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Decorating the Easy Way

Never done it before? Now's the time to make a start Some general advice by
By Ray Lewhite

Home decorating, besides being a great money saver, is a very satisfactory way of employing ones spare time, and if taken in the right way, can be a grand mental relaxation too. And if you are prepared to take sufficient trouble you can achieve a finish quite equal to that of the present-day professional. Remember to take your time about it. Don't skimp the materials and you will get a finish that will last for years. If this is your first attempt let us run over the rules for decorating the whole of, say a bedroom - ceiling walls and paint-work. Ideal conditions in which to work are a completely empty room, stripped of all furniture and carpets. This unfortunately, is rarely possible, but in most cases all small articles can be removed and the floor covered. Place all furniture which cannot be moved in the centre of the room and cover it with a dust sheet under which is plenty of newspaper to catch any drips which may fall. This will give you easy access to the walls.

Paper is cheap
Decorating The Easy Way

Cover all surrounds with paper. It is easier to throw away paper than to clean paint spots off of carpets or polished floors. It is even worth while using a few drawing pins to hold the paper in position. A pair of steps is an absolute necessity in all decorating, unless, of course, you are lucky enough to possess, or able to borrow, trestles and planks. Not only are steps needed for doing the ceiling and frieze, but in all painting work they can be placed conveniently to hand to provide a stand for the paint pot at a suitable level. It is surprising how much labour and effort can be saved in this way. One of the secrets of making the job pleasant is to be near your work. If you have to stretch you can't do a good job and will easily tire. This article is not intended to cover the technical aspect of painting and decorating regarding the correct paints, etc., to use and their method of application. When, however, buying your materials, buy the best you can afford, particularly brushes. Cheap brushes are useless, their moulting habits with gloss paints ruins the work. Good ones are fairly expensive but, treated carefully will last a lifetime. In fact they will improve with use. Buy a brush with a good head, with plenty of bristle or nylon fibre. A 2 inch and a 1 inch and a sash tool (round) will be adequate for most needs a fitch (a small flat brush) is also useful for window work. You'll do a much better job if you use a paint can or a tin fitted with a comfortable holder. If you have to leave off painting for a day or so make sure your cans are airtight and if a skin has formed, strain your paint each time. Don't think the skin will dissolve - it won't!! In breaks in the work, especially if you are using emulsion paint, keep your brushes in jars of clean water just covering the bristles. This will prevent their hardening and when wanted again they can be wiped out thoroughly on newspaper and if they have stiffened at all wash in hot water this will loosen them up. The old hand drills a hole through the handle of his brush and hangs it on a stiff wire (a steel knitting needle is excellent) across the mouth of the jar. In completely re-decorating a room, ceiling, walls and paintwork, do the job in the following order:
Decorating The Easy Way
(1) Clean down the ceiling and frieze:
(2) Strip walls and clean them and all paintwork:
(3) Decorate the ceiling and frieze:
(4) Paint woodwork:
(5) Paper walls

Use minimum water
Decorating The Easy Way

Some washing will anyhow be necessary and a sponge and two pails of water with a little sugar soap or detergent added, conveniently to hand, are the best things to use water as possible to avoid unnecessary splashes and flooding but give the woodwork a good clean. A handkerchief tied around the arm stops water running up your sleeve and a cap or beret to keep you clean. Remember the final finish you obtain depends how much preparation you put in. In all ceiling work have the steps so that your head is about six inches from the ceiling and, as in all decorating, work away from the light. Whether you intend to paint or paper the walls, the next thing to be done is the paint-work. Full instructions can be found in previous articles on regarding preparation and painting. Where the woodwork joins the walls, get well into the corners with the paint. Don't worry about getting on the plaster, any overflows will be covered by the paper. It is well worth while removing all catches, finger plates and even curtain railways before commencing painting. This not only makes the painting much easier, but when these fitting are cleaned and replaced, good clean lines are obtained, giving a really professional look to the work.

Painting windows
Decorating The Easy Way

When painting windows, get the paint well into the corners (1/8 inch on the glass is ideal) and clean off all paint runs after the paint is dry with a single-edge razor blade. This is much easier than trying to clean off with a rag and turps as you go along. If you are using emulsion paints, though, you must clean up as you go along. Once dry it is very difficult to shift. Here again, use the steps, not only for the high work but for all of it. Have your paint pot on a convenient rung, at the right level, close at hand. When painting skirting boards it is a good idea to have a sheet of stiff cardboard or a paint shield to act as a guard to prevent paint getting on the floor. The painting finished and allowed to dry, you can now start on the papering. You can't paste paper properly on a small table. If you haven't got a good flat surface at least 6 feet by 22 inches or so, you may have a light flush door. Take it off its hinges and use it as a board. Painting and papering finished, remove the paper from the floor and clean up any splashes and spots. There is a great temptation here to step back, have a cuppa and consider the work finished. It is NOT. Two things must be done. First go round the room with a razor blade and turps substitute rag and clean up all corners, edges, runs etc. A few minutes spent thus will make all the difference between a good job and a VERY GOOD job. You must also replace all fittings, etc. Clean and polish them before re-fitting.

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