed the 3D relief sculpture of Niagara Falls down the far side of her house.

Save files

This is especially for clients who are property or rental investors. To save files and records and hassles of colour matching, do all interior walls with one colour, such as Resene Pearl Lusta. This is for all your rental properties. Ceilings white and doors possibly one colour. Touch-ups between tenants will be so much easier.

Thanks to Winsome Lam


Thirty years ago my father was working for me as a painter. We were painting a pensioner's flat. The lady was about 90 years old with no teeth. After completing painting of the lady's bedroom the lady sat on the bed. She put her hands on my hips and said "I could eat you". My reply was "I'll be back in a minute". I went to the next bedroom and said to my father "Dad can you put the old girl's lampshade and bulb back please" trying not to laugh. Dad went into the room, achieved this and made no comment. You can trust a registered Master Painter!

Thanks to Michael Oldham of Décor Decorating Contractors

A painter's unny experienceAlan's rule number one when painting: Do NOT have a coughing fit.

This rule particularly applies when you are standing beside a full paint tray while precariously balanced on scaffolding on a first floor deck with your van parked below – with both doors open. Full paint removal from the scaffolding, deck, van roof, van interior and the concrete drive on both sides of the van… as the paint flies in one door and out the other… just can't be done.

Thanks to Heather

Handy bag

I look forward to purchasing from our Resene shop and leaving with a black plastic bag or two. These bags are really good for putting the roller into overnight or two! They keep the paint well and truly wet on the sleeve and it's so easy the next morning to just take the roller out of the bag and keep on rolling on. When we can we put the roller into an old supermarket bag first – this helps to make the black bag last longer. The quality of the bags is exceptional and much appreciated by not only us but Resene customers overall.

Thanks to Peter Plummer

Vary your sheens

Using the same colour but changing from a low sheen to a higher sheen can enhance the look of the room. We do it to wide cornices around rooms and it can really make a nice subtle difference.

Thanks to Peter Plummer

Kitchen chaos

When I was still an apprentice my boss got me to paint some renovations on a house that was owned by our builder. I had to spray out a new pantry room in the kitchen. This was located on the fourth floor of his beachfront mansion. When I finished spraying I turned off the spray gun and went to turn the bypass switch. Suddenly an explosion of paint went streaming across the kitchen. This was due to dried paint on the end of the release hose. It covered the cabinets, the granite bench and their brand new $5000 black fridge, the size of a small car.

He had an office downstairs with five staff that have their morning tea at 10am on the fourth floor. It was now 9.50am so I only had 10 minutes to clean up. I gathered all their tea towels using them to mop up the paint. When they were used I got the towels from the bathroom.

With my heart racing I knew any minute now the boss with all his staff would bust me. Sprinting down the stairs I threw the tea towels and towels into the washing machine in the garage. Just as I started to walk upstairs the office door opened and everybody followed me upstairs, luckily their meeting ran overtime. As I got to the kitchen I quickly scanned the area for any sign of the mishap – to my relief it was spotless… until I walked past the fridge and noticed where I cleaned with Scotchbrite pads that there were dull patches on the glossy surface of the fridge. So I strategically slid some fridge magnets around and placed a couple of post it notes over the patches until everyone left. I spent the rest of the day cleaning and drying the towels, as well as lightly buffing the entire fridge with the Scotchbrite pad to blend in the dull patches and get an even finish over the surface. From then on I have never used the bypass switch on my spray machines.

My tip is: I release the pressure from my hand piece.

Thanks to Rick of Glasskote Decorations

Cool tip

Don’t work with children or animals
On a very hot day using 2 litres of acrylic on weatherboards drop two ice cubes into your pot and you will find the paint will run real smooth through the cooling. It truly works.

Thanks to Peter of PJ Painters

Custom mix

Sometimes even the simplest of instructions can get lost in translation...
During the crash of the nineties I worked for a while with a painter who wanted me to paint a state house made of stucco and I said 'make sure you give me the specifications of the job so there are no mistakes or misunderstandings'. Ok he said and wrote on one of the paint bucket lids 'box tens'. Well that's what I did. Mixed them altogether like he said. But how was I to know that the red was for the roof and the white for the walls? Anyway I thought the old lady liked the pink on her walls after all that.

Thanks to Max Tollenaar of Paint the Town

Back in the old days

One of our staff had a request from a customer for a durable limewash. As they are often asked fairly diverse questions they try to keep up to date with new Resene products as well as having a library of books – old and new – to refer to. In this particular case the customer was shown Resene Colorwood Whitewash and after enquiring about the cost he commented paint was much more expensive than when he was younger and that he 'used to help my father who was a painter and we made our own paint'.

The Resene staff member asked the gentleman if he could wait a minute and copied a recipe from one of the reference books in case he wanted to make his own durable whitewash…
Durable whitewash
For one barrel of wash, slake ½ bushel of white lime, then add 10lb umber, 1lb of Venetian Red, 1/4lb lamp black, mix well together, add three pecks hydraulic cement, and fill barrel with water. Let it stand 12 hours before using, and stir frequently while putting it on. This is not white, but a light stone colour, without the unpleasant glare of white. The colour may be changed by adding more or less of the colours named or other colours. It can be improved by adding a strong solution of sulphate of magnesia. It covers well, needing only one coat, and is superior to anything known excepting oil paint.

From Recipes for the Colour, Paint, Varnish, Oil, Soap and Drysaltery Trades.
Compiled by an Analytical Chemist.
Published by the Aberdeen University Press Ltd – 1902.

They both had a chuckle, he admitted that 'times have changed' and he bought the Resene Colorwood Whitewash and wished our staff member a Happy Christmas! It's amazing just how much paint has advanced in just a century.

Wise advice

Some years ago my oldest son and I were doing a paperhanging job. Winding up at the end of the day we asked the client if we could leave our workgear in her laundry. The woman agreed. So we were back early the next day. We set up and started working everything was going to plan. However about 11.30am that morning the client's mother came out of the laundry with a brazen look on her face. Standing at the door she motioned us over to look inside the washing machine. To our shock and horror the poor woman had inadvertently picked up the wrong bag, which she thought was washing powder. This resulted in a bag of powdered glue being used. To this day we will never forget the sight of seeing a washing machine full of clothes smothered in a thick gluey substance. The look on that woman's face was one of disbelief plus on ours also. At the end of the day, it pays all of us to read the labels first!

Thanks to Charlie Waterhouse

Wonky wallpaper storyWonky wallpaper

A few years ago I left one of my men on a job wallpapering. When I arrived back later in the day he complained that he could not get the paper to hang straight and that the plumb bob must be faulty!

Thanks to Ged Moore

Save cleaning

How long do you spend cleaning out roller gear trays and pots? How can you store rollers soaked in acrylic paint for days without cleaning them? Easy! Use supermarket grocery bags to line your roller trays and paint pots. Tape the handles of the bag to the underside of the pot as normal. Empty remainder of paint at the end of the painting to stock pot and toss the bag. Less paint in waterways, no mess, 30 seconds for the can. Same for the tray. As for the roller, store it in another bag, no air, nothing dries, clean it when you are ready. Save yourself a heap of time and increase your productivity.Fbehind

Thanks to Greg Fulton

A signwriting mistakeBuger!

A few years back when I hadn't long been signwriting I was given a job signing on a hamburger shop.

On arriving I got out my gear and did the big hard job first - hamburgers on the front shop window. I then proceeded to lay out and sign the menu and pricing board and then quickly in fast casual script completed the job.

That Friday night on the way back from a night out, I thought I'd shout my mates a feed, so proceeded to the Hamburger shop to show off the afternoon's work. The shop manager was very friendly but before making our purchases kindly asked me to look at the price board. A customer had pointed out a spelling mistake - HAMBUGERS. You did a great job my friends still say but you need to learn how to spell!

Thanks to Peter Faithful of Greymouth


I recently served a lady who was after a 4L of Spanish White in semi-gloss acrylic. I proceeded to tint up some Sonyx 101 to Spanish White and labelled it as normal, writing the colour name, shop name and my name - MATT. Twenty minutes later I received a very abusive phone call from a lady accusing me of supplying her with flat paint rather than semi-gloss as she had asked. I replied 'No I mixed up a 4L of Spanish White in semi-gloss acrylic'. By this stage the lady was furious because not only had I supplied her with the incorrect paint but I was also accusing her of being stupid. She quickly replied 'Excuse me, but on the label it says 'Spanish White and underneath that it says MATT'.

I quietly giggled and promptly explained to her that MATT was actually my name and not the sheen level of the paint. She quickly apologised, had a bit of a giggle herself and apologised again.

Thanks to Matt of Resene

Slleping assistant gets wokenWide awake

It pays to stay awake on the job as this story from one of our Wellington customers shows…
A few years ago I was painting a house in the Makara Valley and I was also at Vic Uni trying to learn other stuff. A penniless student approached me about a job, so I checked him out and on his first day told him what I wanted him to do, gave him the linbide scraper, bit of sandpaper, told him where the boghouse was and left him to it. Now it was about 8am when we started and about 9.30am the owner came out with a big smile and asked me to follow him. He showed me a very tired student lying on the scaffolding planks out to it and said as soon as I had disappeared this guy had laid down and gone to sleep.

The planks were directly over some big thick plants and I was all for giving the planks a shove when the householder took me onto the roof where he had a bucket of water he had prepared earlier. The student didn't really have a chance. He was a wet lad. Up on the roof we had a good laugh. As for the student he went and hung out his stuff and later in the day said he had had enough and would I take him home and he also wanted to be paid. That was the second laugh of the day – I gave him $20 and told him to go away quickly before I changed my mind. It was $20 well spent to see the back of him.

Quick clean

Use a soft brush end on a telescopic roller pole for cleaning houses. Good for smaller gaps too.

Thanks to Leigh Utton

Clean up time

When clean up time rolls around… instead of washing out my water based brushes and rollers at a client's house I wrap the used tool in a recycled shopping bag and place in a clean lidded 10L bucket. This stops the gear from drying out and makes it safe for transport home at the end of the working day.

At home I remove the gear and place it in my washtub. When doing the daily load of laundry I am then able to give the brushes and roller sleeves a really good clean in the grey water coming from the washing machine. It works a treat and the detergent helps maintain the softness of the brush bristles and the nap of the roller sleeve. A final rinse in clean water and you have pristine gear once again. I try to use collected rainwater for the final rinse.

And then for the dropcloths… when it's raining I spread out the soiled cloths on clean concrete and give them a squirt of biodegradable dishwashing liquid. Then with a hard bristle broom I give them a sound scrub. For a rinse they're put on a washing line to wash off the scum and residue detergent in the rain and then they eventually dry when the sun comes out.

Thanks to Ken Sands

Carpet painter

Our client was pretty fussy and liked everything just so - she went to Oz for a holiday and Jimmy and I had to paint her bedroom. Right in the middle of painting the ceiling with Alkyd Flat enamel the plank broke and we all fell in a heap on the shagpile - the paint went everywhere.

"What the bleeding heck shall we do?" (or words to that effect).

Well this is what we did. Firstly we mopped up and scraped (with a spade) and scrubbed almost everything and were left with a great big whitish stain in the middle of the green carpet. Jimmy's brain had a flash of genius and we mixed about 10L of turps with a can of Alkyd Flat and painted the whole carpet – man alive the smell was incredible.

Well nothing happened on madam's return, the cheque arrived in the mail and around six months later I met the woman in the street - she said "You know Peter, I always knew you people did the best jobs - the paint you used in the bedroom was so good I can still smell it".

Thanks to Peter Edmonds

Be careful where you place your ladderBeware where you put your ladder

Myself and Stephen were the two apprentices. Stephen was the senior. We were instructed to paint a storage room of a local school. The height was around 4metres high. There was an open manhole on the floor. We positioned our ladder in front of the manhole and Stephen went up with the paint pot. I toed the ladder and Stephen asked me to get some putty for the scotia nail holes. I went out of the room to get the putty, when I returned there was no sign of Stephen. I looked down and saw Stephen had stepped off the ladder and into the manhole. He had one leg in the hole and one leg out. We laughed like crazy as Stephen was ok.

Thanks to Jamie

Quick store

Here's a handy way to store working brushes/pots on the job. I just plop the brush/pot into an old empty 10L pail and put the lid on. With acrylics you can take it out and carry on painting the next day – won't dry out or skin as long as the 10L lid is on properly. It pays to label what's in what bucket as you end up with quite a few of them. Doesn't work with alkyds though.

Thanks to Martin of Martin Orme Painting

Double take

Over the years I have had an intermittent but ongoing contract painting a local church and its out-buildings. My usual attire is paint splattered Resene overalls, shirt and cap. This is how the local parishioners usually see me dressed on the occasions that I am invited to share their yummy morning teas they prepare (all home baked of course) for the daily organised church activities. Over the years my referral network has blossomed thanks to these lovely people.

On one occasion I was painting a new hospitality room. This room was to be named for a parishioner who had passed on and an event was to be held to name and dedicate it. One of the ladies suggested that my wife and I might like to attend the official opening.

The day duly arrived and at the entrance was an official 'meet and greet party'. There were a lot of people who my wife had not met before so I was busy doing the introductions when the lady, who had invited me, came over to be introduced to my wife. After I had introduced them to each other, the woman made the comment to my wife "I did not recognise your husband with his clothes on".

Did that get the tongues wagging???... and YES my wife is now talking to me again. Perhaps that shows that people will recognise tradesmen in Resene uniform before civvy street fashion any day!

Thanks to Errol, Home Improvement Contractor

Ladder on wheels

Going back some years, Arie Preesman of Whangarei tells us this story of his time in a small village in the Netherlands in the late 60s...
Life was pretty laid back, you didn't lock your doors and the sole village policeman rode his bike keeping an eye on everything.

Those were my apprentice years. The painting firm I was working for didn't have a car. Everything got done on pushbikes. We were doing a job at a farmhouse and a big farm barn outside the village where we needed our very long and heavy 20 foot extension ladder.

My boss got a bright idea of how to get the ladder to the job. He said 'we put our arms through the rungs on the ladder. I hold the front and you hold the back'.

So off we went on our bikes down the street. My shoulder was already sore and we still had about 5 kms to go. Here we come sailing around a corner and there was the village cop, watching the traffic. We needed both our hands on the handlebars to keep ourselves upright and straight. The cop saw us coming and yelled out to my boss 'eh, can't you indicate?'

My boss yelled back 'yeah yeah I'll do that when I come back' and carried on, the village cop shaking his head after him.

Imagine that same scene today and the chaos that you could create.

Mistaken identityMistaken identity

This incident happened to me when I worked in the UK. I was going to quote for a job - as usual I was smartly dressed and had my folder under my arm. I went to the address, a baker's shop, and asked for the client. The assistant called through to someone in the backroom who shouted back 'oh he's upstairs'. I was duly ushered through the shop and up the stairs I went into a room where an old man lay waiting for the District Nurse to give him a bed bath! What an embarrassment for me. I don't think he noticed. I am a lady painter/decorator who was mistaken for the District Nurse. P.S. I never did send them a quote!

Thanks to Sara

Quick door painting

I paint the majority of doors hanging on the hinges. I use a piece of flooring vinyl 500cm x 1100mm long. It slides under the door easy, over carpet or hard flooring. The vinyl does not move, stay flats and you can roll or brush the bottoms of the doors easily, then once done either leave the vinyl flat in the van or roll it up ready for the next project.

Thanks to Wayne MacDonald

Handy time saver

When painting window sashes, rather than taping around the timber frame try this instead… with a low tack tape, mask up the top and one side edge of a metal plastering trowel (or wide knife). Using the handle of the trowel, hold the taped edges tight against the timber sash and paint away, moving it along the frame as you go. Occasionally wipe any excess off the tape on the trowel and once you've finished, remove the tape completely and your trowel is as good as new! This tip was passed onto me by a painter from Europe and is a real time saver, plus you no longer have to worry about any peeling when you remove masking tape from glass as the paint isn't drying against the tape. A perfect, straight line every time.

Thanks to Hayden Cronick

Baggy paper

I was asked to quote on an interior job. When I arrived I found it had scrim on the walls so I called the client to advise him to re-GIB®. He was hoping I could hang new paper over the baggy paper and scrim. I told him that it could be possible to hang the new paper with a staple gun but not by me. I got the job after the new GIB® went up.

Tip: what looks like the cheap option is often false economy.

Thanks to R Williams of Prime Decorating

watch out for young children whrn paintingBirdseye view

Take a roof that needed coating in 600L of Resene Silvalusta, then throw in one nesting bird to make the project extra challenging.

When the contractors (Laloli) on this job went to paint the roof they found a bird nest in the corner. Keen to get the job done without upsetting the wildlife, one of the contractors held a waterblaster (not turned on!) pointed at the bird, while the nest was placed in a Resene box so the roof underneath could be cleaned. They cleaned the roof, then put the nest back… then had to repeat the process when it came to painting – no mean feat when you consider the size of the bird.

The roof is now clean and painted and the bird is back on its nest, albeit in an environmentally friendly Resene cardboard box!

Little Master Painter vs Big Master Painter

Like a typical day, I get out of bed, have breaky, hop in the car and off to work I go, but this day was like no other I have ever experienced before. This job involved a two year old boy and a lot of extra work...

I was casually going about my business plastering patches and preparing the ceilings for painting... out comes this little curious man and he starts hanging around watching my every move. His mum then informs me that he won't be a problem and that they would spend the time in his room playing with his toys so they wouldn't get in my way.

I was ready to start painting and decided to put all my gear and paint in the garage away from little hands… well was I wrong...!!

I finished sealing the patches and while I was preparing for the topcoats I put my brush down in my paint bucket out in the garage as I didn't want the brush to dry out. Unbeknown to me within half an hour disaster would strike. Carrying on with my job in the kitchen I noticed the mother was in the lounge. Mmm I thought to myself... but no worries the young fella was in his room playing.

A minute later I heard a funny noise and little footsteps coming into the entry foyer. Feeling sick from shock there was this little man in his 'little blue overalls' just like mine standing there looking at me covered head to toe in paint and holding the wooden end of the paint brush in his mouth!! Oh no!!! I looked at the mother to see what her reaction was going to be as I thought 'O boy I'm in trouble now"… she just burst into laughter. Phew… I thought!

She grabbed him and threw him in the laundry sink and I thought I better go and check out the disaster. I retraced the little paint foot steps from the entry tiles back to the hall carpet, all along the hallway to the laundry wooden flooring and into the garage where my paint was. I was right about the disaster. The little painter had climbed into the paint bucket to get the brush and must have tipped it over. Paint had gone everywhere so he must have decided to proceed and paint the guard and wheels of his Mum and Dad's parked Camry… and then came to show us his proud handiwork.

Thank goodness it was water based sealer and his Mum was a good sport.

I quickly ran and got some wet cheesecloths and cleaned it off everything.

Lucky for me and my client it came off reasonably well. The lesson I learnt that day was… never leave your paint and never turn your back on a two year old!!

Thanks to Mark Adamson of Lasting Impressions Decorators

Straining lumpy paint with stockingsStocking strain

Both myself and my worker had to paint an office after hours in Newmarket. After doing all the prep work and sealer coating it was time to put on the final coats. We opened up the paint they had kindly left us to use, and it was full of lumps. No prob it's only 9pm. We raced to the van, and yup typical no straining cloth. Now this job had to be finished tonight due to a series of problems from builders and other tradesmen. No problem I said to my worker I will go to the garage and get some cloth. Well, what a waste of time – they only sell pies and the odd few groceries.

So off I go walking up the street in search of a store. Then I saw the sign 'The Den' (for those not in the know it's an Adult shop). The light went on in my head. Up the stairs I raced. There were a few people up there who took a sideways glance at me. I headed for the assistant and said "Ok you're going to think this is odd but do you have any stockings?"

She looked at me and said "of course, what size and colour would you like? We have a huge range."

"No I need them to strain some paint with lumps in it."

She looked at me and laughed. "Oh yes she said, we do get some odd requests but that's a new one." Anyway we started looking to find something suitable. The fishnets were no good as the holes were too big. "How about this nice pair" she said "at $48.00."

"Yeah right, how about your cheap and nasty pair? It's ok if parts are missing I don't need much material." Looked like my luck was turning. We found a pair for $20. Sweet that's great.

By this stage people were looking. Being the typical saleswoman, she said in a loud voice "Now would you like something to stir the paint with sir. I'm sure you will be able to find something here over in this glass cabinet" as a big grin appeared on her face.

Yeah right… Well I raced back to the job, had a good laugh with my painter and what do you know they worked perfectly. Job all finished, packed the gear away and left. "Hey" I said to my workmate "what did you do with the packet the stockings were in?" He replied he'd left it on top off the builder's rubbish. "Oh no, we have to go back and get it." Can you imagine what the office staff, let alone what the builders, would have thought we were getting up to when they saw a sexy stocking packet with a naked woman on it and they knew there were only a couple of painters (males) working alone? The mind boggles.


A different day, a different painter's nightmare - a paint spill and this one was a cracker. We arrived on the job and had to repaint the exterior windows with black enamel paint. We'd done all the prep work and we were ready for topcoating on a beautiful day. One of us placed a 1 litre can of enamel on the windowsill so we could open the windows when suddenly a gust of wind slammed the window shut and knocked the paint right into the middle of the lounge floor onto the lovely (well I'm sure the homeowner thought so!) pink carpet. Panic stations set in... we got inside to find not only did the carpet cop it but the three piece suite, the stereo and the wallpaper. Thank goodness for insurance!!


And last but not least... how's this for bizarre? Last job of the day we puttied up the skirting boards. The next day when we arrived there was no putty in the skirting, instead there were a trial of mice droppings around the house, starting off as brown ones and ending up as pure putty. The little bugger had scratched them all out and eaten them.

Thanks to Adrian of Christchurch

 When something goes wrong, don’t try and cover it up, even if you canHe's a winner

Many years back in the UK, when I first parted company with my employer to go self employed, something happened soon after I began working for myself which certainly wasn't funny at the time; though I can look back and laugh now. What happened really highlights the need to keep a clear head when something goes wrong, openly admit to your mistake and above all else have adequate (insurance) cover.

On this particular job I was using a paint that required cellulose thinners (a very strong solvent) for thinning/cleanup. As I was carrying a 10 litre pail of the paint up the customer's immaculate tarmac drive, I tripped, fell and 'decorated' the surface with most of the contents of the tub. In my panic, I rushed and grabbed a large tin of thinners from my van, and doused the affected area in the vain hope of dispersing the paint. It only took a second or two to realise my mistake, but now the damage was done. By the time I'd found a garden hose to try and wash it off, the tarmac had started to dissolve in front of my eyes! Further attempts with detergent and water proved a waste of time and effort, and I finally gave up, resigning myself to my fate.

Needless to say, when the customers arrived home they weren't overly impressed with my attempt at modern art, and I could only apologise and try and reassure them that my insurance would cover the damage done. Well, I finished the job, got the drive sorted, and parted company with the customer expecting to never hear from them again. Long story short, not only did I hear from them again, but they became one of my most loyal customers. It turned out that they were impressed with the way I dealt with the situation and were happy not only to put more work my way, but recommend me to others.

Thanks to Mark Loveday of Mark Loveday Decorating

Fix it

When something goes wrong, don't try and cover it up, even if you can - chances are the customer will spot it sooner or later. Admit to your mistake, sort the problem out - even if it's at some cost to yourself, and likely you'll have a customer for life.

Thanks to Mark Loveday of Mark Loveday Decorating


We had just finished sealing the walls of a new house when the owner arrived to discuss the colour scheme with me. We were talking for 30 minutes and my foreman of 20 years experience was getting itchy to carry on and butted in to ask what the colours were. Spanish White for the lounge I said. He asked about the rest and the client said ditto for the rest. He came back with 4L Spanish White and said those idiots at Resene can't find the colour 'Ditto' anywhere!

Thanks to Kevin Stone of Christchurch

Matching up

A few years ago I was working on a building site in my landscaper capacity when the client turned up and was talking very angrily with the main contractor.

The freshly painted colour on his new house was wrong. He insisted the colour he had chosen was definitely not what was on the walls and he wanted it redone. The builder reluctantly agreed to get the painter back to put things right. It would be done while the client was on holiday overseas for the next fortnight.

I was on site again two and a half weeks later when the client arrived back from his holiday. He was very happy, said that the colour was perfect and thanked the builder for sorting it out. As he happily walked away the builder told me the colour had not been changed because the painters hadn't been back as he had forgotten to contact them.

Thanks to Greg of In Harmony

A painters funny storyWhen the cow comes home

This summer I had a new house booked in to paint. When it became ready I was flat out and could not get to it soon enough.

I rang our local ColorShop for the name of a top tradesperson. Bob made a first class job. When the house was finished, carpeted and ready to move in the owner was shifting the cows when one ran across the new lawn through the lounge into the hallway and turned around putting its rear end through the wall also smashing some wooden panelling, then it dropped a couple of deposits on the floor and ran back outside. Surprisingly No. 387 hasn't ended up on the barbecue and still roams on the farm.

Thanks to Kevin Dovey

Milk mistake

He was a nice young fellow, decent, trusting, a little naïve. We were working in a prominent North Island hospital many moons ago. I've always enjoyed working for hospitals. You don't take your health for granted in that environment.

This time we were painting the maternity ward. The colour scheme was a screamingly original blue and pink. Smoko time and our young decent man is tasked with making us morning tea.

Presently whilst enjoying the break the sound of raised voices is heard. The altercation continues. It seems someone is accusing someone else of theft. The charge nurse bursts into the room and demands to know if one of us has been in the kitchen fridge. All eyes turn to the decent naïve young man. I shall never forget the words she spoke next "Do you realise the milk you took wasn't Anchor milk, it wasn't Meadowlea milk, it wasn't Pam's milk, it was Belinda's breast milk." Silence.

Cheeks blushed in unison and sincere apologies all around uttered forth. She smiled and suggested the young fellow might like to wear a dummy for the rest of the day. No one finished their tea that morning. (Belinda's name changed to protect her!)

Thanks to Ben Prattley

Close to home

I had decided that I was over Auckland traffic and preferred to work locally so I canvassed the area and scored some work next door to my home, literally over the fence for a seemingly prim and proper middle aged lady. A few days into my job my wife was at home as it was her day off and I found myself in a difficult predicament.

I didn't know what to do so I needed some unusual advice. I knocked at my front door. My wife opened it to find me standing there looking very nervous and holding what appeared to be a vibrator. Her reaction was to tell me indignantly "I don't think so" but intrigued she asked me what had happened.

I explained: Spike, my fox terrier who goes to work with me, often spends time fossicking around various jobs hunting for rats, sticks, balls and what not. This particular day he had returned to me wanting to show his latest find and engage me in a game of fetch. Of course I went to oblige but was mortified to find the item was actually not a toy or a stick. Having no idea where it came from and not wanting to be faced with asking the customer if it was hers, I, naturally returned home to ask my wife's advice.

After some discussion it became apparent that Spike the dog had been inside the lady's home, found a 'stick', taken it outside and began playing in the back garden with it. Then deciding it was fetch time he wanted it thrown for him.

She advised me to just take it back and leave it somewhere. But where could I put it? I couldn't leave it anywhere in the house because it would be in a different spot to where she had left it and I'd be suspected of foul play. Quite possibly an embarrassing situation all round. And of course not wanting the dog to find it to play with it again. What a dilemma!

Unconvinced and not wanting to be caught in the act of returning it I reluctantly went back to work. My wife never did get out of me what I actually did with it until a number of months later. In a state of near panic I simply buried it in our own backyard. It has since been dug up and thrown in the rubbish!

Moral of the story: Don't let your dog run about in someone else's house unattended – there may be strange toys about!

A painters funny storyBullseye!

He was up on a steep roof painting and had taken an extra 10L can of paint and balanced it near the top. It started to slide down the roof so he slid down and grabbed it but realised he was going to fall off the roof so he threw the bucket off and managed to stop. The bucket flew over, hit a tree branch and was catapulted back to the house at great speed. It went straight through the French doors and burst its contents all over very expensive lounge furniture. It was oil based and took him a week with cleaners to clean.

Thanks to Mike Bagley

Chilled out

I was helping a mate spray enamel on walls inside a big commercial building. My mate thought it would be good idea to put a gas heater inside the room to speed up the drying time. Things were going great but the heater was up against the wall that he was about to spray. Not thinking (doh!) he carried on spraying right over the top of the heater and almost blew us and the whole building to high heaven. So the moral of the story is to never use a gas heater to speed up dry times. Paint (especially enamel) is best left alone.

Thanks to Tim

Attention to detail

And on the note of apprentices, one of our ColorShops reported on a rather diligent new staff member of our own…
A few months ago we had a new guy start who had his own way of doing things. We had a regular tradesman come in who wanted fifty sheets of sandpaper (now most of us would scan one piece then go to quantity and type 50 in). Well he proceeded to scan every single sheet of sandpaper. Meanwhile the tradesman was having a quick coffee he then came back to sign his one packing slip but instead it turned out to be six pages long!

Paint cascadetake care at work

Many years ago we had an apprentice working for our company. We were working at a very exclusive address in Remuera. Picture this a newly installed state of the art kitchen with everything that opens and shuts. All the bells and whistles. One tradesman up the ladder cutting in. Apprentice armed with roller pole and tray. Neck is bent backwards rolling the ceiling. Apprentice moves tray into position that was not ideal. Tradesman steps off ladder not into but onto side of paint tray. The tray full of paint goes catapulting through the air. Oh no panic! As if frozen in time we watch the paint cascade down the front of the new kitchen drawers. After lifting the covering sheets we discover a huge clean up job. All down the front of the drawers, handles etc. A long time later the cleanup job complete we breathe a sigh of relief. Yay we are out of the woods… BUT NO! Tradesman opens up drawer to reveal beautifully velvet lined cutlery drawer full of paint. PANIC! Tip – never take your eye off the job in, on and around you! From Doug

take care at workWindow beware

Many, many years ago when I was a painter's apprentice, our then, at the time rather shortish, boss would quietly park his little runaround vehicle and stealthily but rather quickly, pop up on the job… just to see how things were progressing.

One splendid day however he got a little more than he bargained for. Upon silently parking and slipping around to the rear of the house, he quickly zipped up the back steps. The only problem was the awning style kitchen windows, that were a little lower than usual, were wide open as I was preparing to apply some paint to them. From inside I saw the top of a head out of the corner of my eye, and there was an almighty BANG! Just as quick as he appeared he then disappeared, in a scowling use of very colourful language, which we'd never heard from him… so it must have hurt a fair bit!

To this day I'm still not too sure whether he went flat on his back or not, as I was too nervous to put my head out through the window to have a look. I did however very gingerly pull them a little bit more shut… just to be sure that nobody should walk into them by accident.

Thanks to Jeff of Ideal Decorators

Brush work

Problems in drying weather with paint build up on the top of your paint bristles? Wind 50mm of carton tape around the brush so it comes down approx 20-25mm over the top of bristles. This helps retain moisture at the top of the brush, makes cleaning the brush easy and helps to keep rough bristles in place. It only takes a few seconds to put on and remove and works well. Try it!

Thanks to Rob McDonald of Palmerston North


The following little tip would save time, money and effort. Our resthome has recently been fully redecorated and during this process the fire alarm has been set off by our own staff and several contractors. To get a nice wallpaper finish they tried to unscrew the manual alarm(s) point (break glass and push button type), which activated it. It would not be hard to imagine for anyone that evacuating the resthome, even in stages, entails plenty of work. Great hilarity... the first time! We figured out how this had happened, but after the second and third time the joke wore thin. Getting invoiced for a false alarm involving three fire engines also wiped the smiles off management's face. Thank goodness renovations are completed. One plus - staff are now very competent at evacuating the building!!

Thanks to Tamahere Eventide Home

Interesting bits

I was explaining to my client, a couple, their architect and building supervisor that their normal painters could do all the prep work up to the base colour. Then I would come along and do the paint effects that they wanted. This would save them money and me a boring few hours on the end of a roller and sander.

When the woman said "oh just like my gynaecologist" I probably looked a bit confused and the other males in the room looked downright embarrassed. Until she explained "like my GP says, I do all the boring stuff then send you off to the gynaecologist for the interesting bits!"

Thanks to Andrew Tindall of Opulent Effects

Clever cleaner

I have used this and variations of this filter cleaner in a bottle for about eight years and it is very effective. The hand piece gets clogged with paint flakes, sand and loose fragments. Cleaning out your filter is very messy. This way is quicker and cleaner.

Materials: 2 x 600ml container – one for the container and one for the scrubbing pieces. The plastic scrubbing pieces should be roughly cut irregular shapes with many points. Bend and fold the points opposite ways until each piece is about 40mm in size. The bends and folds will help keep them in the bottle.

Step 1: Take a 600ml bottle and place six plastic scrubbing pieces (cut from another bottle) into the bottle.
Step 2: Take the dirty filter and place with a little water or turps into the bottle.
Step 3: Close the lid and shake. The plastic scrubbing pieces move up and down cleaning and scraping the mesh while the water flushes away flaked paint and loose fragments.
Step 4: Carefully pour out the dirty water and the clean filter will slide out leaving the scrubbing pieces inside.

Thanks to Riki Nelson

Smurf look-a-likeSmurf look-a-like

How to look like a smurf... Matt up on the first level of scaffolding is passing Jarrod on the ground a full tray of Resene Woodsman stain tinted to Resene Pickled Bluewood. As everyone knows you'd better have a steady hand and keep level when lowering - Jarrod did not and the stain started dribbling over the edge of the tray and once started it wasn't stopping. Pouring onto his head the stain made its way down his face, ears, neck and the rest of his body (I'm sure you can imagine), before finally flowing onto the concrete tiles, which were to be kept clean.

Fortunately being the waterborne version and having a hose handy all was cleaned up fairly quickly except for the blue painter - need I say he needed new overalls. If only I had a camera...

Thanks to Reuben Brand of Astra Painting Contractors

Half what

A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of ladies come into the shop carrying an old can of Resene Lustacryl. They handed it to me and asked what the colour was. The can was covered in paint but I could see that the colour name written on the can was Resene Half Pearl Lusta. The lady paused slightly and then said "Yes I can see that but what is the other half?" It took me a few seconds before I realised what she meant and then went on to explain that Resene Half Pearl Lusta is what ALL the paint in the tin is tinted and that the reason it's called that was because it is the half formulation of the colour called Resene Pearl Lusta!

Thanks to Tim Rhodes

Smurf look-a-likeMiracle maker

My story relates to an incident that took place during 1960 whilst we were repainting the exterior of a 40 year old farmhouse at Glen Oroua. On the property was a collection of old farm buildings that held a wide range of old machinery and many varied, from the past, used farm items.

One day when the farmer went to town for a stock sale curiosity got the better of us and we went 'exploring' in one of the old sheds. This one had been used as a general store shed and on a bench in one corner was a collection of partly filled paint tins. One that caught our eye was a 1/2 gallon tin in a very rusty state, which was bulging at the seams and top under great pressure.

Being young and naive, I commenced to prize the lid off with my putty knife when lo and behold, the lid disappeared towards the heavens at a great rate of knots and the seam split spraying us with an unsightly white gooey emulsion substance that stuck like peanut butter on carpet. But the worst was yet to come. The stench was something out of this world. It was worse than a Turkish camel driver's armpit or even the inside of a septic tank cleaner's gumboots - it was putrid.

We staggered outside only to be greeted by the sight of cows in the adjacent paddock showing their disgust by walking away with their heads bowed and waving their tails in the air and watched in awe as one of the free range chooks laid the same egg three times. We had to discard our overalls they were in such a mess.

When the farmer returned we told him what had happened and he just laughed and said a lot of the stuff in the shed belonged to his grandfather who had been attached to a stores unit during the First World War and there will be all sorts of things there.

Six months later we returned to the farm to redecorate the interior of the house and the farmer told us that since that day, his cows had not contracted mastitis, his apple trees were clear of codlin moth and his wife was pregnant and due to give birth at Christmas!!!

Thanks to Dave Corley of Palmerston North

Common sense says that you should always make sure you put your paint tray in sightPaint puddles

Common sense says that you should always make sure you put your paint tray in sight… it pays not to leave a paint tray behind you because Murphy's Law says you're almost guaranteed to forget it and end up stepping in it, as Allan Sheppard and Quintin Hercock respectively report…

I once walked in a room of a house I was painting to find one of my workers had stepped into a bucket of paint so hard he was shaking his leg to get it off because he knew that stepping into paint means it's his shout.

Never trust apprentices with holding your paint bucket. My apprentice and I were painting a roof in Upper Hutt when I asked him to climb down and grab a new roller. When he took too long I went down the ladder to see what was keeping him – when I stepped down off the ladder I found his paint pail around my foot. As you can imagine I caused quite a mess!

Pot shot!

As a painting contractor in my own business I was contracted to paint a roof on the main clubhouse at the Remuera Bowling Club. This building overlooked the Main No.1 Green where the finals of a High Tournament were in progress and any interruption of such contests was deeply frowned upon.

There I was sitting up on the roof hip and had just finished spraying the whole roof face overlooking the top Tournaments in progress. The colour at the time was a strong Burnt Orange - similar to Hi-Glo Twizel. Just then I started a major bout of sneezing and out shot my upper denture plate, which started skidding down the roof collecting not yet dried bright orange paint as it went. Down the roof they careered towards a group of very professional looking men standing around measuring the distance of a finished game from their kitty.

My fervent prayer was of course that it would hit and lodge in the spouting and that would be that. But no such luck - such was the force of the sneeze and the pitch of the steep roof that those blasted pinky whites (now covered in bright orange) jumped the spouting, hit the flexible canopy extending from it and launched right out onto the green among the circle of men in very serious contemplation. And further to my horror as I sat frozen to the spot I could see those dreaded choppers of mine °bouncing in among the bowls and coming to a stop (to my utter amazement) close to that dear little white ball in the middle.

Well - time seemed to stop still as this ring of white clad Doctors, Lawyers and Managing Directors stood frozen to the spot. No one - it seemed - capable of making a move for a very long time. Finally after an eternity one of them bent down and picked up my offending choppers and called out to me in loud Queen's English (Stanley-Livingstone style) the overstated obvious "These are yours I presume?" he said.

And all I could toothlessly mumble back was "Yes they are - did I win?"!!

Thanks to Marshall Paddison of Alpha Painters

A painter's funny storyLegless

This story happened during my apprentice years. I had spilt some paint on a path and needed a rag to clean it up with so I asked my boss for a rag. He told me to cut off a piece from his old overalls as he had just bought a new pair. I then found a pair of overalls lying over a table so got out a craft knife and cut off one of the leg pieces and went and cleaned up the spilt paint. All was fine until the next morning when my boss tried on his new overalls only to find the left leg was cut off - oh bugger!

Thanks to Tony Coker of Coker Decorating

Cease sissing

When applying paint over silicon causing sissing, wipe the silicon areas with vinegar to allow the paint to adhere - this will stop sissing.

Thanks to Andrew Boulton of Timaru

Quick fix

We recently completed a refurb and it was decided to paint over 20 year old wallpaper. We chose to use Resene Thixalon and it has been a godsend. Resene Thixalon covered all rips and blemishes of which there were a lot and has worn well since. If we need to repair a wall, Resene Thixalon is easy to match and as long as the paint is feathered you cannot tell the difference.

Thanks to Geoff Milne of the Copthorne Hotel

Painting blues

If you ever feel that you should have just stayed in bed in the morning, this story from Joe Szentpeteri of Nelson just might give you hope that bad things can turn out ok… if you're lucky! Plus make extra sure when delegating that the instructions are fail safe!

7.30am and the daily grind begins, as it does for many in the industrial coatings industry. From my second storey office window the view across the Nelson industrial area presents a vista of roofs sprawling over many acres. The contrast between the iron roofs capped by distant snow covered mountains never became monotonous. One roof in particular had always showed itself as the proverbial tall poppy with its orange hue of rust to which my eye was always drawn. How dare it interfere with my view!

As my foreman enters my office I point out the tall poppy that needs painting. The answer was simple in the end – 'get it sorted'. After several visits to the owner of said roof who cries 'I don't have any money to paint my roof', as familiar as this sounds, I'm sure, a deal is struck to my surprise. Before heading away on a business trip that would take me out of the country for a fortnight I explain the scope of the work and the intricacies of 'the deal' with my foreman who replies 'leave it with me boss, by the time you get back it will all be done'.

Arriving back late in the evening I decide to go straight home and deal with whatever the office has lined up for me the next day. During the staff meeting first thing in the morning I am delighted to find all is in order and everyone is happy. As I walk upstairs to my office I am told by my foreman that the roof painting of my tall poppy was a great success. This statement said with chin held high of a job well done. Now I can't wait to see my tall poppy in all its glory. You can imagine my confusion as tall poppy stands up proud and defiant with its rusty orange hue. Looking at my foreman as he proclaims 'so what do you think?' – what do I think?, I am speechless! Summoning patience from deep within and fighting down the knee jerk reaction… blind rage… I ask my foreman to point out this painted roof that looks so good.

As the fantastic blue roof jumps into view I am floored, not only by its size but the fact that it is the building next to tall poppy! Mild sweat and rising bile taking hold, I slowly take a seat.

After contacting the owner of this abandoned building who is just delighted with the job, I am informed that he has just purchased the building and wanted it painted anyway. I walk away with a contract to paint the rest of the building and a friend I continue to do business with to this very day. Tall poppy was eventually painted by another contractor. I can only presume we lost the job because we never showed up. The blue roof still looks good some five years on and the colour matched New Denim Blue supplied by Resene continues to perform.

Thanks to Joe Szentpeteri

falling through the ceilingOuch!

With over 20 years as an interior decorator I have many great stories to tell, many involving children and animals but rarely the husband of the house.

My clients, let's call them Peg and Joe, were renovating a grand villa in a leafy Auckland suburb - including the addition of a storage/loft area above the house.

Hubby comes home very keen to see the progress of said loft. Now Joe is a jolly little man with a stature that can only be described as abundant, so negotiating the rickety builder's ladder was a feat in itself. A visual symphony in fact. Very shortly after there was a loud crack, eerie silence and plaintive wail "P-e-e-g, P-e-e-g". To say Peg is an excitable person is an understatement at the best of times but she excelled herself on this occasion with an Oscar winning scream - flushing out the entire trades force at lightning speed.

Well, what was on view will forever be etched in my mind. There above our heads was a pair of chubby legs dangling furiously through the ceiling. Poor Peg was in the sweet tea category, so the rescue mission was carried out by three builders. Two to climb up and extract Joe from the ceiling and the third to steady the rickety ladder (which survived).

It didn't quite end there though - on his return from a medical visit in walked Joe wearing a neckbrace. The ceiling mishap resulted in quite a few bruises but the neckbrace was for the whiplash on the way to the doctors when the builder had to apply his brakes very quickly for a red light!

All part and parcel in the day of the life of an interior decorator.

Thanks to Sandy Clark, Interior Decorator

A long weekend spraying

If you've ever worked through a long weekend only to have things turn to custard, then you might just appreciate that it does happen to others, as evidenced by Roy Steed's true story…

When two guys decided to give being in business a crack, we never guessed what one of our first contracts was going to be or what was involved. Over ten years ago now we set up our new business and our biggest obstacle was to leave on good terms with a boss who in previous years had re-employed Grant after an O.E. and helped me complete my apprenticeship. Leaving on good terms meant he offered to subcontract us our first major contract at a Pak N Save. The job was major but as we had already painted New Worlds for him in the past he knew we were capable.

The realisation of how big this job was going to be set in straight from the chemical cleaning. We spent two weeks on the roof of the building waterblasting it clean, but that wasn't going to be the only major cleaning we were going to have to do. With the vast mass of customers and trucks unloading all the food supplies, we knew the only way to get the loading bay docks and the front of the store painted would be when the store was closed. This was only going to happen when by law the store had to be shut Public Holidays, so we eyed the opportunity of a long weekend, Easter, to come in and spray the loading bay and front entrance, as any other time of the day there was always queues of trucks waiting to unload and an endless stream of customers.

Getting there early Good Friday we decided to make the most of the roller doors being down and closed in the unloading bay so we set up and loaded our airless spray unit with the door colour. There were three doors on the unloading ramp and one around the corner. As most painters would, we set up where we wouldn't have to move the airless unit again, opting to spray the smaller door first around the corner. The spraying of the first door was almost complete when just out of the blue the pressure completely died. First reaction was "Oh no power cut, just our luck!" but as soon as we walked back around the corner, a power cut would have been a lot luckier.

The gun had blocked, and under the pressure the airless hose line had split and the whole time we were bagging off power companies our airless had been pumping paint all over the concrete unloading dock. It was a scene from Mr Bean's blow up the paint can episode - the line had whipped around enough to get paint in just about every direction - needless to say though none managed to reach the target of the doors. We had to clean out our airless, which we thought as soon as clean water was in the line we could use to clean the paint off all the concrete. But unfortunately we couldn't get enough pressure in our airless unit to cool our frustration, let alone clean any paint off concrete. We packed up, went back to our depot and loaded up our waterblasters and spent the rest of Good Friday cleaning the concrete. Needless to say when we did spray the other coats on the Easter Monday we wrapped that loading dock up like a crime scene! And the front had to wait until the next long weekend to complete our long weekend spraying plans.

Extending the wallpaperGet in behind

Years ago my Dad was wallpapering the lounge in their flat and a large cabinet stood against the east wall. Mum suggested they move it out to wallpaper behind it. Dad's reply was that the cabinet was attached to the wall and it was far too big to move anyway. Mother agreed. When mother died and as Dad had passed away earlier it fell on me to redecorate. I called in a painter and we discussed redecorating behind the cabinet. An argument began, I said it couldn't be moved as it 'was attached to the wall' - he said it could be moved. A compromise was reached, the cabinet moved out and lo and behold the wallpaper stopped directly around the cabinet - noone else had ever papered there either. Amongst a lot of laughter the walls were papered, the cabinet returned to its original spot and in due course I married the painter!

Thanks to Dècor Decorating Contractors of Paraparaumu

Double trouble

Two of us were painting a garage roof. My mate painted himself into a corner. He thought he'd take a couple of steps to get out. Wham, he fell off the roof. He was OK but covered in paint. I thought silly bugger.

I decided to finish the square he'd left by standing on the lead head nails. Double whammy - I came off too. We were both cleaning ourselves off when a neighbour came over to see if we were OK. A retired couple had been watching us as they washed their lunch dishes. The lady couldn't believe it - she said to her husband at the time 'Look George the painter has fallen off the roof. Look George there goes the other one.' True story!

Thanks to Dennis Brown Painters of Christchurch

Another long day on the roof funny storyAnother long day on the roof…

A hot blood spraypainter on the final day of a school project. Down to the last 30 litres of a 400L roof, all that could possibly go wrong does. On the last section of roof to go (using the flue line as his harness) he gives the line a good tug… line is twirled around the paint drum and over she goes. This story is over 10 years old and I've never forgotten the creative language used to this day.

Thanks to Paul Perez

Top painting tip: Don't take up painting as a career!!

Thanks to Adrian of Christchurch

Spray wins

Did you know that the only way to eliminate brush and rollermarks when applying size to new hardboard is to spray it on?

Thanks to Dave Corley of Palmerston North

My tray slipped - sailed past meTray slide

While painting a roof recently my tray slipped - sailed past me - couldn't do a thing about it. It hit the next door neighbour's concrete driveway with a resounding crash. The next door neighbour promptly appeared and went off her block! She stood and watched me clean every last drop up. Now her concrete driveway is cleaner than it has been in years! It was only later on how funny it was - paint everywhere, her yelling and screaming...

Thanks to Ron's Renovations of Timaru

Textured effect

They always say you shouldn't work with animals or children, and Byron Roil from Cottages NZ reminds us of just one of the reasons why…

Having done a lot a DIY the hard way over the years I was thrilled when the (very generous!) boss at Cottages New Zealand let me borrow the new sprayer for a home job on the weekend. After numerous lessons from the chief painter on how to use his very prized tool, I took it home for the weekend to paint the house.

Having huge plans, and being such an efficient way to paint, especially after painstakingly using rollers for past jobs, I arrived home with a supply of Resene paint and the sprayer confidently telling the wife it had taken her longer to pick the paint than it would for me to paint the whole house! – if only that were the case!

The roof prepared, I tipped the paint into the bucket, fired it up and positioned myself on the roof. I called the wife out after the first 10 minutes to make her remark on my impressive job and as she did that she took her eyes off our darling 2 year old in the sandpit and reluctantly admired the work of the super sprayer. I carried on happily for the next few minutes while my two year old decided to quietly blend up a new kind of paint in the 'spray cake mixer' with her bucket of sand.

While I was momentarily, blissfully unaware, she made 'Ironsand' mud cakes in the bucket below me, giving a new meaning to the sand in the name and making my super speedy paint job a little less than super speedy!

Would be graffiti artist

I used to work for a maintenance painting firm and part of my work was to fix graffiti in schools. Working on this job I used to use spray cans to cover graffiti. On this one day, I used the spray can as per normal to cover the graffiti and walked back to my van. A cop car screamed in the front gate and the cop dashed around back and the second cop yelled out to me 'where's the tagger?' I cracked up laughing – someone had rung the police saying someone's tagging the school and it was me trying to cover the graffiti up. The cops didn't see the funny side of it… but I certainly did!!!

Thanks to T Hook of Palmerston North

Remember that dogs and paint don't mixDog gone

And if your furry dog pal is working with you, never forget that dogs and paint don't mix… as Marguerite from Town and Country Painters reports…

Never tie the dog up near paint buckets…

Once a black labrador called Abby needed to be tied up for the day… but in our rush we didn't shift all the paint or check to see how far her rope would stretch. We can only imagine how much fun she would have had tipping over the can of SpaceCote… sliding around rolling in it until her fur was covered, not to mention the state of the garage floor. We got home to find no longer a black lab but instead we found a white with shades of grey lab, and that wasn't the worst part… It had dried quite fast in the breezy garage air. It took weeks for all the paint to come off her fur. We have all learnt our lesson and when Abby comes on to any job sites we make sure she isn't left alone with any paint!

Clever cookie

We were down to the last two litres of product completing structural steelworks when there was a layer (about an inch) of air between the paint and the piston pump. "What shall we do now?" asks the apprentice to the master. Master fills the bottom of the paint can with a handful of big clean stones causing the paint level to cover the pump and we finish the job with no dramas saving time and money. Simple yet clever!

Thanks to Paul Perez of Target Painters


I remember one day a few years ago we had a lovely elderly lady who frequently used to come into our ColorShop to buy bits and pieces. She must have been about eighty in the shade and was doing up an old family home room by room so that she could sell it and buy something smaller. Anyway, on this particular day she had come in to browse through the wallpaper library and a male staff member (let's call him Bob) was helping her with suggestions and ideas. "What's unusual about that?" I hear you ask. Well nothing really, but imagine my surprise as a manager the next day when I approached the lady to offer help (the original male staff member was away) and was told "Yes I was in yesterday and was talking to 'Bob'. I have got a big stud in my bedroom and he told me I should get a dildo." I tell you, that made my year!

Thanks to Steve of Resene

Check, check then paint

Andrew Seal of Seal Decorating reminds us why you should double check before you start painting…

Some years ago my partner and I arrived at our latest job – a large new house in a subdivision, one of many we had painted in the area. The door was open as arranged and over the next few days we ripped into it – undercoat all joinery, remove doors and hardware, mask up windows etc in preparation for spraying. We put a nice coat of Resene Broadwall throughout with a brand new 15 thou tip – perfection – then sanded this back and vacuumed etc. We were just priming up the Graco with the first topcoat of Decorator Ultra Low Sheen ('Pearl Lusta' back then!) when the owner walked in and asked what we were doing there.

We had the wrong address, his painters were due shortly, and our job was next door!! Needless to say we were gutted, but went off next door to start all over again. The owner was very happy with the job and kindly reimbursed us for the paint – but not the labour!!!

A spray painting disasterA marked man

I was spraying some structural steel beams on a job in the CBD of Dunedin on a pleasant Friday afternoon. The product I was applying was Resene Armourcote 510, a two pot epoxy high build coating (putting it through a slow stroker airless unit).

I encountered a bit of a problem with the pump unit. A call to my supervisor and he organised our very helpful and knowledgeable Resene rep, Mark, to call in to see if he could help. After an inspection and power up we removed the pump unit and took it away for a clean up (no problems with that). By the time we got back to the job (an hour or so later), the Armourcote that was still loaded in the lines was near the end of its life. With the unit powered up all seemed ok until the unit was switched to recycle. The end result was a massive build up of pressure that eventually blew the tube to bits. This saw epoxy coating sprayed around a 4-5 metre radius of the spray unit.

I was very fortunate to be standing behind the unfortunate Resene rep so was not affected. For Mark, the walk back to his car covered in paint on a busy Friday afternoon in the heart of Dunedin was something he would not want to do again. He has reminded me many times of the strange looks from all the pedestrians on the long walk back to the car. We had unfortunately used up all my rags cleaning the unit up.

I would like to take this opportunity to humbly apologise to Mark for laughing at his predicament. It was very insensitive of me. I never thought to ask if his insurance covered all the clothing that was smothered in paint (I have an idea that the jacket/coat he was wearing was a favourite). The memory will stay with me forever…

Thanks to Peter Crossan

Shoo fly

I had clients that had great trouble with cluster flies landing on their roof at dusk. As the night came the flies would come into the ceiling cavity and come down through the downlights of the house. The problem had been going on since the house was built five years prior. They had a pest control firm spray different chemicals to try to stop the flies — without any success. Sitting down in front of their computer my clients found out that cluster flies liked the coolness of light coloured roofs.

We came in and sprayed two coats of Resene Hi-Glo house and roof paint in Resene High Tide and had immediate success. As soon as the roof was painted the darker colour the flies disappeared, so if you or your client has a problem with cluster flies, check the colour of your roof before spending time on pest control.

Thanks to Ian Anderson of Knox and Anderson Ltd

Wind caused spray messOverspray

I was spray painting the Kahurangi Lighthouse in bad windy conditions and had so much alkyd paint over me that that when the Ministry of Works boss flew in to check on job he didn't know who I was!!! Considering I had painted Pilmar Point lighthouse twice prior to that for him I must have looked a sight for him not to recognise me.

Of course that wasn't the only time I ended up covered in paint. While on an extension ladder with a pot hook (wire) I managed to hook the paint pot handle right on top of the hook end. The first brushful saw the pot of paint fall to the ground and the paint came straight back up into my face. What a waste of good paint!

Thanks to Bob Wells Painting and Decorating of Timaru

Expect the unexpected

No matter how much you plan, sometimes you can't quite plan everything, as Peter tells us...
In the mid 1980s we had a contract with the council and one of the buildings we had to paint was a morgue in a local cemetery.

It didn't get used very much; the guy from the council reassured us that he had never seen it being used in years. So we went in to start painting. It just had a stainless steel table, a sink, and concrete floor.

I thought it wasn't that bad after all, so we started work in there. I must admit we didn't stop for smoko as we just wanted to get in and then out as fast as possible!

About halfway through the job we noticed an ambulance pull up. We went out and to our surprise they had a gentleman who had just suffered a heart attack … I was about halfway through painting the final coat on the ceiling; I was using Resene Alkyd Gloss.

We dropped tools to help the ambulance driver bring him in. He was covered in a white sheet and left there… What were we to do?!

I had a ceiling to finish, so I made sure that I respectfully pulled the sheet up over his face, and I continued to roll the ceiling till finished.

We packed up hurriedly as we wanted to get out of there. And to our horror we noticed that in taking care not to get paint splashes on his face we had exposed his feet and they were covered in paint spots!

What we learned from this: ALWAYS expect the unexpected!!

Thanks to Peter

Roller, yeah right

Just in case you aren't into 'new fangled' technology, it might be worth reading this story sent in by Lea Insall of Lea Insall Painters in Invercargill – just goes to show everything has to start somewhere...

I have been in the painting decorating trade for 48 years as was my father for 60 years before me. While doing my apprenticeship a paint traveller arrived with a new way of putting paint on – a roller! As we always used brushes then this was a new invention which impressed us all. My father was not on the job that day and so when we were having tea that night I told him about this new paint roller. To which he replied "Don't be so bloody silly how the hell could you roll paint on?' His imagination could not cope with this until later he saw it.

And yet here we are half a century on and most painters couldn't imagine tackling many paint jobs without their trusty roller!

The story of a spray painting enthusiastSpray it don't say it

When my husband and I embarked on a whole new career as house renovators, it was pointed out to me that despite what appeared to be a garage bursting with tools, there were a fair few extra tools we would have to buy in order to do the job properly. After having purchased what seemed like half a hardware shop, I put my foot down and pointed out that we were never going to make money from our new venture if we spent it all in advance on tools.

Over the ensuing weeks however it became obvious that there was one tool that my husband still hankered after above all else and that was a spray painting machine. The virtues of such a machine were frequently extolled: it would do a much more professional job, it would be much easier on his hardworking body, it would get the painting done so much faster that we would have more leisure time etc etc. For some time I got away with answering 'hmmm' to these observations but finally when it became clear that having a spray machine would make all the difference between a dismal work life of almost unbearably tedious toil and an exciting and fulfilling challenge, I relented and gave in.

My husband raced off to buy the machine and immediately try it out. Early results were not as promising as I had been led to believe and 'professional finish' isn't exactly how I would describe the results before my eyes but he reassured me that it always took time to master a new machine.

He went off to consult the Friday Nighters, a group of tradesmen who meet in a local bar after work on Friday and discuss such fascinating topics as 'epoxy resin'. Then after a few beers they apparently move on to more philosophical topics, such as fixing the world (presumably with good management rather than epoxy resin).

They were only too happy to give my husband advice on what he was doing wrong with the sprayer and everyone put in his two bob's worth: he was standing too close to the wall, he was standing too far away, his paint was too thick, his paint was too thin, he was holding the spray wand the wrong way, etc. I was rather peeved that this last suggestion was given serious consideration as when I had helpfully suggested that maybe my husband was holding his mouth at the wrong angle I merely received a scathing look.

Back on the job, all the suggestions of the Friday Nighters were diligently tried out one by one to no avail. Finally my husband returned to the shop where he bought the machine, where the helpful salesman told him he needed a finer tip. Once back at the site I could tell there was success at last by the tuneful whistling emanating from the room he was working in. My husband was a happy man at last and now I only had to listen to constant enthusiastic raves about how the spray painting machine had changed his life.

After the inside of the house was impressively sprayed, it was time for the roof. I was to provide the audience while my husband demonstrated how, with the new extension wand, all the previous back breaking drudgery of painting a roof could be eliminated in minutes by the sprayer. After setting up the system he braced himself and sprayed.

Within two seconds he was covered head to foot in copious quantities of paint. Three towels later he announced somewhat unconvincingly "No problem, I just need to tighten the connection". This was after he had inexplicably declined my helpful offer to pour a bucket of cold water over him to get the paint off. He braced himself for a second time. Did I imagine it or was he really holding his mouth at a different angle this time? Anyway, tightening up the connection had obviously done something because this time it only took one second for him to be covered from head to foot in paint. I won't repeat the words that came out of his mouth; suffice it to say that I suddenly remembered I had an urgent job at the other end of the property that I had to attend to immediately.

Eventually he took the whole thing apart and found that there were two washers in the hand grip connection where there should only have been one. Having fixed this he got the roof painted though I can't honestly say I heard much whistling. That evening after only an hour and a half in the shower he was amazingly back to his old self, extolling the virtues of spray painting machines.

Eighteen months later, my husband has become an expert spray painter. I know this because I have been called on to admire 47 of his spray painting achievements. Also he has reached the point where he can go several consecutive hours without mentioning spray painting machines. This is definite progress!

Actually I count myself lucky. My friend's ex-partner was a painter who bought himself a huge (and hugely expensive) spray painting unit which he insisted on parking in their bedroom every night so no one would steal it. It was also suspected that he just wanted it to be the first thing he admired when he woke up every morning. It's not up to me to speculate why the relationship didn't work out but if there are any guys reading this to whom 'romance' is a foreign concept, let me give you a bit of advice from a woman…

First, unbelievable though it may seem, there are not that many women who find spray painting machines an enthralling topic of conversation. Secondly, your chances of finding a woman who thinks a spray painting unit is an essential fashion accessory for the bedroom are virtually zero. Forget it guys!

Let's face it, what woman wouldn't feel humiliated at having to compete with a spray painting machine, curvaceous though some of them are?!!. I know it is a revolutionary idea but how about considering keeping spray painting where it belongs… at work!

Thanks to the long suffering wife of a spray painting enthusiast who shall rename nameless!

A painters funny storyWatch where you are going!

In the days when I was still an apprentice, we started working for a new building company. Our first job was priming new window frames. My boss was a person of 'quick this and quick that'.

Early in the morning my boss, two other mates and I were driving around and looking for the building company as we hadn't been there before. One of my mates said, "I think it's over there", pointing to the other side of the road.

The boss, who was concentrating on his driving, without thinking then jerked the steering wheel; we did an instant u-turn, hitting the curb, over the grass verge, over the footpath, back on the road again in the other direction.

At that time there was a man walking on the footpath watching us with open mouth. My mate, who always was the funny one, made some wrist movements and pointed to the driver. The man probably thought the boss had been drinking as he was shaking his head. After all, it was only just after seven in the morning!

Thanks to Arie Preesman


One occasion I called to say I would be starting their job tomorrow. A beautiful young lady answered the door (no telephones in those days) - I said will you tell your Mam to STRIP - I'll be here at 8am. The smile I received is still with me all these years later.

Thanks to Bernard Reid of Mt Maunganui

Spill shifter

If using acrylic paint, drips, minor spills and blemishes can be cleaned off other surfaces using meths instead of water when still fresh.

Thanks to Norm Vince of Hastings

Open home

Seven years of renovating had nearly come to an end. Just the finishing touches were needed like painting doorways, skirting boards etc. The decision had been made to sell our home in Melbourne as we had decided to move back home to good old Wellington to be with family. We had decided to sell at auction which meant open homes every Saturday and Sunday for a month leading up to the auction.

The first open home was being held on a Saturday afternoon at 1pm and I only had the laundry door to paint. At 12.35 the last lick of paint was applied to the door and we were ready for the open home.

As I lifted the tin of near white paint from the jet black slate floor the edge of the lid caught the handle and the tin flipped. The remaining half litre of paint then proceeded to flow evenly down the slate hallway, filling up all the rows of grout along the way!!

Grabbing about 10 towels, 3 newspapers and 2 daughters, we started the clean up. One large plastic bag was needed to hold the towels and paper and the 2 daughters were on bended knees with boiling hot water and sponges trying to mop up.

At 12.58 when the last drop of paint was removed one very paint covered mother and two daughters vacated the premises for the open home with the prospective buyers having no idea of what had just taken place.

Thanks to Jackie Marriott of Lower Hutt


Add a cap of Umber, Sienna and Ochre tinters (MPS stainers) to 4L polyurethane when varnishing Rimu - it brings back the colour and brightens up the wood.

Thanks to Russell Williams of Dunedin

A funny story about an n apprentice painterKnot what???

Whilst working back home (UK), the gaffer took on an apprentice. After about a month of doing nothing but sanding for the lads, the apprentice asks the gaffer if he can progress in his apprenticeship and learn to paint. The timber back home is full of knots, and so has to be 'Knotted', prior to being primed using 'Knotting' (which is a shellac based sealer) in order to prevent weeping of the sap from the knots.

So the gaffer points out a pile of architraves on the floor (about 50 x3 metre lengths) and says to the 'lad', "ok son see all that timber, prime that lot and Knot the knots". After doing his rounds the gaffer is about to leave and on the way out reminds the lad, "Don't forget knot the knots when you prime."

The following day the gaffer shows up and sees all the timber nicely laid out on the floor all primed with exception to all the knots in the wood. Off goes the gaffer at the lad, "what the $%@# is that?" To which the lad says, "you said don't forget when I prime not the knots." Ten o'clock break was always a riot after that day.

Thanks to Pete Turner

Bad smell

Working on a local farm painting the house, garage and farm sheds in the middle of a hot summer allows you to appreciate wide open spaces. After enjoying cooked lunches followed by puddings I was asked if I could squeeze the shearing shed roof in, which I obliged.

The first day allowed the roof to be waterblasted and primed. The second day caused concern. Farmer Brown had killed some sheep that night, drums of offal and waste smell created a sickening effect. Continuing with the job the smell seemed to linger around all day. I got brassed off with Farmer Brown being so inconsiderate and decided he'd be getting an earful. Sure enough the sound of his ATV motorbike coming down the hill and down the lane readied me for his blast.

Farmer Brown: Hi Painter, how's it going?
Painter thinks: He'll wear my temper soon.
Painter says: Good, see ya had a kill eh?
Farmer Brown: Yeah, thought you'd also like one for your freezer.
Painter: Thanks very much, nice day isn't it?

Thanks to Maurice Mills Decorating of Invercargill

A painter's funny storyWhite faced

One day I was on a job with a couple of colleagues and one of them walked up a ladder with an airless spray gun in his hand. As he stepped onto the plank at the top he accidentally squeezed the trigger and he sprayed himself straight in the face. Luckily for him, and hilarious for us he had his sunglasses on. You can just picture what he looked like when he took his glasses off after completely covering his face in white paint, I still laugh just thinking about it.

Thanks to Jeff Cox, Builder/Painter

Don't work with children or animals…

20 years ago I happened to work on a two storeyed home in Remuera. The lady had two less than well behaved kids who drove me insane. They would want to roll the walls and paint the window frames etc, which they would do behind my back. I told the lady of the house if she didn't stop the kids being a nuisance, I was gone. It didn't last long for when I was working upstairs they would fire acorns into the bedrooms from down below and give me grief. Thank goodness I thought to myself, I was nearly finished up top. Until I found that the doors I had painted had been damaged by their long haired red retriever who had walked from room to room wagging his tail leaving his hairs in my fresh paintwork. What a household and experience that was!

Thanks to Peter of PJ Painters

Fore!A painter's funny story

It was the last day of the year and we were just finishing up on a new home. Everybody was keen to get home early and we just had the finishing touches to do, sweeping the floor before the new owners moved in. One guy sweeping decided to practice his golf swing with the broom; full back swing great tee shot, head comes off the broom straight through the lounge wall. Needless to say we didn't get away early that day...

Miracle cure

A work partner had been complaining about his sore knee for weeks – you know, I can't go high, I can't go low and so on, however would not go for treatment. After struggling on for weeks with no improvement finally he went off to physio. Two weeks later and 10 trips, no better. Off we went sore knee and all to paper a large new house. All going well until bang crash!! Said person had missed the bottom step of his small ladder. Ahh! My knee, my knee. Rushing to pick him up, oh the pain, oh the pain. Sitting down and having a cup of tea with him he then pronounced - "it's gone, the pain, it's gone, it's fixed". I can now only imagine what might have been if only he landed on his head - anything is possible!

Thanks to Dennis Singer


A well known full time fisherman, part-time painter in Invercargill had pumped himself up to be one of the best level 5 finishers in the country but when trying to sand his stopping in a bedroom had come to a wall that had a window that covers 90% of the wall... without thinking he swung his dustless sander onto the wall which also had the client's curtains still fixed to the tracks. To his amazement the dustless sander didn't sand well over the curtains and got all tangled up in his sanding head. You can just imagine the look on his face as the curtain and sander went head to head - one foot on the ground and one foot on the wall trying to prize free what he thought could have been a blue fin marlin...


Once I was painting a reasonably high ceiling with an extension pole. The client was having trouble with his fireplace so was bent down looking at it. He was wearing a dark blue jersey and I was using cream paint. My habit at times is to let the roller come down quick and 'catch' it before it hits the floor. But this time it hit something before it reached the floor. Hmm? I looked up and to my dismay the roller was sitting fair and square on the back of the client! After refusing my offer of washing it off, he proceeded to walk around the house for the next couple of days with a big cream patch of paint on his dark blue jersey!

Thanks to Jason Ward of Christchurch

Nighty night

My son and I work together as painters. We live in Hamilton and were asked to paint an empty rental apartment in Auckland city. We understood that we would pretty much be camping in this empty rental while painting it. We packed everything we needed for the job but on arriving, I realised that although I had my camp stretcher and sheets, I forgot my blankets! No problem - went down to the local Resene shop and bought some nice new canvas type dropsheets to sleep under. Slept like a baby!

Thanks to Adam.

Simple productivity

Create a simple paint container made from a sauce bottle. This can be used for small painting jobs or cutting in and of course they come in different sizes.

The brush can be laid across the flat cut portion or the brush can be up ended with the handle part into the top of the container, when you need another hand free.

Cleaning is easy – put the brush in the container with the handle through the top hole and put the hose down the hole too. If the paint dries it's easy to pull the layers off and you have a clean container again.

Thanks to Blair.

If you have a funny story or a handy tip we'd love to hear from you - submit your funny decorating story or submit your handy decorating tip.

Homeowners also have mishaps. Read a selection of their stories.


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